Friday, December 9, 2011

Australian university graduates can now apply for the Post-Study Work Visa

The Australian government has announced this week that more international students will be eligible for the Post-Study work visa as part of the Australian government's response to the Knight Review of the student visa program.

Australian Immigration announced on November 30 the new Post-Study work visa program would be available for Bachelor or higher degree graduates starting in 2013, according to a joint press release from Chris Evans, Australian Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations and Chris Bowen, Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

"These changes bring Australia into line with arrangements in other countries and enable education providers to offer a more competitive package to international students who are seeking good quality and long-term study in Australia, regardless of their field of interest,"said Evans.

Currently, more than 80 percent of foreign students enrolled at the Bachelor degree level or above use the Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) to stay in Australia after they graduate. Additionally, some students who obtain qualifications other than a Bachelor degree or above can use the Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa, which provides an 18-month stay in Australia to study or work but requires applicants meet the qualifications for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List.

The new arrangements will extend the visa stay period to two years, while Masters by research or PhD students will be eligible for stays of three and four years respectively.

Specific Criteria

In order to be eligible for the Post-Study Work visa, graduates must meet the following criteria:
  • Graduates must have completed a Bachelor degree or higher level course in Australia in the last six months.
  • Graduates must complete their degrees after at least two academic years' study in Australia
  • Applicants must demonstrate competent English language abilities
The new Post-Study Work Visa arrangements will be available for all students studying for a Bachelor degree or higher who make their student visa applications after 5 November 2011. These students will begin to graduate from mid-2013 onwards, so the post-study work visa arrangements are designed to be ready for them in 2013.

For students who obtain qualifications other than a Bachelor degree or above, like a vocational degree, the existing Temporary Skilled Graduate Visa (Subclass 485) will still be available. This visa allows graduates to stay up to 18 months for those who have occupations on the Skilled Occupation List.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of courses in Australia. For more details, please see this page: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/australia.html

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New rules in effect for Australian student visas

The first stage of a series of changes in Australian student visa laws is being implemented as part of the government's response to the Knight Review, including changes in financial requirements and the admission process.

The Knight Review is a government appointed strategic review of the student visa program to help reform the Australian immigration student visa program.

From 5 November, student visa applicants will need to include a confirmation of enrolment, issued by their intended education provider, as part of their student visa applications, the statement said.
A new 'genuine temporary entrant' (GTE) criterion was also implemented 5 November. According to the department, the criterion addresses whether the individual circumstances of an applicant indicate that their intention is for a temporary stay in Australia. It will be assessed by interview in most cases and will consider the student's background and the value of the course to their future.

Additionally, the financial requirements for certain student visa applicants have been reduced, meaning students will need up to AUD36,000 less in the bank when applying for a visa. The department noted that "applicants for the vocational education and training and private education sectors in particular will benefit from this change".

Other changes that are now in place include:

• Extending the time new PhD students can stay in Australia on a subclass 574 visa while their thesis is being marked;
• Discontinuing pre-visa assessment policy to help speed up visa processing;
• Allowing prepaid homestay fees to be included in the financial requirements assessment for a student visa;
• English language students can apply for a visa without first meeting minimum English skills requirements

"The change that came in this week recognises that the financial requirements for student visas were often too onerous, and discouraged applicants from choosing Australia as their preferred study destination," said Bowen. "We want to avoid the situation where student visa holders are desperate to stay in Australia to work to pay off large study debts amassed at home."

"While international students may aspire to remain in Australia, if they cannot achieve permanent residency or long-term employee sponsorship, they need to return to their home countries," Mr Bowen said.

The majority of the stage two Knight Review changes are proposed to be implemented by mid 2012 with some other changes to commence in early 2013.

Please check our our Australian programs on our websiste: http://www.globalvisasupport.com.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Canadian Experience Visa Class offers faster option for permanent residency

Canada is attracting increasing numbers of economic immigrants applying for permanent residence through the Canadian Experience Visa immigration stream, according to Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. The program fast-tracks permanent residency visa applications for skilled temporary foreign workers and graduate students who have spent time in Canada on temporary visas.

According to the press release by Citizenship and Immigration Canada, Canada's Experience Visa, created in 2008, is one of Canada's most recent programs aimed at ensuring Canada retains a skilled work force "and motivated individuals who have demonstrated a strong work ethic, have an ability to contribute to the economy, and will easily integrate into Canadian life".

In order to be eligible for the visa class, applicants must be either: a temporary foreign worker with at least two years of full-time skilled work experience in Canada, or a foreign graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution with at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada. Applicants must be fluent in English or French and apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving their job in Canada.

Before the program was created, highly skilled foreigners could not become permanent residents from within Canada. "We'd tell them to leave the country because their temporary foreign work permit or student visa had expired" after they'd completed two years of contract work here or obtained a degree at a Canadian university," Kenney recalled.

Kenney expects the number of candidates for Canada's Experience Visa to rise to 7,000 in 2012, up from 2,545 in 2009. Last week, Canada welcomed its 10,000th permanent resident who came in through this stream since its inception in 2008. It is currently Canada's fastest-growing immigration program.

Canada has continued to admit an average of 254,000 immigrants each year.

"We're maintaining the highest per capita levels of total immigration in the developed world, with, I think, the sole exception of New Zealand," said Kenney.

"The CEC and the PhD initiative represent what we hope is the future of immigration to Canada: bright young people who have a Canadian education or work experience that will be recognized by Canadian employers, and who have strong English or French language skills," said Kenney. "Such newcomers are set for success."
Global Visa Support can help you to enter Canada under our Canada: Study-Migrate program.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Australia experiencing serious skills shortage - More immigration needed

Australia is expected to face a serious shortage of professionals and tradespeople within the next 15 years; According to an analysis of retirement patterns in by the Australian Bureau of Statistics many Australians will be reaching retirement age over this period. This means Australia will need to recruit more and more overseas skilled workers to address the looming workforce shortage. In particular Australia needs health, engineering, and education professionals.

Additionally, Western Australia is currently experiencing its largest skills shortage of mining tradespeople since 2008. Western Australia's Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that more than 450,000 additional miners would be needed by the state in the next 10 years.

With fast-emerging economies like India needing its metals and minerals, mining shortages in Australia are expected to affect many other countries. India's urban population is projected to rise from the present 340 million to 590 million in the next 20 years which will result in a huge increase in demand for electricity.

Eligible applicants can apply for an employer-sponsored Subclass 457 work visa if they have a job lined up already.

Skilled overseas workers will be able to stay longer in Australia. Effective Monday, Australian immigration officials are expediting applications for 457 work visas as well as increasing the employer sponsorship period to six years from the present three. The work visa programme has been crucial in meeting skill gaps.

In addition to expediting applications, Australian Immigration officials have been conducting meetings across the country as part of their outreach programme to encourage more employers to use the 457 visa process.

"These changes to the work visa programme will particularly benefit large Indian corporations operating in Australia in the areas of IT, mining and ports. It will help them bring niche skill sets to Australia for their current and new projects. This will accelerate filling of skill gap that currently exists," Deepak Raj Gupta, president of the Australia India Business Council's Canberra Chapter, told Business Standard.

The number of corporate applications for 457 visas has seen a tremendous growth in recent years. Australia granted 113,725 skilled migration visas in 2010-11, up from 107,868 in 2009-10.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Canada introduces new 'super visa' for families

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Canadian officials on Friday announced a new two-year, multi-entry "super visa" for parents and grandparents of immigrants settled in Canada.

The move came after wait times for sponsorship of "family class" applications had grown to an unwieldy seven years or longer.

"Without taking action, those times will continue to grow, and that is unacceptable," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in announcing the move.

