Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: Important Immigration events during the year

2010 has been a rocky year for immigration around the world. Aftershocks from the global financial crisis of 2008 can still be felt as evidenced by many countries responding to the economic downturn by bringing in more restrictive immigration policies. However, there is evidence that as the economies of many countries improve and unemployment rates fall, skilled immigration will once again play a key role in filling labour gaps.

United Kingdom

One of the biggest stories this year is the UK Government's interim immigration cap that was put into force in June. The temporary cap, designed to prevent a surge in applications ahead of a planned permanent cap to be introduced in April 2011, was pushed through without any Parliamentary vote. Since this summer, a monthly cap of 600 applications for Tier 1 General has been in place, with the quota being reached very early in each month. There has been much criticism of the cap, mainly from the business sector, immigrant groups, and from within the Government itself.

A legal challenge was lodged with the UK High Court by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and the English Community Care Association. The UK High Court found that the interim immigration cap was unlawful because the Home Secretary did not put the measure to a vote before Parliament. However, the UK Government quickly put through a Statement of Changes that apparently means that the interim immigration limit is now lawful. It's possible that a future legal challenge will mean that the interim limit is again considered to be unlawful.

Stricter requirements for permanent residence, otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) were also announced in 2010. The Home Secretary said that she wishes to cut the ties between temporary immigration and permanent settlement. As a result, it is possible many people will no longer be eligible to apply for ILR in the future. One bit of good news is that the plan by the previous Government to create a category of "probationary citizenship" instead of indefinite leave to remain has been axed.


The United Kingdom is not the only country that is tightening the reigns on immigration. Canada has reduced the number of jobs in its in-demand occupation list; most skilled worker applicants will more than likely require a job offer. On the bright side, Canada has devoted resources to reducing a large backlog in applications which have historically resulted in multi-year waiting times for applicants.


Like Canada, Australia also announced a reduction in jobs on their Skilled Occupation List (SOL); As before applicants for permanent residence under the General Skilled Migration (GSM) programme must have relevant experience in the particular skilled occupation. This year Australia also announced changes to the GSM to take effect next summer which will make it more difficult for tradespeople and people in other occupations to score enough points under Australia's GSM points based system.

Australia has also been responding to criticism of changes to its immigration system from the business and education sectors. Australia will make student immigration and temporary business immigration easier. This will further help Australia's economy which is now experiencing an upturn.

The United States

There was a time when H-1B visas were snatched up on the first day that they became available for a particular fiscal year. This year is certainly in keeping with the times; Thousands of H-1B visas were still available many months after the gates were open, showing that employers are simply not hiring highly skilled workers in large numbers in the US.


The global financial crisis of 2008 took an enormous toll on economies world-wide which resulted in many Countries bringing in more restrictive immigration policies.

Governments around the world are concentrating more on employment-based immigration to deal with gaps in the labor market. It is increasingly the case that the employer or both the employer and employee need to apply for the visa.

Over the last few years economies around the world have been recovering. This is particularly true for countries such as Australia. As markets recover and demand for skilled workers increase, this will lead to increases in levels of immigration.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Austria announces new work visa for foreigners

Austria has announced a "red-white-red" work permit card that will allow non-EU citizens to work in Austria. Austria is currently experiencing skills shortages.

To gain entry to Austria under the new work permit, applicants must pass certain criteria related to age, education, experience, and language skills. The new Austrian work visa will be similar in some respects to other skilled immigration visas in countries such as the UK, Australia, Denmark, and Canada.

Social Affairs Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer said that Austria must import migrant labour to deal with skills shortages over the next 10 to 15 years.

The new "red-white-red" work visa represents a significant change in the Austrian immigration system. It is currently very difficult for non-EU nationals to work in Austria legally.

The European Union as a whole has recognized the need for skilled immigration as its labour force shrinks and its population ages. Over the last three years the European Commission has been pushing for the introduction of a EU wide blue card visa.

