Golden Visa Corruption Probe

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Detectives have interviewed Portugal’s immigration and border service chief about alleged corruption over the country’s ‘golden visa’ scheme.

The controversial golden visa scheme offers residence papers to wealthy individuals from outside the European Union.

Police say Manuel Palos was arrested and had his home and office searched as part of a wider inquiry into allegations of corruption, money laundering and bribery.

The spokesman declined to comment about whether Palos faces charges.

Most takers for the golden visa are wealthy Chinese investors who have paid around 1 billion euros to live in Portugal.

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The government says around 1,500 visas have been issued. Most have gone to Chinese, while the visas are also popular with immigrants from Russia, Brazil and Angola.

As a result of the inquiry, the government has tightened up issuing visas to businesses, expats wanting to settle in Portugal and investors.

Fraud crackdown

Expats seeking work permits for Indonesia face a crackdown on fraudulent applications.

Due to a large number of false documents supporting work permit applications, the government now wants to see original papers, especially certificates of qualification and references.

Qualifications and references must now carry an official stamp of authenticity.

Multinational companies transferring employees to Indonesia should ensure their expat packages comply with the new rules to ease application times, said a government spokesman.

Turkish challenge

Turkish immigration laws face major changes from January 1, 2015.

The main challenge for expats will be in-country applications for residence and work permits must be made from a Turkish consulate in the expat’s home country.

This will also affect short term workers who have previously visited Turkey and picked up a visa locally.

Expats with valid residence papers can still apply for a work visa in-country.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office warns that some bogus web sites try to charge illegal fees for visa services by posing as government agencies.

“British nationals should also leave a blank page in their passport for Turkish visa stamps,” said an FCO spokesman. “It’s easier than being issued with entry-exit papers that you have to carry at all times and present to border police before leaving the country.”

Work permit backlog

Expat workers with postings to Ireland are facing delays with a new visa payment system.

Immigration officials will not process work permit applications until online payments are cleared, but the banking system has problems in dealing with the money. As a result, workers are experiencing delays in work permit processing.

Companies are now facing a backlog of applications until the problem is resolved.

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