"Action must be taken to cut the backlog, reduce the wait times, and ensure that the parents and grandparents program is sustainable over the long run," Kenney said.

The multiple-entry "Parent and Grandparent Super Visa" will be valid for up to 10 years, officials said, and allow applicants to remain in Canada for 24 months before needing seek visa renewal.

The new visas will begin on December 1 and the will be issued, "on average, within eight weeks of the application," officials said.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Student visa curbs are damaging our reputation, Universities UK warns

Home Office reveals 11,000 fall in the number of overseas students since tougher measures introduced

By: Alan Travis, home affairs editor, The Guardian,

Immigration minister Damian Green says: 'Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long.'

The Universities UK action group has issued a warning about Britain's reputation in education after new figures revealed that the government's curb on overseas students had reduced their numbers by 11,000 and led to more than 450 colleges pulling out of the market.

The Home Office said more than 400 of the pre-degree colleges lost their right to recruit international students because they could not meet the standards of a new inspection regime.

Universities UK said cutting such courses was damaging Britain's reputation for being "open for business" and undermining the pathway programmes operated by many universities. It estimates that 40% of international students go through such colleges before going taking a degree at a British university.

Student visa reforms, which included tougher sponsor and English language requirements, came into effect in April.

The Home Office said new inspection standards were designed to ensure that genuine international students received the highest quality education.

About 400 colleges – more than 20% of the sector – had their sponsorship revoked as they did not apply in time and 51 had their licences revoked after the UK Border Agency investigated a spike in applications from south Asia just before the tougher English language tests came into force.

The immigration minister, Damian Green, said: "Widespread abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long and the changes we have made are beginning to bite. Too many students have come to the UK with the aim of getting work and bringing over family members."

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK, said it believed the government's aim of reducing net migration to below 100,000 a year lay behind the curbs. "Universities UK believes that the number of international students coming into the country should be accounted for separately and not included in the definition of net migration for the purposes of government policy. International students are not economic migrants. They come to the UK to study and then they leave."

She said Britain could not afford to make the same costly mistakes as the US and Australia which both curbed overseas students numbers and then dropped the policy when they realised it had seriously damaged the international competitiveness of their higher education sector.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

UK Border Agency: Website of fake university is removed

An investigation carried out by Somerset County Council has seen the fake 'Glastonbury University' website removed.
It was feared that the website, which promoted a fictitious university, was being used to target unsuspecting applicants, particularly in the Far East. A London university reported the site after receiving an application from a student who claimed to have a degree from Glastonbury University.
Investigations by Somerset County Council trading standards officers have resulted in the domain name and site being removed by specialist Metropolitan Police officers.

The investigation also revealed that the address given on the website for the university is actually an empty office building in the centre of town, and the impressive glass building featured on the site is in fact a library belonging to the University of Leicester.

The trading standards investigation involved contact with overseas companies and regulators including the Florida FBI, as well as correspondence with central government, and culminated in the domain name's removal from the world wide web. This was achieved in co-operation with the police central e-crime unit of the Metropolitan Police.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Canada attempts to streamline immigration

Canada is currently struggling to deal with a backlog of immigration applications.

The backlog of immigration applications is hurting Canada's reputation as a top immigration destination for skilled migrants. In some cases people are choosing Australia as an alternative immigration destination.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that the situation was a "huge problem". He has spoken frequently about the need to streamline the application process and get the backlog under control.

A number of hearings on the matter are due to take place before the House of Commons immigration committee.

Critics say that while the government talks about alleviating the backlog, they are also continuing to accept large numbers of new Canadian immigration applications, so exacerbating the problem.

"While Canada continues to welcome historically high numbers of new immigrants, and maintains the most open and generous immigration system in the world, we have to carefully manage the large number of people who want to be Canadian," a spokesperson for Kenney told the Globe and Mail.

The government asserts that since 2008, they have reduced the rate of increase in the backlog through measures which limit immigration in certain areas, such as the investor route.

Moreover, people who apply as skilled workers and have experience in a prioritized job sector are fast tracked and have their applications approved within months.

The people who suffer the longest waiting times include parents and grandparents of permanent residents and immigrants who applied before the changes introduced in 2008.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

UK hospitals cut jobs but still hire abroad



Hospital bosses have spent thousands of pounds on trips to recruit foreign doctors and nurses, while laying off their own staff.

 By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent, The Telegraph, 11 September 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Guardian: David Cameron's immigration promises were desperate and self-defeating

By Richard Seymour, published in The Guardian (a British daily newspaper) on 6 September 2011

Torn between his business allies' enthusiasm for immigration and the Tory bedrock, Cameron has been left looking foolish


David Cameron delivering a speech on immigration in Woking in April. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA

David Cameron's pledge to cap non-EU immigration was followed this year by a promise to Tory activists to reduce net migration to the UK to tens of thousands. This now looks as foolish as it does desperate. Some of the greatest flows of immigration in recent years have come from the EU, especially the A8 countries, to which no cap could be applied. And the government has no control over outward migration. Unsurprisingly, then, a combination of continued migration from Poland and other EU countries, and a sharp decline in Britons moving overseas, has led to a 21% increase in net migration last year.

The pressing question is whether this is anything to be worried about. For the Telegraph, it is. Its recent editorial acknowledged the factors driving the net increase, and gave Cameron a partial pardon. But still, it thundered: "The annual addition to the country's foreign-born population is about 250,000 – by far the largest influx of overseas citizens in our history." In fact, net migration to the UK adds far less to the population than it does in other OECD countries.

But the assumption that an increase in the "foreign-born population" is a problem in itself depends on a couple of associated claims. The first is typically that migrants are a burden on public resources, while the second is that they fail to "integrate" to core "British values". Both come with a freight of resentful chauvinism. In reality, migration to the UK fuelled economic growth over the past decade. Without it, tax receipts would have been depressed, with fewer resources for all. As the Financial Times reported last year, immigration subsidises the public purse. In an era of reduced tax revenues, which the government claims justifies spending cuts, it is absurd to attack one of the major sources of income. As for the chimera of "British values", it is only fair to say that even the descendants of yeomen sometimes have difficulty internalising the vindictive, property-obsessed, and smugly insular weltanschauung that passes for Britishness in the reactionary press.

Cameron, being no fool, is aware of Britain's dependency on immigration, and of his inability to do much about it. His attempt to wax "tough" on immigration also poses a difficulty for the coalition he leads. The promise to reduce net migration to "tens of thousands" aroused the ire of Vince Cable, who deemed it a Tory policy not fit for the coalition. And the further Cameron travels down this route, the more he risks alienating centrist voters whose support he spent five years courting with an appeal to social liberalism. Much of his time in opposition was spent attacking New Labour over its "irresponsible" language on immigration, and promising a more humane approach to refugees. This was an essential aspect of decontaminating the Tory brand of its "nasty" associations. Above all, business needs immigration, especially EU migration. There are some areas where Tory EU "scepticism" can suit business. Tory attempts to water down an EU directive giving temporary workers the same rights as full-time workers follow business pressure over the likely effect on profitability. Yet the EU represents an irreversible trend in the global economy toward regionalisation, and offers a vast "free market" in goods and labour that business needs.

So why did Cameron make a futile promise that he knew would cost him politically? Partly, he is torn between his business allies, who favour a relaxed approach to immigration, and the lower-middle-class Tory bedrock, who would ideally like to inhabit the sort of all-white chronotope of modern Britain purveyed by Midsomer Murders. Cameron has attempted to manage this by triangulating. Thus, his cap on non-EU migration partially made up for his reneging on the "cast iron" guarantee to hold a referendum on the EU treaty. Similarly, he has made concessions to alarmism about immigration threatening "our way of life". Yet, under pressure from big business, he has relented, even promising last year to relax the cap on non-EU migration. Thus, while tending to give business what it wants, Cameron engages in strategic rhetorical tilts to one or other element in an unstable Tory coalition, in an attempt to prevent the whole from collapsing into fragments as it did over Europe in the 1990s.