The blue card would give a non-EU citizen the right to work in any participating EU country as long as he has a job offer. A blue card holder would also be able to bring family and even move to another EU country after a certain time period if he was relocated or received another job offer.

EU Commissioners say Europe needs more immigration

Europe needs more immigration if it wishes to remain globally competitive, says two members of the European Commission.

In an article penned by European Commissioners Cecilia Malmström and László Andor, the authors state that there are skills shortages in many sectors of the European job market, including science, health, agriculture, engineering, and tourism -- This is desptie the fact that the EU continues to experience high unemployment rates.

"These deficits will increase and spread rapidly to other sectors because of the EU's severe demographic challenges," the authors state.

According to Malmström and Andor, as early as 2013, the working-age population will start to decline in the EU, with Eurostat projections suggesting that the EU workforce will shrink by as much as 50 million over the next 50 years.

Malmström and Andor are quick to point out that the EU will not need 50 million immigrants and that reducing existing unemployment should be a top priority. However, they feel that increased skilled immigration should play an important role in combating the problem.

For example, they say that recent reports suggest that the EU economy will need between 384,000 and 700,000 IT workers by 2015, and by 2020, between one and two million health-care workers.

"Even with the best policies, it is highly unlikely that all these resources could be found within the Union," the authors said.

"At the same time, global competition for manpower will grow", they added. "If Europe is to keep its position on the global market, we need to make our labour market more attractive to possible migrants."

The European Commission has been proactive in trying to encourage more skilled immigration into the EU. The EU intends to implement a "blue card" which would allow non-EU citizens to live and work in the 27-member bloc. The recent article by two prominent EU Commissioners will it is hoped speed up the introduction of an EU-wide immigration scheme.

Western Australia lures skilled migrants

The Western Australian government is trying its best to attract overseas skilled workers in an attempt to deal with labour shortages in its mining sector.

Western Australian Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier announced a WA workforce development plan to address these issues. One of the problems is finding skilled labour for the expected $220 billion worth of natural resource-related projects.

According to Collier, the increasing population and aging workforce will cause a gap of about 150,000 workers in Western Australia in the next seven years. Bringing in skilled migrants into Australia will help Western Australia deal with skills shortages in the labour market.

"Training and preparing West Australians for the workforce is our number one priority," said Collier. "However, targeted migration will be an important strategy in filling those high value vacancies unable to be filled by the local workforce."

The government of WA has signed an agreement with the Australian federal government which will allow the state to sponsor 6000 visa applications under the regional sponsored category of the General Skilled Migration program.

The General Skilled Migration program is Australia's points based immigration system which allows skilled workers to gain permanent residence in Australia with or without a job offer from an Australian employer.
Some visa categories under this program allow state or regional governments in Australia to sponsor a visa applicant.

The General Skilled Migration Program has been very successful for Australia and has influenced immigration systems in other countries such as the UK.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

UK Government: more Tier 2 visas in 2011

The permanent cap affecting skilled immigration which the UK is implementing in April 2011 is causing a lot of controversy and consternation among immigrants and businesses alike. But while Tier 1 (General) is in effect being abolished and will in future only apply to 'exceptionally talented' people (with an annual cap of 1000), Tier 2 visas (for ONP nurses, for example) will actually see an increase in its quota to 20,700 visas; This is a significant increase over the current interim immigration cap.
Moreover, this limit will not apply to the following groups of people seeking Tier 2 visas:
  • in-country applications from people already in the UK
  • dependants of Tier 2 migrants
  • Tier 2 (General) applicants who are filling a vacancy with a salaryabove £150,000
  • Tier 2 (Sportsperson) applicants
  • Tier 2 (Minister of religion) applicants
  • Tier 2 (Intra-company transfer) applicants
People who fall under the above categories will not come under the immigration cap.
A limiting factor to the new Tier 2 visa rules is the requirement that Tier 2 (General) applicants be limited to graduate level job vacancies when the new rules are put in place next year.

