Home » Expat Focus International News Update April 2023

Expat Focus International News Update April 2023

Kuwaiti Visas Denied to Expats

Expats who submitted applications for their residency visas online and who have spent more than six months out of the country have been turned down, the Arab press reported in the last week of March. Any expat who has been out of Kuwait for six months or more will automatically have their residency permit cancelled. This will also lead to the withdrawal of work permits and civil cards via an automated link with the Public Authority of Manpower and the Public Authority for Civil Information.

Portugal’s Golden Visa: Further Advice

We reported last month on the demise of the Portuguese golden visa. Readers may recall that there are government proposals to scrap this permit due to concerns about property prices. However, some financial experts are counselling optimism in the short term, and urging expats to act now if they want to relocate to this popular European country. Financial company Blacktower’s chairman John Westwood has been speaking to the press about the issue. He says that financial advisers don’t yet know the extent of the new changes, pointing out that this will need to go before the government and be voted on before any changes in the law can take place:

“This is not going to happen overnight. There is technically still a process open for people to apply for golden visa, and while the golden visa programme is still open, applications are still being accepted, although this may change. However, under current Portuguese rule of law changes should not be applied retroactively.”

Westwood says that he hopes that the golden visa will be replaced with a permit which gives more advantages to Portugal in the long run, but which keeps the arrangement open so that expats are still attracted to the country. He adds:

“It hasn’t affected the NHR regime. This is purely the golden visa regime. NHR remains an attractive proposition for qualifying expatriates together with D7 and D2 visas.”

So, if you are intending to apply for the golden visa, it would be wise not to delay; make enquiries now before any new legislation which could affect this permit is passed.

End of the Spanish Driving Licence Saga?

The issues with exchanging driving licences post Brexit have featured extensively in these round-ups, and last month we reported that an end was in sight. This has now come to pass, to the relief of many Brits in Spain, who were allowed back on the road in mid-March – without the need to take another test. British drivers now have six months to exchange their UK licences for a Spanish one. The Spanish government says:

“The Spanish Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday a reciprocal agreement between Spain and the United Kingdom on the exchange of driving licences and exchange of information on driving offences.”

This statement has understandably been met with delight on the part of Brits in the country who have been unable to attend hospital or clinical appointments, among other inconveniences, over the past 10 months. One expat told iNews that she had been ‘sobbing like a baby’ over being finally allowed back on Spanish roads.

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Don’t forget to exchange your licence! UK Ambassador Hugh Elliott counsels Brits in Spain:

“Do get on, make an appointment with the DGT, get your pyscho-physical test booked before you go to the DGT. If you need any help we can point you in the right direction. It’s important that people don’t think they can now forget about this.”

How to Vote in Spain

If you’re British and resident in Spain, you’ll be aware that you’ve lost your right to vote in Spanish municipal elections, but you can still vote in local elections, as a result of a reciprocal relationship between the UK and Spanish government. However, you still need to register to vote: the Oficina del Censo Electoral (OCE) is writing to everyone who is not an EU national and who has the right to vote with details of the registration process. Note that a registration card sent to you through the post is an invitation to vote, not the right to vote itself – you will still need to register by following the instructions on the card.

In order to vote, the following criteria applies:

  • You have to be over 18
  • You will need to have a residencia card for at least three years before your registration
  • You must be registered with the local padrón and on the Spanish electoral register

Portugal: New Expat Group is Formed

With an increasing number of black expats making their home in various European nations, Portugal is proving a popular choice. A new Facebook group has been set up for black expats in the country by four black American women: Anna Sanders, Ashley Osborne, Heather Proctor and Kam Clemons. They say that the pace of life and the sense of community that they have experienced in Portugal is significantly different to that in the USA (they also reported feeling safer).

The new Facebook group is designed to inform black people who are thinking of moving to Portugal about issues such as sorting out health insurance and bank accounts, to more racially-specific concerns – like how black children are treated in Portuguese schools, for example.

The resource can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/602074004071598

Credit Passport Now Available in the UAE

One problem expats often face when moving to a new country is the difficulty of receiving the same level of credit. This may be set to change in the UAE, with the establishment of a ‘credit passport’ which will enable expats to use their existing credit history to apply for loans etc. in the Emirates. The initiative is being set up by Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) and partners Nova Credit. Initially, existing AECB customers will be eligible from a range of countries, including the UK, but more countries are due to be added to the list in due course. Nova Credit’s VP Collin Galster told the local press that:

“Today’s consumers deserve the ability to take ownership of their financial data and not be locked out of accessing basic services due to the siloed characteristic of our global credit reporting system.”

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