Since being almost-elected, the emphasis in Cameron's presentation has fallen increasingly on immigrant-baiting rhetoric, from the attack on "state multiculturalism" to the "way of life" speech. Notably, his self-defeating promise to reduce net migration to a trickle followed a year of coalition. This reflects the electoral weakening of the Liberal component of the coalition, and the polarisation of British politics under austerity. The centre-ground is contracting, and Cameron knows he must fortify his rightist credentials if he is to avoid being this decade's John Major. This is why he makes promises he shouldn't make, and can't keep, to people who will never be content with him anyway.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

UK economy at risk from immigration cap

The UK Government's own advisory committee, the Migration Advisory Committee, has stated that the British economy could suffer permanent damage if the Government continues to restrict non-EU skilled immigration.

In April of 2011, the current Government implemented a permanent cap on Tier 1 and Tier 2 skilled immigration. This followed on from the temporary immigration cap of the previous year. The popular Tier 1 (General) category no longer exists. There is a new Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category; However, hardly anyone meets the requirements for this visa category. Moreover, Tier 2 skilled immigration for applicants with a job offer from a UK employer was capped at approximately 21,000 visas per year and, for many people, made a lot more difficult.

The measures were put in place to appease popular anti-immigration sentiment in Britain. Immigration Minister Damian Green has stated that his government intends to reduce immigration to the "tens of thousands".

However, a report from the Government's Migration Advisory Council, Limits on Tier 1 and Tier 2 for 2011/2012, has stated that whenever the number of skilled non-EU migrants coming to the UK is reduced by 10,000, over half a billion pounds is lost from the UK GDP. This could have disastrous consequences for the British economy at a time when it has still not fully recovered from the global financial crisis of 2008.
The report suggested that "non-EU Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants, at present levels have a small positive impact on GDP per head" and contribute positively to net public finances and play an important part in the provision of education, health and social services.

The report stated that cutbacks to immigration would not be evenly spread and could have a severe impact on certain sectors.

"It would be remiss not to point out that there is widespread concern among employers regarding the impact that limits on migration could have," the report stated.

UK Businesses and industry groups are concerned about the recent immigration restrictions.

Neil Carberry, employment affairs director at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), told The Independent that the "ability to base highly skilled foreign staff in the UK helps to attract investment that also supports British jobs."

"With numbers in the employer-sponsored work permit system already relatively low, there is little evidence that this part of the system should be the government's key priority on controlling migration," he added. "We should want to attract these people to come and retaining a route to settlement is a key part of that, although businesses don't object to having a more formal points test for the right to settle."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Canada seeks public opinion on immigration


It has long been a destination for people from all over the world, but now Canada is looking to find out what its citizens think of its approach to immigration.

Welcome to Canada: around a quarter of a million immigrants arrive in Canada every year

An online questionnaire has been launched by the Canadian government to try and gauge the public’s opinion on its immigration policies.

Nearly 2000 people have already signed up to answer the survey, which is part of an ongoing consultation into immigration carried out by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration (CIC).

“The online consultation provides an important opportunity to gather input from stakeholders and the public on key questions facing CIC," said Jason Kenney, minister for citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. "This is also a chance to highlight some of the considerations and difficult choices involved in managing a global immigration system."

Canada has one of the highest per capita rates of immigration in the world, accepting around 200,000 to 280,000 new migrants every year. It is predicted that by 2031, between 25 and 28 per cent of the population will be foreign-born.

While this "open arms" policy may help to combat the country’s ageing population, low birthrate and skills shortage, how to manage the constant influx has come under increasing debate in recent years.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Cambridge English test recognized by UK and Australia

The Cambridge University's Certificate of Advanced English is now recognized by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC); You can now take this test to confirm your English language ability when applying for a student or immigration visa.

Cambridge said that the decision by UK immigration and Australia immigration was made in a bid to attract more students to higher education establishments both in Australia and the UK. Both countries have recently come under fire for bringing in stricter student immigration rules.

The UK recently brought in more restrictions on foreign students working in the UK. The UK also intends to axe the popular Tier 1 Post Study Work visa scheme. Australia had made English language requirements somewhat tougher for foreign students. More recently, following concerns from the country's education sector, Australia immigration eased some of the requirements for those applying for student visas.

UKBA now recognizes Cambridge's Key English Test, Preliminary English Test, Business English Certificate, Certificated Version of Business Language Testing Service, Certificate of Advanced English, Certificate of Proficiency in English, International Legal English Certificate and International Certificate of Financial English as suitable tests to confirm English language ability.

In the past, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) was the main test used for assessing English language ability. However, it is not always easy for students to find places on IELTS courses due to the high demand for these tests.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Seven million foreigners living in Britain as immigration rises by a fifth

There was a 21 per cent increase in the net flow of migrants to the UK while the number of those leaving hit a six-year low.
Residents born overseas account for one in eight people after hitting 7,040,000 last year, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Some 239,000 more people moved here during 2010 than left, the fourth highest level on record, and a record one in four births were to foreign-born mothers.

It is a major blow to David Cameron’s pledge to cut net immigration to the “tens of thousands” by 2015. But Damian Green, the immigration minister, blamed Labour’s “addiction” to immigration.

Other figures yesterday showed that a record 241,000 people were granted settlement in 2010, while the number of illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers removed from the country hit a 10-year low with just 11,388 leaving between April and June this year.

The net flow of Eastern European migrants increased almost eight-fold while asylum claims increased by nine per cent to 4,800 compared with the same quarter last year.

Net immigration, the difference between those arriving and those leaving, stood at 239,000 last year, a 21 per cent increase on the previous year and the sixth consecutive comparative rise in the ONS’s quarterly bulletins.

Emigration hit its lowest level for six years at 336,000 while some 575,000 migrants arrived in the UK.
There was also a renewed surge of migrants from Eastern Europe, with a net inflow of 39,000 last year, an eight-fold increase on 2009. Numbers had tailed off during the recession but increased once again as prospects improved.

It could mark a worrying trend for ministers because their proposed restrictions on immigration announced in the past 12 months have no bearing on EU citizens.

For the first time in 2010, more than a quarter of babies born during the year were born to foreign mothers. The ONS suggested that foreign-born mothers – especially Polish migrants – had fuelled an overall rise in the birth rate for England and Wales because they made up a growing proportion of the childbearing-age population.

The capital had the highest proportion of babies born to foreign mothers, including more than three in four in the east London borough of Newham.

Council leaders and head teachers have warned that rising birth rates have contributed to an unprecedented surge in demand for places in primary schools.

Matt Cavanagh, associate director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), said: “Politicians shouldn’t promise what they can’t deliver, particularly on immigration.”

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of the campaign group Migration Watch UK, said: “The Coalition Government will have to face down some vested interests if they are to get anywhere near their target of tens of thousands.”

The Government has already introduced an annual cap on non-EU workers and proposed restrictions on foreign students, settlement rights and family visas.

Mr Green said the current level of immigration was “completely unacceptable” but it would take time for measures to bring levels down to take effect.

He said: “Over the period of the previous government, Britain became addicted to immigration and any programme of weaning someone off an addiction does take time and patience and persistence.”

Shabana Mahmood, a shadow Home Office minister, said: “These figures reveal the gulf between the Government’s rhetoric on immigration and the reality we see in the official figures.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Migration to UK rises by 21% despite coalition clampdown

The government's cap on migration to Britain from outside Europe is being more than offset by a renewed rise in migration from Poland and other EU countries, immigration experts have warned.