In addition, the intra-company transfer route, while not subject to the cap, will have some new limitations put in place. Intra-company transfer applicants with salaries above £40,000 will be able to stay in the UK for up to five years, while applicants with salaries between £24,000 and £40,000 will only be able to stay in the UK for up to 12 months at a time.

It's clear that the UK is focusing its attention on migrants who already have a bonafide job offer from a UK employer. For people who wish to immigrate to the UK based upon their skills and experience alone, now is the time to apply under Tier 1 (General) before the UK closes the door on this popular immigration scheme.

Japan urged to increase skilled immigration

A leading international think tank is urging Japan to open up its traditionally restrictive immigration system to incoming skilled immigration.

The proposal by the Japan Forum on International Relations (JFIR) proposes that Japan adopt a skills-based immigration system, similar to immigration systems in leading immigration destination countries in the West.

In addition, JFIR proposes that Japan implement social integration policies alongside the skills-based immigration system to avoid tensions related to immigration that occurs in certain Countries in Europe.

Japan has historically shunned immigration, but voices are now saying that skilled immigration is the only way to head off skills shortages and re-energize the Japanese economy.

Kenicho Ito, chairman of the JFIR's policy council, said he considered Australia, Canada, and the US as models for a new Japanese immigration system.

"If Japan wants to survive in a globalised world economy and to advance its integration with the burgeoning East Asian economy, it essentially has no other choice but to accept foreign migrants, while making full use of domestic human resources," he said.

"A key question is not whether we should accept foreign migrants or not, but how we should accept them," he added.

Australia has a points-based system that grants permanent residence to skilled migrants who gain enough points under their points based system. The UK has a a tier based immigration system, which has some similarities to the Australian immigration system, which also allows skilled immigrants to enter the country without the need for a job offer. The United States has a complicated system that allows entry of skilled immigrants on a number of employment-based visas.

Whether Japan will implement similar policies remains to be seen. The number of foreigners moving to Japan has increased in the last decade, but only very slowly: from 1.5 million ten years ago to 2 million today.
"The annual intake is estimated to be 50,000 to 60,000 as far as the last 10 years is concerned. We think such a number is too small," Ito said.

Australian education needs more foreign students

Australian education groups are optimistic that the government will help fix Australia's ailing education industry.

Educators traveled to Canberra on 22 November to meet with Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, Trade Minister Craig Emerson, and the coalition government's universities spokesman, Brett Mason to lobby for changes that will support the education sector.

The education industry is Australia's most valuable export industry worth more than AUD $18.5 billion to the Australian economy. Unfortunately, the industry has seen a dramatic decline in foreign student enrolments.

Student visas granted to offshore applicants has declined 30 percent in the past year, causing universities to cut staff and budgets.

The education industry wants the Australian government to relax student visa rules and to implement faster and more transparent processing of applications. They also feel more can be done to promote Australia as a study abroad destination.

Claire Field of the Australian Council for Private Education and Training was encouraged by the Australian government's reaction to the current situation in the education sector.

"They understand that Australia is out of step with competitor countries and they understand the consequences of no further change. We are looking forward to and hopeful of both short-term and long-term changes," Field said.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas promotion: Free IELTS review!

After successully running several IELTS reviews, we are glad to announce our Limited Time Promotion for this Christmas:

Free IELTS review if you apply for any of our immigration and/or study programmes in UK, Canada, Australia or New Zealand!

How to get a Free IELTS review:
- enrol to any of our programmes
- pay the enrolment fee
- you can start the review immediately
- we have Monday-Friday and Saturday/Sunday schedules
- we have 2 IELTS review centers: Makati and Naga City

Terms and conditions:
This promotion is valid for enrolments between December 1-15, 2010 only. You can use your right for a free IELTS review in December 2010 or January 2011 only. IELTS review with Global Visa Support lasts 5 days, 9am-4pm. The usual price of our IELTS review is 5,000 peso in Makati or 5,500 peso in Naga City. Group discounts available. We can process your IELTS exam application with IDP and/or British Council, in any location in the Philippines. More about our IELTS review here:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

British Council IELTS Scholarship

Have you heard of the British Council IELTS Scholarship? Click here for more details: Tell your friends!

Friday, November 19, 2010

UK will relax immigration cap to help businesses

According to the Daily Telegraph, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to significantly increase the number of non-EU immigrant skilled workers allowed to enter the United Kingdom each month.

Businesses have been among the groups criticizing the UK Government for imposing the cap, which they say prevents badly needed highly skilled immigrants from working in the UK.

The current limit of 2,600 skilled worker immigrants from outside the EU is likely to be increased which will benefit both Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa applicants. By the tenth day of November all visas were used up for the UK's highly popular Tier 1 (General) Visa, a points based immigration visa aimed at highly skilled workers.

The Tier 1 visa is so popular because you do not need a job offer to come under the Tier 1 visa and you can work for any employer.

The UK Government is expected to increase the immigration cap next year to more than 4,000 per month; UK businesses have said that they need more immigrants with the right skills to fill labour shortages.

The current cap is a temporary arrangement until a permanent cap is introduced next year. Details on the permanent cap are expected to be announced later this month.

This week, the Migration Advisory Committee is expected to publish its recommendations for the level at which the permanent cap should be set. A number of scenarios will be put forward, ranging from a liberal immigration cap to a more hardline immigration cap.

It is expected that the Government will reject the more hard-line immigration cap proposals from the Migration Advisory Committee. However this is not certain. If you meet the current immigration requirements for say a Tier 1 visa or Tier 2 visa it may be best to apply sooner rather than later.

If you apply in the future for immigration to the UK it may also be more difficult to gain permanent residence. If you apply now you will hopefully come under the current immigration rules for gaining permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain) instead of stricter rules in future.

Increased Australian immigration unavoidable for Australia

An Australian Treasury warning has been issued which states that increased immigration in Australia is 'inescapable'.

During Prime Minister Julia Gillard's election campaign, she said that Australia should not "hurtle" towards a big population. She thought that the 36 million people by 2050 as forecast by the Treasury was excessive.

However, a recent Treasury briefing warns that the 36-million people projection factored in a significant reduction in migration to an annual average of 180,000. Immigration recently peaked at 300,000.

According to the briefing, even by limiting net migration to 60,000 people per year Australia would reach 29 million people by 2050.

"Given the powerful global forces driving the Australian economy, net immigration figures well in excess of that low number are probably inescapable," the briefing said.

"Strong population growth is not necessarily unsustainable," the briefing continued. "It need not adversely affect the environment, the livability of cities, infrastructure and service delivery, provided the right plans and policies are put in place now in anticipation of it."

According to a senior Labor source, the government has accepted that they cannot cut migration to such an extent that population growth is reduced.

The Treasury has also predicted that unemployment will fall to 4.9 percent in the future, resulting in more skills shortages and so making the case for reducing levels of immigration that much more difficult to justify.
Future immigration changes will favour people with degree level education and good English. If you are a tradesperson or do not have good enough English to meet the new requirements you may wish to consider applying for immigration before the changes take place.

Canadian immigration to accept Immigrant Investor applications again

Starting on 1 December 2010, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will again start accepting applications under the federal Immigration Investor Program.

Applicants under the Immigration Investor Program will need to have a personal net worth of $1.6 million CAD, which doubles the previous net worth requirement of $800,000. Moreover, applicants will be required to make an investment of $800,000. Under the previous rules, only a $400,000 investment was needed.

According to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, changes to the criteria for the immigration investor program were overdue.

"These changes were necessary," said Kenney. "The requirements had not been increased in more than a decade and we need to keep pace with the changing economy."

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) said that Canada had the lowest requirements for their investor immigration schemes compared to other countries with similar programs. To reduce the backlog of applications and to avoid a rush of applications before the changes take place Canada suspended the Immigration Investor Program in June 2010.

"The new criteria now align it more closely with other immigrant-receiving countries," CIC said in a statement.
CIC said that the previous requirements were leading to a backlog of applications. By raising the net worth and investment requirements, Canada hopes to reduce the number of applicants and only let in those who can make a substantial investment in the Canadian economy.