British employers are increasingly turning to EU migrants to fill the gaps left by the government's clampdown on the recruitment of overseas skilled labour from outside Europe, according to Oxford University's migration observatory.

The latest annual statistics show that net inward migration – which Conservative ministers have pledged to reduce to below 100,000 by the general election – actually rose by 21% during 2010, to 239,000.

The Office for National Statistics said fewer people were leaving Britain to live abroad and net migration from eastern Europe was up – from 5,000 in 2009 to 40,000 in 2010. Emigration from the UK fell from a peak of 427,000 in 2008 to 336,000 last year.

Publishing figures for the second quarter of 2011, covering April to June this year, the ONS said study remains the most common reason for people from outside Europe to come to Britain.

Analysts at the Department for Work and Pensions said above-average unemployment rates in eurozone countries hit by the financial crisis, including Spain (20%), Lithuania (16%) and Latvia (16%), were behind increased migration to Britain. They also note that UK national insurance registrations from Ireland rose by 56% in 2010/11.

The return of the skilled Polish worker to Britain is also confirmed by the latest figures. The Polish community now numbers 555,000, larger than the Irish (353,000) and the Indian (327,000) communities.

"The UK clearly remains an attractive destination for migrants from Poland and other eastern European (A8) countries," said Carlos Vargas-Silva of the Migration Observatory. "Despite all EU member states having to open their labour markets to A8 workers, the factors that created the initial pull for A8 workers to the UK still remain in place – there is a demand for their labour, wages are still much higher than Poland or other A8 nations and there are now well established A8 communities and networks here to help new and returning EU migrants to find a job and negotiate the complexities of life in a new country."

Matt Cavanagh, migration specialist at the Institute for Public Policy Research, said the figures show that ministers' hope of meeting their target of reducing net migration to below 100,000 was becoming harder. He pointed to evidence earlier this week that employers were responding to the cap by recruiting more EU workers rather than increasing the skills of their current workforce or unemployed British teenagers.

"Ministers need to start thinking about how to harness immigration to promote growth," said Cavanagh. "All the indicators show that the immigration cap is not helping youth unemployment, which is back up above 20%, with those not in education, employment or training above 20%."

But the immigration minister, Damian Green, said immigration remained a British "addiction" and took comfort from the fact that the 239,000 net inward migration for the 12 months to December was lower than the previous quarter for the first time in two years.

"After almost two years of increasing net migration the figures stabilised in the last quarter," he said. "This explains why the government radically changed immigration policy, from our first months in office, to drive the numbers down with a limit on economic migration and changes to student visas to ensure we attract the brightest and best whilst tackling widespread abuse of the system. We are currently consulting on a range of further measures which will drive down numbers further."

The 2010 net migration figures include the period when the temporary cap on non-EU migration was imposed last July soon after the coalition came to power but exclude the period since April when the cap was made permanent.

The ONS immigration figures also show that the number of people granted settlement in Britain hit a record 241,000, including dependants. The Home Office said the bulk were due to the one-off resolution of the backlog of asylum cases many of whom had been in Britain for years.

They also show a 9% rise in asylum applications between April and June, including 336 from Libya in the first sign that the Arab Spring is having an impact on the flow of refugees coming to Britain.

Some 25,900 people were held in detention in 2010. Nine children were held in immigration detention in July despite the coalition pledge to scrap the practice. Immigration removals and deportations fell to a 10 year low of 11,388 during between April and June.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Australia needs accountants

Despite the recent huge increase in the number of accountants obtaining skilled immigration visas to Australia there is still unfulfilled demand for accountants in Australia. Skills Australia intends to keep the occupation on its list of occupations in demand.

"We are keeping a watch on accountants but at the moment the data, and the advice that were getting from the professional associations, is that they should still be on the Skilled Occupation List," said Robin Shreeve, Skills Australia CEO.

The number of accountants who received skilled migration visas to Australia more than doubled during the 2010-11 fiscal year, to 14,680.

"Employment growth has been above average and a similar growth rate is projected over the next five years," Skills Australia said in a briefing.

Skills Australia went onto say "Unemployment is below average and shortages were relatively persistent until the onset of the global recession in 2008."

"The level of advertised vacancies remains very low compared with the pre-recession period, although employment levels have risen."

If you wish to live and work in Australia you should consider applying for immigration through the General Skilled Migration program. Applicants with experience in a job on the Skilled Occupation List and who score enough points under certain criteria such as qualifications, age and English language ability may obtain a permanent residence visa without the need for a specific job offer from an Australian employer.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Canadian province attracts working families

Family members of temporary workers in British Columbia will be granted permission to work under a new pilot project launched on 15 August 2011.

The announcement was made by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and British Columbia Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell.

"Since I became Minister, I have heard from workers, employers, labour advocates and others who have asked me to make Canada more welcoming for working families coming to Canada as temporary residents," Kenney said.

"With this pilot project, we will examine the benefits of allowing family members of temporary foreign workers to work while they are here with a principal applicant who has been hired because of his or her skills," he added.

Temporary foreign workers are allowed to work in Canada for Canadian employers who are unable to find suitable local workers.

Previously, only spouses and common-law partners of temporary foreign workers employed in a managerial, professional or skilled trades job were eligible to obtain an open work permit in British Columbia, which allows you to work for any employer.

"Starting August 15, spouses, common-law partners and working-age dependants of most temporary foreign workers will be eligible, including many workers in occupations that require lower levels of formal training," Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) said in a statement.

"More than a million jobs will open up in [British Columbia] by 2020, and we will need foreign workers to help meet the skills shortages our businesses are already beginning to face," said Minister Bell.

"Giving more spouses and working-aged children of temporary foreign workers the chance to take jobs will support local businesses, while contributing to local, regional and provincial economic growth," he added.

Up to 1,800 open work permits will be available under the pilot project, which ends on 15 February 2013.

"Nearly 32,000 temporary foreign workers made the transition to permanent status in 2010, and of those, almost 2,300 chose to immigrate permanently to BC," Kenney stated.

"We understand the important role that foreign workers have in every region of the country and we will continue to look at ways to attract workers who have the skills we need now and into the future."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

UK Colleges to challenge student visa clampdown

Association of UK Private Schools and Colleges will ask high court to review Theresa May's plan to fix 'broken' system

Private colleges were given the go-ahead on Monday to mount a legal challenge against a government clampdown on "bogus" foreign students.

A judge gave the Association of UK Private Schools and Colleges permission to ask the high court to review plans to cut student visas.

The home secretary Theresa May announced the proposals earlier this year and said ministers wanted to restore "sanity" to the student visa system.

She said the "radical" clampdown would close fake colleges, block entry for those who could not speak good English and make it tougher for non-EU students to stay after courses finish.

But private colleges say the plans are "disproportionate", "arbitrary" and "severe". Deputy high court judge Charles George, QC, said that the association could seek a high court ruling. At a preliminary high court hearing in London, he said the association had an "arguable" case for a review. But he thought college bosses would face an "uphill task" in persuading a judge that May had acted unreasonably.

May said in March that the government wanted to attract the "brightest and best" to the UK but said the visa system had become "broken" under the previous Labour administration.

"This package will stop the bogus students, studying meaningless courses at fake colleges," she said. "It will protect our world-class institutions. It will stop the abuse that became all too common under Labour. And it will restore some sanity to our student visa system."

She said she expected the measures would reduce the number of student visas issued by 70,000-80,000 annually – equivalent to a 25% fall.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

UK Tier 1 Exceptional Talent scheme to open 9 August 2011

Tier 1 Exceptional Talent scheme to open 9 August 2011

Starting 9 August 2011, exceptionally talented leaders in the fields of science, humanities, engineering, and arts will be able to immigrate to the UK under a new Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) immigration category.

The new scheme will not only allow those who are already recognized as leaders in their field, but also those who potentially may become leaders in their field to emigrate to the UK. The scheme will be limited to 1,000 places during the first year of operation. 500 places will be available between 9 August and 30 November 2011, and a further 500 places will be allocated from 1 December 2011 to 31 March 2012. A review will take place on the number of places that should come under the scheme in future at the end of March 2012.

Those admitted under the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) scheme will be granted a visa for an initial period of 3 years and 4 months. They will be able to extend their stay for an additional period of 2 years. After 5 years residence in the UK, a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa holder will be able to apply for settlement.

World-renowned "competent bodies" will oversee who is eligible for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa. These bodies can nominate a certain number of places each year:
  • the Royal Society, a fellowship of the world's most eminent scientists, will be able to nominate up to 300 places
  • Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, will also be able to nominate up to 300 places
  • the Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain's national academy for engineering, will have up to 200 places to nominate
  • the British Academy, the national academy for the humanities and social sciences will be able to nominate up to 200 places
The competent bodies will also be able to transfer unused places to other competent bodies.

Non-EU migrants seeking entry to the UK under the new Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) scheme will not be required to have a job offer. However, recommendation by one of the competent bodies listed above is required.

"The UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering and we are a cultural centre for the arts: we will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy," said UK Immigration Minister Damien Green.

"Our new exceptional talent route, available for up to 1,000 applicants, will ensure that we continue to attract the brightest into the UK and keep the UK a global leader," he added.

He said that introduction of this new scheme comes at a time when the UK is trying to reduce net immigration to the "tens of thousands".

However, critics say that recent immigration restrictions will ultimately hurt the UK economy. The educational sector in particular is concerned about recent changes to UK student immigration that make it more difficult to qualify for a visa. Moreover, they say the planned removal of the Tier 1 (Post study work) route will make the UK less attractive for overseas students. Tier 1 (Post study work) allows non-EU graduates of UK educational institutions to remain in the UK temporarily after graduation to live and work in the UK.

In addition, it will be very difficult to qualify for a Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa, as compared to the previous Tier 1 (General) visa which it essentially replaced. Still, leaders of the competent bodies are enthusiastic about the UK's decision to implement the Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) visa route.

"We welcome the launch of this special visa scheme, which will enable the very best artists of international standing to live and work in the UK," said Alan Davey, Chief Executive of Arts Council England.

"The international exchange of artists enriches their art, and I'm sure audiences will welcome the opportunity to experience the finest artistic talent from across the world," he added.

"The Humanities and Social Sciences are flourishing in the UK and attract many excellent scholars from overseas," said Sir Adam Roberts, President of the British Academy.

"The British Academy is ready to play its part in identifying those outstanding scholars for whom Tier 1 is the appropriate visa category," he went onto say

Australians, Canadians and Brazilians are pro-immigration

In a recent global poll, researchers found that Australia, Canada and Brazil had the highest percentage of citizens who viewed immigration in a positive light.

Brazil led the polls with 47 percent of respondents saying that immigration benefited Brazilian society, followed by Canada (43 percent) and Australia (36 percent). The study was undertaken by UK and Irish research company Ipsos.

Researchers found that the more educated a person was the more likely it was that immigration would be viewed in a positive light. For example, sixty percent of Canadians with a higher education believe that immigration benefits society.

The survey polled citizens of countries from many Countries from around the world. Eighty percent of those surveyed felt that immigration had increased in their respective countries.

Russia and the UK had the most negative view on immigration, with 77 percent of Russians and 71 percent of Britons saying that there are too many immigrants in their country.

The economic situation in a particular Country, perhaps not surprisingly, affected people's views on immigration; People from Countries with high unemployment were more likely to be negative about immigration. In an attempt to reduce competition for jobs a number of countries have implemented stricter immigration rules. Many commentators have said that immigration actually leads to more employment and prosperity. Therefore in the long term tougher immigration controls may actually lead to more unemployment.

Demand for skilled workers is on the rise in Australia, particularly in the labour-starved resources industry. Canada is also set to increase its immigration intake this year, with a number of provinces and territories benefitting from the Provincial Nominee Program, which allows provinces and territories to nominate skilled migrants for priority processing.

United States encourages entrepreneur immigration

The US government has outlined a series of "policy, operational, and outreach efforts" which it hopes will drive economic growth and stimulate investment by encouraging foreign entrepreneurs to immigrate to the United States.

The new initiatives were announced by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) director Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

"The United States has a long, rich history of welcoming innovative entrepreneurs and skilled workers into our country," Mayorkas said on his blog.

"These men and women fuel our nation's economy by creating jobs, and promoting new technologies and ideas," he added.

"Today, I joined Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and outlined a series of new policy, operational, and outreach efforts that will help fuel the nation's economy and stimulate investment by making it easier for high-skill immigrants to start and grow companies and create jobs here in the United States."

USCIS announced that it will:
  • Clarify that immigrant entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based EB-2 immigrant visa if they satisfy existing requirements, and that they may also qualify for a National Interested Waiver (no job offer required) under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can demonstrate that their business will be of interest to the United States.
  • Expand the Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers
  • Clarify that a sole owner of a business who wishes to employ himself/herself in some circumstances can establish a valid employer-employee relationship to qualify for an H-1B non-immigrant visa
  • Implement enhancements to streamline the EB-5 immigrant investor process
  • Launch new "engagement opportunities" to seek input and feedback from entrepreneurs and companies. USCIS will take this into account when developing new policies and procedures. It is hoped that this will result in changes that will help entrepreneurs, new businesses, and startup companies
"The United States must continue to attract the best and brightest from around the world to invest their talents, skills, and ideas to grow our economy and create American jobs," said Napolitano in a statement.

"Today's announcements will help our nation fully realize the potential of existing immigration laws," she added.

Monday, July 11, 2011

US skilled immigration needed for mining and tech sectors

A new report by Fitch Ratings states that the US resources industry which includes the mining and natural gas sectors, and the tech industry are facing a serious shortage of skilled workers. Experts say that skilled immigration could deal with this labor shortfall.

Karl Smith, an economist at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, told The American Independent that the report represents a "reasonable" look at the United States labor market. He said that a US policy of encouraging skilled immigration could alleviate these problems.

Smith said a points based system, similar to those in other countries such as Canada, Denmark, and Australia, would be a good idea because it enables top talent to come and live and work in the US.

Australia's recent mining boom has meant serious skills shortages. Australia benefits from a successful points based General Skilled Migration program; In Australia skilled immigration under points based immigration schemes helps businesses deal with the shortfall in skilled workers.

Smith added that increased immigration would also drive demand for homes, helping to prop up America's ailing housing market.

A points based immigration system would represent a significant change in the United States immigration system, which largely focuses on employer-sponsored and family-based immigration schemes.

Resurgence in numbers of Australian temporary work visa applications

Australia is processing the highest number of temporary 457 visa applications since 2008, as business demand for overseas workers continues to increase.

The Australian economy took a dip like most Countries after the global financial crisis; However, Australia was not as badly affected as many other Countries and it's economy is recovering more rapidly than in other Countries due to heavy demand in the mining industry and related industries.

As a result, Australian businesses are scrambling to fill vacancies and are using the temporary 457 work visa to bring in skilled workers.

According to Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) figures, 42,840 applications were granted for the temporary 457 visa in the 11 months to the end of May, 38.3 percent higher than the same period in May 2010.