"Higher investment amounts mean provinces and territories will receive more investment capital to put toward job creation and economic development projects," Kenney said.

Canada's Immigration Investor Program grants applicants a permanent residence visa and a guaranteed repayment of their investment. The immigrant investor program was already an expensive way of gaining permanent residence in Canada. Doubling the investment requirements is bound to put off some people. It remains to be seen if the changes will in reality result in increased investment into Canada. There are already a number of ways in which you can emigrate to Canada and a number of other Countries around the World without having to invest any money.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Zealand: Study - Work - Migrate!

WE are now offering a new programme for nurses in New Zealand: Study - Work - Migrate. The full details of this programme are here:

This programme is good for nurses with 6 months experience at least, with almost any IELTS result (starting from 5.0). Tell your friends!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Australia expected to make tradespeople immigration more difficult - Apply now!

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is expected to announce a change in Australia's points based system to encourage immigration of highly skilled professionals with good qualifications.

It is hoped that changes to the points based system will encourage foreign students with high level Australian qualifications to seek permanent residence. It seems likely that immigration will become more difficult for those with trade qualifications and experience in lower-skilled occupations.

"The current weighting of points test factors leads to perverse outcomes such as the situation where a Harvard qualified environmental scientist with three years' relevant work experience would fail the points test, while an overseas student who completes a 92-week course in a 60-point occupation...would, with one year's experience, pass," said the Deparment of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC).

"Australia can, and should, select the best and brightest migrants for independent migration," DIAC added.
Possible changes to the system include more points for higher levels of English language ability and higher degree qualifications. In future it may also be more difficult for older people to gain enough points to qualify under the points based immigration system.

Moreover, bonus points for having relatives in the country or for having Australian qualifications may be axed. If you are a tradesperson and are interested in immigration to Australia you should seriously consider applying now. It is possible that you will not qualify for immigration in future.

UK will not implement 'earned citizenship'

The UK Government has decided to abandon its plans to implement an 'earned citizenship' policy which was due to go into effect in July of 2011.

Earned citizenship would require immigrants to apply for 'probationary citizenship' instead of permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain).

Currently, an immigrant living in the UK can apply for permanent residence after about five years, after which they can live in the UK indefinitely.

"We will not implement Labour's policy of earned citizenship, which was too complicated, bureaucratic and, in the end, ineffective," said Home Secretary Theresa May in a recent statement.

However, the Government still appears to be on track for tightening the requirements for permanent residence in Britain.

"If people enter this country saying that they will only stay here temporarily, then it is obvious that they should only stay here temporarily," May continued. "Working in Britain for a short period should not give someone the right to settle in Britain. Studying a course in Britain should not give someone the right to settle in Britain."

While the UK dropping earned citizenship is good for many people who wish to live and work in the UK on a permanent basis, it looks like the Government still plans to make UK immigration more difficult for migrants in the future. If you qualify for indefinite leave to remain it may be best to apply sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November 16 - we work as usual

Next Tuesday 16 November our Makati office will be open as usual 9am-6pm, despite the holiday. Since many people will be off work on that day, everyone is welcome to visit our office!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

UK Tier 1 visas issued again from 1 November

The UK Border Agency has started issuing Tier 1 (General) Visas again from 1 November 2010.
On 19 July 2010, the UK Government introduced an interim limit on the number of initial Tier 1 (General) Visa applications that can be issued each month; On 20 October 2010 the monthly limit had been reached and the UK Government stopped issuing Tier 1 (General) Visas.

As of 01 November, the Government is again issuing Tier 1 General Visas. Applicants who were put on hold due to the limit will now be processed in the order in which their visa application was received.

Tier 1 (General) is part of the UK's points-based immigration system. Applicants are scored on criteria such as age, past earnings, and qualifications. If you are a highly skilled individual, you may be eligible to receive a visa which will allow you to work for any employer in the UK or be self-employed. A job-offer from a UK employer is not required under the Tier 1 (General) visa.

Due to the new interim limit on Tier 1 (General) Visa applications, Tier 1 General Visa processing times are likely to go up in future. If you wish to avoid future delays in the processing of your visa application it would advisable to apply sooner rather than later.

Australia: Survey finds employers dependent on skilled migration

KPMG, a global business consultancy firm, says that the ongoing boom in Australia has resulted in low unemployment and a demand for overseas skilled workers to fill gaps in the labor market -- a trend that is likely to increase in the future.

According to their report entitled Skilled Migration Survey 2010, employers are being forced to increase their skilled migration intake to meet the demand for skilled workers.

The report found that some Australian States such as Queensland and South Australia are experiencing skills shortages; It has been said that to overcome this problem they should apply to employ skilled workers under Australia's 457 temporary employer-sponsored visa scheme. Western Australia uses these immigration programs more and has already benefited by bringing in skilled workers under Australian skilled migration programs.

The survey found that 85 percent of employers polled said that the global financial crisis has had no impact on their business, and that 50 percent of businesses are suffering from skills shortages.

In addition, 60 percent of employers surveyed said that they have maintained their skilled migration intake with only 14 percent polled saying that they have reduced their intake of skilled migrants in the work force.

The survey also found that 80 percent of employers are concerned about Australia's aging work force and that they expect the problem to affect their business in the next five years. 66 percent feel that the
Australian government should improve its skilled immigration program and so help boost the working age population.

Australia is becoming a more popular destination for skilled migrants from all over the world. In addition to employer-sponsored visas such as the 457 visa, Australia also has a points-based immigration scheme which allows people with skills Australia needs to apply for a permanent residence visa without the need for an employer.

To find out more about skilled immigration to Australia, please see our Australian immigration section.

UK Car manufacturers warn against immigration cap

Executives from Honda, Toyota, and Nissan have attacked the UK Government's immigration cap on skilled and highly skilled Immigrants. They say that the measure has negative consequences for their industry.

The temporary immigration cap, is due to become a permanent immigration cap in April 2011. Each month, the Government only allows a certain number of skilled immigrants into the UK.

The cap would be particularly problematic for the UK car industry, which is almost entirely owned by large international car manufacturers.

The UK Government has so far stayed firm on their plans for the immigration cap.

"This government believes that Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration," said the Home Office in a recent statement.

"Britain remains open for business and we will continue to attract and retain the brightest and the best people who can make a real difference to our economic growth, but unlimited migration places unacceptable pressure on public services," they added.

However, carmakers say that the immigration quota would make it difficult for them to develop and manufacture new models; They typically bring in small research and development teams from overseas.

UK Immigration fee increase postponed

A planned increase to UK immigration fees on 01 November 2010 has been delayed. The reason for the delay is unknown but it is expected that the fees will increase some time soon.

The fee increase will affect many in-country immigration applications, including Tier 1 for General Highly Skilled Migrants, Tier 2 for Skilled Workers, UK settlement visas, and naturalisaion.

You should hurry if you wish to immigrate to the UK and avoid the UK Government fee increases. You will see further details in our UK immigration section on applying to live and work in the UK.

If you are interested in using's services, fill out one of our free immigration forms for an evaluation of your immigration prospects from a consultant.

Canada's biggest bank says immigration is vital for nation

Gordon Nixon, president of the Royal Bank of Canada, said that immigrants are one of Canada's greatest "competitive advantages" at a conference on innovation in Toronto.

"This is a country that to a large degree has been built by newcomers willing to take risks," Nixon said.

Nixon wasn't the only speaker who said that immigration leads to more innovation which benefits the Canadian economy. Louden Owen, managing partner for venture capital firm Mclean Watson Capital, said that immigration is key to making Canada competitive on the world stage.

"I absolutely believe that ongoing immigration is going to turbo-charge this economy going forward," Owen stated.

Owen also said that immigrants bring fresh ideas from their home countries and are more inclined to work hard to succeed.