Twenty percent of these were for visas granted to workers in the mining and construction industries; There are large resource sector projects underway in both Queensland and Western Australia.

There were also many scientific and technical jobs available.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Zealand in dire need of skilled migrants

According to Ruth Dyson, New Zealand Labour Party spokesperson on immigration, New Zealand is in dire need of more skilled immigration. There are skills shortages in many areas of the New Zealand economy. Immigration is good for the New Zealand economy. Government research suggests that even at existing immigration levels there will be a gain of $28 billion to the New Zealand economy by 2021.

Dyson feels that Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman's stance on immigration is detrimental to the Kiwi economy.

"The Minister's response seems to be that we have an increasing number of unemployed, therefore we should reduce the number of people coming to New Zealand from overseas," Dyson said. "This is an extremely shallow and damaging analysis."

"This is too important for short term thinking. We need to retain and attract the skills that we need to build a strong New Zealand for the future," she added.

Recent government statistics show that in the year to May 2011, Skilled Migrant Category applications were down by 5,150 compared to the same period the previous year.

Temporary work visa applications are also declining. During the the year to May 2011, visas under the Essential Skills scheme were down by 7,201, a significant drop compared to the previous year.

Major changes to Australian skilled migration go into effect

Australia implemented major changes to its General Skilled Migration program on 1 July 2011. The pass mark for various visa subclasses is now 65 points. The age limit has also been raised from 45 years of age to 50.

Nominated occupations no longer earn points, but applicants are still required to nominate an occupation. Points are scored for experience in an occupation. Experience within Australia and overseas in a nominated occupation can be combined to earn points of up to 20 points.

There are now tougher English language requirements; All applicants must be at English language level "Competent" to be eligible to apply under the General Skilled Migration programme.

You can gain 5 additional points if you have a spouse who can satisfy the basic requirements under the General Skilled Migration programme; Points can be earned for language skills in a number of community languages such as Punjabi, Hindi, German, French, and many others, and for a qualification at an Australian institution.

For more information, please contact Global Visa Support office: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/contact.html

Ireland to review entrepreneur visa policy

Ireland will review its Business Permission visa policy requirements in an attempt to spur entreprenuership and boost the country's ailing economy.

Eoghan Murphy, a Fine Gael TD for Dublin South-East, proposed changes to the existing Business Permission visa scheme during a recent debate; Proposals include reducing the funding requirement for an applicant's startup company under the entrepreneur visa scheme from €300,000 to €200,000.

Murphy's proposals also include allowing more than one person to apply in the same application as business partners under the scheme. According to Murphy, the current single-person requirement places too much of a burden on startup founders; Many businesses need at least two partners at startup. The current requirements mean that each entrepreneur needs to make their own application. If the proposed changes are implemented this will make it easier for many businessmen to emigrate to Ireland.

There may also be a new investment-based immigration scheme. One Country that already has an immigrant investor scheme is the UK. This scheme requires you to have GBP1 Million. It would not be surprising if Ireland firstly looked at the British investor scheme before introducing their own immigrant investor scheme.

"The existing system does not really cater for the needs of innovation start-up enterprises", said Minister of State Kathleen Lynch. "In addition, we currently do not have an immigration regime that caters for high net individuals who would be willing to make significant investment in the country in return for being allowed to reside here."

"Departmental officials have been drawing up draft proposals that would have the effect of broadening the eligibility criteria for business person and investors to reside in Ireland," she added.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

UK Deputy Prime Minister criticises UK Prime Minister on immigration

Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister has attacked the Conservative Party Prime Minister's immigration plans. He says that reducing the number of immigrants to tens of thousands a year was not government policy. Immigration policy has been an ongoing source of friction between the Liberal Democrat members of the Government and the more anti immigration Conservative Party members of the Government.

It should be noted that under EU law the UK has to allow free movement of EU citizens and their families into the UK. In addition the limit on the number of tier 2 visas issued will only have a relatively small affect on overall levels of immigration. While at the same time making things more difficult for businesses. In practice it is likely to prove difficult reducing immigration to tens of thousands a year.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told BBC 1's The Politics Show:

"It's not in the Coalition agreement and I don't think anyone suggests that what we should be doing is pursuing fixed numerical targets in immigration policy.

"Lots of people come in and out of this country, not least through the European Union, who you can't just numerically control, so I don't think it's a numbers game."

Mr Clegg commented further on Mr Cameron's tougher stance on immigration, saying:

"I wouldn't have used those words, I wouldn't have used that language."

Nick Clegg Deputy Prime Minister in a more conciliatory note said:

"In terms of the policy, the policy is actually one which we've all congregated around."

The British Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have told the House of Commons that the Government's policies will reduce the number of immigrants from a previous high of 200,000 to tens of thousands a year.

But Mr Clegg's remarks contradict the Government's stated aim to impose a cap on migrants.

The UK Government in a policy paper has stated the following:

"There should be an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work.

"This is one of the ways we will reduce net migration back to the levels of the 1990s – tens of thousands not hundreds of thousands."

Yvette Cooper, the opposition Labour Party Home Secretary, said the following:

"The Tory-led Government's immigration policy is now in utter chaos. Ministers need to explain urgently what on earth their immigration policy now is and whether cabinet ministers are actually prepared to deliver it or not."

She went onto say:

"We still don't know whether David Cameron's promise to cut net immigration to the tens of thousands is Government policy or not – with the Prime Minister claiming it is, and the Deputy Prime Minister claiming it isn't."

Immigration has become more difficult in recent years. However, there it is still possible to emigrate to the UK, perhaps under the Tier 2 visa, if you have say a professional level job offer. You will find further details of the tier 2 visas on our website.

Singapore Immigration - Prime Minister insists foreign workers essential

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said that whilst high levels of immigration have caused some problems in Singapore, that overall, immigration is good for Singapore.

Speaking recently to reporters after recording a Chinese language forum at MediaCorp the Prime Minister had the following to say:

"First, we'll continue to do what we think is the right thing for Singapore. We have to adjust it, we have to soften it where we can, we have to take measures to take care of the consequences," said Mr Lee.

"So you want the foreign workers but at the same time you don't want too many and an uncontrolled flow, which can cause problems," he added. "Politics is about choices, government is about making decisions, and accepting these trade-offs."

The Singapore Peoples Action Party PAP which has dominated Singapore politics since 1963 has pursued a liberal pro-immigration policy. Fourty percent of Singapore's population were born overseas. This compares with the situation in 1990 when about fourteen percent of Singapore's population was foreign born.

Australian Visitor Visa and other visas may become easier to obtain

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Nick Sherry Minister for Small Business have announced a discussion paper asking for views on the simplification of Australian visitor visas.

The Government is trying to reduce the different types of visas and visa subclasses by fifty percent by 2015. Mr Bowen went on to say:

"The government's proposal to simplify visitor visas follows on from our recent commitment to streamline temporary work visas."

"We are undertaking broad public consultation on the visa simplification process, to ensure we consider the impact of any changes on the community," he added.

The proposals are that all short-stay (non-business visitor) work activities be moved out of the visitor program and into the new unsponsored short-stay visa. This will form part of the proposed new temporary work visa. It is also proposed that the types of visitor visas are reduced from nine to four.

Senator Sherry went onto say:

"This streamlining will be achieved by relocating certain short-stay work entitlements and by consolidating common regulatory requirements.

"The government is planning to achieve further simplification in this area by standardising similar regulations and removing duplicate regulation."

If you wish to comment on these proposals you have until 13 May 2011 to do so. It is hoped that there will be simplified visit visa requirements in the future and that this will result in more people visiting Australia.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Study says Canada should increase immigration

A recent study by Canadian professor Tony Fang recommends that Canada should increase its immigration levels to bolster investment in housing and boost the nation's gross domestic product.