Canada has historically benefited from immigration, much like its neighbor to the south, the United States.

The Canada skilled immigration program grants permanent residence to those who gain enough points under the skilled worker programe. You gain points based on your skills, qualifications, work experience, etc. In comparison it is normally a lot more difficult for highly skilled workers to gain a green card for the US.

Because of this vital difference Canada has easier access to new immigrants who are an important source of new ideas which leads to greater innovation in Canada.

"This is a country that to a large degree has been built by newcomers willing to take risks," Nixon stated.

Australian skilled immigration attracts skilled workers in the IT, Accountancy and Nurses sectors

The top three skilled worker occupations who came under all the permanent skilled immigration visa programs in 2009-10 are Accountants, IT workers, and nurses.

According to the Report on Migration Program 2009-10, over 60 percent of skilled immigrants were applicants in categories targeted by the government as experiencing skills shortages, a 12 percent increase on the previous year.

Skilled immigrants made up 107,868 of the 168,623 people who were granted Australian residency, 64 percent of the total under the migration program.

Across all permanent skilled visa categories, accountants topped the list of occupations at 6,734. Computing professionals followed close behind at 5,370, followed by nurses at 3,960.

The top three countries of citizenship for all permanent skilled visa categories were the United Kingdom (18,487), India (18,042), and China (14,505).

Due to the economic slowdown a few year ago the government took steps to reduce the level of skilled immigration into Australia; However, the country still relies heavily on foreign-born labor to deal with shortages in its labor markets.

In fact, the proportion of overseas workers sponsored by Australian employers continued to rise, making up 38 percent of the 2009-10 skilled immigration intake.

"This outcome is consistent with the government's focus on high-demand, employer-sponsored professionals in areas where Australia has critical skill shortages," said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

"The program met the government's objective of sharpening the focus on skilled migration and targeting the needs of Australian industries and employers," Bowen added.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

UK Visa fees to go up again from 1 November 2010

There will be further fee increase in UK Government visa fees from next week on 1 November 2010. This was announced by Damian Green in September 2010.

Some of the fee increases are detailed below:
  • Tier 1 visa applications – From £735 to £780
  • Tier 2 visa applications – From £270 to £350
  • UK Settlement Visa - From £644 to £750
  • Naturalisation - From £735 to £780
The UK Government's impact assessment states the following:

"New government proposals to limit net migration and the economic circumstances means that it is harder to predict the numbers of migrants that will come to the UK. Continuing to offer these fees at current levels carries an increased risk that the UK Border Agency may not recover its costs, thereby increasing the burden on the UK taxpayer."

UK Visa fees keep on going up and up. UK Government policy means that there are fewer immigrants available to fund the immigration system. It also means that the Government needs to charge more money to each migrant to pay for the immigration system. Many groups including the Joint Council for the Welfare of immigrants have criticised these further increases in UK visa fees.

Western Australia needs skilled migrants for next mining boom

The Western Australia (WA) Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) says that the Australian government must increase skilled immigration so that WA can cope with labour demand in the next mining boom.

According to a report by a leading Australian economic consulting firm, Western Australia will lead the nation in output growth for 2010 and beyond. It is also expected that the Western Australian economy will continue to grow in the next financial year.

"With the WA economy expected to return to very strong growth, labour shortages will once again be a problem for local businesses here in WA," said CCI's Dana Mason.

"CCI's predicting we'll need an additional 500,000 workers here in the state over the next ten years but we're likely to fall well short of this number," she added.

Without these additional overseas workers, Mason says the cost of doing business will increase and inflation will rise.

Australia depends heavily on skilled migration to deal with skills shortages. Australia has a points-based immigration system called the General Skilled Migration program which has proved very popular and has influenced the immigration programs of other countries such as the United Kingdom points based system.

Employers can also apply under various employment-based immigration schemes which allow them to sponsor temporary foreign workers.

Canada: Immigrants facing citizenship delays

Immigrants in Canada are waiting from 15 to 19 months to have their Canadian citizenship applications approved due to a large backlog of applications.