Canada already has the highest immigration rate per capita out of all major countries. The country already has a number of skilled immigration programs to help deal with skills shortages in the labour force.

Fang says that Canada needs an additional one million immigrants; This would be an extra 100,000 immigrants a year during the period 2012 to 2021. This would also help the Canadian economy which is yet to recover fully from the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.

"To study the impacts of large-scale immigration on the Canadian economy, the researchers took into account many factors including: immigrants' participation in the labour force; associated spending on government services and infrastructure; funds brought by immigrants; and labour market differences between migrants (in order to capture the effect of large-scale immigration on Canadian-born workers)," a press release on the study said.

Fang, a professor at the University of York in Vancouver, said that adding 100,000 more immigrants a year to Canada's population would increase the GDP by 2.3 percent. Moreover, the increase in population would create demands for goods and services, particularly housing.

Fang also said that increased immigration would add $14 billion in tax revenue for the government.

German immigration on the rise

For the first time in a decade, Germany has seen an increase in immigration into the country, according to numbers published by the national statistics office.

At the end of 2010, approximately 6.75 million foreign nationals were registered in Germany, bringing the immigrant population of Germany to just over 8 percent. This was a rise of 58,000 over the previous year.

More than a third of foreign nationals residing in Germany are from other European Union member states.

The largest group consisted of 21,600 Romanians, followed by large numbers of Polish and Bulgarian nationals.

In recent years Germany has had quite tough immigration controls. However, this may have to change in future; Due to an aging population there are fewer people in the workforce.

Germany may need to open its doors to skilled migrants to deal with skills gaps in the workforce.

Australia lowers barrier for entry for foreign students

Australia will lower the barriers for entry for many people who with to obtain student visas.
The student visa assessment level for 38 countries will be lowered across one or more visa subclasses as of 2 April 2011. The changes come after an internal review of Australia's student immigration system by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

The review was most likely prompted by calls from Australia's education sector to make it easier for overseas students to gain entry; In recent years, Australia has seen a sharp decline in the number of international students applicants after stricter rules were put into place.

Applicants from 38 countries will benefit by not having to provide so much documentation in support of their student visa applications; It is likely that less documentation will need to be provided to show English language proficiency, financial capacity and academic qualifications.

"Prospective students and their families, agents and education providers should be aware that these changes will lower the minimum evidentiary requirements needed for the grant of a student visa for the selected countries and education sectors," a DIAC spokesman said today.

DIAC was quick to point out that the changes only affect the requirements for initial entry as a foreign student -- not the requirements to stay on in Australia as a permanent resident after studies are completed.

"While many international students apply for permanent residence when they complete their studies, this is an entirely separate process and there is no guarantee that, on the basis of having held a student visa, a person will meet the requirements to be granted permanent residence," DIAC said.

DIAC warned potential applicants not to choose Australia solely based on their chances of obtaining a permanent skilled immigration visa in future.

"Students should not make educational choices solely on the basis of expecting to achieve a particular migration outcome, because the skilled migration program will continue to change and adapt to Australia's economic needs," the spokesman said.

270,499 student visas were granted during the 2009-10 Fiscal Year, with 382,710 student visa holders actually in the country as at 30 June 2010; 80,450 of these students were from India, 80,010 were from China and 21,720 were from South Korea.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tier 2 Visa - Major changes from 6 April 2011

Tier 2 Visa changes include the following:
All immigrants wishing entry to the UK must be filling a graduate level position. You do not necessarily need to have an academic position. However, you will need to show that you have the right level of skills for the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). Following recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee 71 occupations can no longer come under the Tier 2 visa scheme. UK immigration considers that these occupations are below "graduate level". This will be relevant both for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) applications.

The UKBA also published a revised List of Shortage Occupations, 8 occupations were removed from the list where it was decided there is no longer a shortage of skills.

Tier 2 General Visa Changes:
Over a period of a year from 6 April 2011 to 5 April 2011 there will be an annual limit of 20,700 visas. This will apply to restricted Certificates of Sponsorship. Unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship will apply in the following cases:
  • If you were previously sponsored under Tier 2 (General) or as a Work Permit holder on or before 5 April 2011 and wish to extend your visa;
  • If you wish to move to a different employer;
  • If you have an annual salary of GBP150,000 or more;
  • If you wish to switch immigration category from Tier 1 PSW or Tier 1 General categories to Tier 2 Visa.
In April 2011 4,200 certificates of sponsorship will be available. After the first month 1,500 certificates of sponsorship will be available per month until 5 April 2012.
You will as a Sponsor be able to request 'restricted' CoS up to three months before the start date. The certificates of sponsorship will be allocated on the 11th of each month.

Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer changes
From 6 April 2011 there will two new sub-categories of Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT). Below are further details of the two Tier 2 (ICT) subcategories:

For stays of up to Four years:
  • Tier 2 (ICT) is available for graduate level employees for a period exceeding 12 months, up to a maximum 60 months in total.
  • The job the migrant will do must be at a graduate level or above with a minimum salary of £40,000 per annum.
  • You will granted a Tier 2 Visa for a period of 3 years and 4 months. This visa category will not lead to settlement (permanent residence) in the UK.
For stays of up to twelve months:
The Tier 2 (ICT) Visa in this situation is available again only for graduate level positions with a minimum salary of £24,000.
  • You will granted a Tier 2 Visa for a period of up to twelve months. This visa category will not lead to settlement (permanent residence) in the UK.
  • If you will be earning £40,000 per annum you may be able to apply for a longer term Tier 2 (ICT) visa.
English Language Requirements Tier 2 (General) Visa
The English language requirements from 6 April 2011 for Tier 2 General applicants have been increased from basic to intermediate level. This is level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The English language requirements for Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer are unchanged.

Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Visa: Tougher Requirements

Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Visa Program will see stricter requirements. Immigration Minister Kenney claims that the changes will be an improvements to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and had the following to say:

"We saw a need for clear regulations to better protect workers from poor treatment and to ensure that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program continued to address short-term labour and skills shortages," said Minister Kenney. "These regulations respond to that need and with the information being made available today, employers and workers will clearly know what is expected of them."

The changes to the Canadian Temporary Foreign Worker Program represent the greatest changes to the program in many years. The three major changes are as follows:
  • More detailed checks on whether the job offer is genuine;
  • Employers who have not adhered to the wages, working conditions and occupation criteria for the scheme will not be allowed to hire temporary foreign workers for a period of two years.
  • Some temporary foreign workers will be limited to a maximum period of four years on their Canadian work visa.
"We know that the vast majority of employers treat foreign workers with respect and we recognize the importance of temporary foreign workers to employers in certain industries," said Rick Dykstra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Immigration Minister. "That's why we have also identified some workers who will be exempt from the four-year limit, such as workers who come to Canada through the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program and play such a critical role in the harvest across the country."

Citizenship and Immigration Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada job administer the program together. The intention of the program is to enable Canadian employers to recruit and employ people from abroad in shortage skills occupations.

UK immigration announces changes to Tier 4 student visas

UK immigration has announced a number of changes to the Tier 4 student visa category. There will be new accreditation criteria for sponsors and tougher English language requirements. An outline of the changes is included below:

21 April 2011 Changes:

New sponsors will need to meet new educational accreditation criteria in order to be issued a Tier 4 licence.

There will be interim limit on the number of students that can be sponsored unless the sponsor meets the following requirements:
  • hold Highly Trusted Sponsor status; and
  • meet the new accreditation criteria.
B rated sponsors will only be able to assign CAS to complete a course.

There will be tougher English language requirements for Tier 4 (General) students:
  • a B1 Secure English Language Test (SELT) requirement for all courses at NQF 3-5/QCF 3-5 / SCQF 6-8 (ending the current SELT exemptions on pre-sessionals pathway /foundation degree courses);
  • a B2 SELT requirement for courses at NQF 6 /QCF 6 / SQCF 9 and above
Higher educational institutions will be allowed to make their own assessment.

Normally a CAS may only be issued in respect of a single course, except in a situation where you are attending a pre-sessional course of not more than three months' duration and you have an unconditional offer of a place at a higher education institution or at an independent school starting not more than one month after the end of the pre-sessional course.

July 2011 Changes:
  • If you are a Sponsor you will have to vouch for academic progression for students changing course, where the new course is not a step up the NQF/ QCF / SCQF scale.
  • If you are a student applying for a visa you will need to declare at the visa application stage that you hold and will continue to hold the required maintenance funds to support yourself and pay the course fees.
  • If you are a Student from a designated low-risk nationalities attending courses at Highly Trusted Sponsors you will you will not necessarily have to show documents normally asked for other students relating to maintenance and educational qualifications.
  • You will only be allowed to work during your studies if you are at an higher education institutions or publicly funded further education colleges.
  • You will only be allowed to sponsor dependents if you are a new student studying at a higher education institution on a course on NQF 7 / QCF 7 / SQCF 11 or above lasting 12 months or more.
Your dependants will be able to work.

April 2012 Changes:
  • All sponsors must have reached Highly Trusted Sponsor Status.
  • The interim limit will be extended if you are an existing sponsor and have acquired HTS status but not met the new educational accreditation requirements.
  • Courses offering work placements will have to have a study:work ratio of 66:33 except at higher education institutions.
  • You will normally only be allowed a maximum time of five years in Tier 4 studying at degree level and above; There will be exceptions for some courses and for PhD students.
  • The Tier 1 Post Study Work visa will end.
  • There will be new provisions for Student entrepreneurs.
End of 2012 Changes:

If you are a sponsors you will need to meet the new educational accreditation criteria to be able to sponsor new students.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Canadian immigration proposes stricter marriage requirements

The Canadian government has proposed a new rule which would require a person coming to stay in Canada with their partner to stay in the relationship for two years before being granted permanent residence.

The stricter requirement is an attempt by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to crack down on fraudulent marriages.

Under the new proposal, a spouse or partner from overseas who has been in a relationship with their Canadian partner for less than two years would only be granted conditional permanent residence.

If the overseas partner failed to stay in the relationship, or it can be shown that it is not a genuine relationship, conditional permanent residence could be revoked.

The United States, Britain and Australia already have similar laws in place.

The Canadian government has also proposed to introduce a "sponsorship bar". This would prevent those who gained entry to Canada themselves as sponsored partners and spouses from sponsoring a new partner for five years.

US to accept H-1B applications from 1 April 2011

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will start accepting H-1B petitions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 on 1 April 2011. However, the earliest you can start work on an H-1B visa is October 2011. US firms use H-1B visas to recruit overseas workers in specialty occupations in fields in the sciences, engineering, and information technology.

The H-1B visa scheme is subject to an annual cap set by the United States Congress each year. For FY 2012, the cap is again set at 65,000 visas. There are 20,000 additional visas for those with US Masters degrees or higher.

"The first 20,000 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals with U.S. master's degrees or higher are exempt," USCIS said in a statement.

There are certain other H-1B petitions that are exempt from the cap as well. These include job posts at:
  • Institutions of higher education or related or affiliatednonprofit entities
  • Nonprofit research organizations
  • Governmental research organizations
H-1B visa extensions filed for workers who are currently in the US under an H-1B visa also do not count towards the cap.

In April 2007 the cap was reached in one day. The US has still not fully recovered from the economic downturn of 2008; Over the last few years there has been less demand for H-1B visas. The increased availability of H-1B visas means that it is now easier for US companies to import skilled labor from abroad under the H-1B program.

Western Australia continues call for more immigrants

Western Australia is continuing its efforts to recruit workers from abroad in an effort to head off labour shortages.

The Australian state expects to create 240,000 new jobs as AUD $225 million in resources and infrastructure projects get underway; It is estimated that Western Australia will see a shortfall of 150,000 workers.

"This growth will present significant challenges for government, industry and the community as the demand for skilled labour to service the state's growing industries places pressure on many sectors of the economy," Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier said.

To meet the demand for skilled labour, the state will be bringing in immigrants under the Western Australian Skilled Migration Strategy. This includes a wide range of initiatives to help meet the state's work force requirements with labour from abroad.

The minister was quick to add that their first priority was to train the local Australian workforce.

"However, we know this will not be enough and that targeted migration will be essential to boost our skilled labour needs," Collier said.

"We need to explore all options for not just increasing the participation of our local population, but also adding to the labour pool by attracting skilled workers from overseas and other parts of Australia," he added.
State-sponsored skilled migration is an important component in Australia's overall skilled migration efforts.

By meeting certain criteria, an applicant who wishes to live and work in Australia can gain permanent residence in Australia.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

UK will scrap Tier 1 Post Study Work in April 2012

Intense lobbying by Britain's education sector and others has resulted in the Tier 1 Post Study Work immigration scheme continuing for another year. Tier 1 PSW allows non-EU students of UK educational institutions to live and work in the UK after graduation for up to two years. The Government is also expected to allow private further-education colleges which provide "pathway" courses to apply for student visa sponsorship accreditation.

The Government originally had hinted that it would not allow non-EU students to obtain a visa for "pathway" courses such as English language classes and that the Tier 1 Post Study Work scheme would end in April 2011 as part of a general plan to reduce net immigration into the UK. The Tier 1 PSW scheme will continue for at least another year.

The UK has already announced an annual permanent immigration cap on Tier 1 highly skilled immigration and Tier 2 skilled immigration that will take effect in 6 April of 2011. There is currently a temporary immigration cap.

The UK higher education sector has been aggressively lobbying against reducing student immigration into Britain. The UK's education sector is estimated to be a 40 billion pounds per year industry.
However, while the Post Study Work will stay for at least another year, other rules will be tightened from 6 April 2011. Stricter rules will govern the ability to work for foreign students. Only students at University and at Government funded Further Education colleges will have the right to work.

MPs warn Immigration Minister on student visa curbs

A committee of MPs has urged immigration minister Damian Green not to move forward with the introduction of stricter rules for student immigration into the UK. The committee has warned that more stringent student immigration rules would be "potentially calamitous" to an industry worth £40 billion annually.

The home affairs select committee stated that student immigration is "not only economically beneficial to this country but also vital to the UK's international relations". The committee complains that the UK's policy of reducing net immigration into the UK is based on "flawed" evidence.

The committee has also taken issue with contradictions in public comments made by the immigration minister:

In January, Green told Parliament that "taking action on students is particularly important as they make up roughly two thirds of non-European economic area immigrants, and the number of student visas issued has been rising in recent years". Then a few weeks later he told the Commons that his department wanted to "encourage all those genuine students coming here to study at our world-class academic institutions."

Britain reputation as one of the top Countries for international students could suffer if new rules are put in place to restrict student immigration.

"UK universities are facing aggressive competition in a market which is vital for their future and for the UK economy", the MPs said. They also stated that Australia may already be ramping up efforts to attract foreign students to its shores at the expense of the UK.

The MPs recommended that there should not be tougher English language qualifications for students applying to an educational institution with "highly trusted" status. They also urged that the Tier 1 Post Study Work (PSW) scheme not be scrapped. The PSW allows student immigrants who graduate from a UK course to live and work in the UK for up to two years.