In 2009, changes to the Immigration Act meant that more people were eligible for citizenship, leading to an increase in citizenship applications.

"Really it's just a question of enough resources to process all the applications we receive," said Citizenship and Immigration Canada operations manager Paul Snow in an interview with CBS News.

"Citizenship and Immigration as a department has a fixed amount of resources and we're facing increasing applications in all of our program areas," he added.

Immigration and Naturalization fees are an important source of funding for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Many nationality applicants are unhappy with the processing delays. This could put off prospective migrants in future.

"I don't think this is a good way of welcoming our fellow Canadian citizens-to-be, considering the fact that they pay all kinds of taxes," said Edward Chung, president of the Korean Association of Prince Edward Island.

"One particular member of my association, it took her two years and I find this to be extremely long," he added.

This year Canada has been struggling with an increasing backlog of immigration Applications. One reason for this is because Canada has become more and more popular with skilled workers wishing to live and work abroad.

To obtain Canadian citizenship, an applicant must have been a permanent resident for at least two years and have lived in Canada at least three of the four years preceding an application. In addition, applicants, amongst other requirements, must be able to show knowledge of English and/or French.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

IELTS review dates in November

IELTS Review dates in November 2010:

8,9,10,11,12 Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
13,14,20,21,27 Sat/Sun 9am-4pm
15,16,17,18,19 Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
22,23,24,25,26 Monday-Friday 9am-4pm

IELTS is needed for every UK, Canadian,
Australian and New Zealand programme

*Please contact us for more details:*

Sunday, October 24, 2010

EU MEPs back single immigration work and residence permit

The European Union Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (CLC) is backing a single permit directive which will allow citizens of non-EU countries obtain a work and residence permit through a "one-stop shop". The CLC directive is in keeping with the European Union's proposed single permit blue card immigration scheme for the European Union.

Non-EU citizens living and working in a European country under this directive will be allowed to travel freely between member states and will give them equal rights to EU nationals in many areas. The equality measures cover pay, working hours, social security, etc.

The European Union member state will have the right to decide whether an application for a single permit should be lodged in a non-EU country or within the member state. If the application is not lodged in a non-EU country, employers will be required to apply for the worker's permit.

The CLC directive coincides with the European Union's proposed blue card immigration scheme, a single EU permit with some similarities to the United States green card. The US Green Card is a permanent visa; The EU Blue Card in comparison is a termporary visa.

The EU blue card would allow non-EU citizens to live and work in the European Union, with the ability, after a certain period of time, to take a job in another member state. Blue card visa holders will also be allowed to bring immediate family members with them. It remains to be seen how successful the EU Blue Card will be in practice. If it proves to be too difficult to come under the EU Blue Card scheme it may have limited success.

UK faces legal challenges in implementing migration cap

A high court challenge is likely to cause problems for the UK's plans to implement a cap on immigration into the country.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and a number of businesses that depend on skilled immigration to deal with skill shortages have brought a judicial review of the government's temporary cap on immigration. The cap was imposed on 28 June 2010.

The JCWI says that the cap is unlawful because ministers did not seek proper parliamentary approval before introducing the immigration cap. If the immigration cap was debated in Parliament beforehand there would have been an opportunity for MPs to consider in detail what would be the appropriate limit on skilled and highly skilled visas.

According to the Government, the temporary immigration cap was implemented to prevent a large influx of Tier 1 (highly skilled migration) and Tier 2 (skilled migration) visa applications from migrants originating from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area. The temporary immigration cap reduces overall skilled immigration by a relatively modest five percent. The surge is expected because the Government plans to implement a permanent cap on immigration in April next year.

However, the Government is facing criticism as the immigration cap is damaging to UK business and so to the UK's global competitiveness. Startup companies, major research positions, and other highly skilled endeavors are well-represented by foreign-born members of society in many industrialized nations. The immigration cap has so far affected Tier 2 visa applications more than Tier 1 visa applications. Some businesses have been left in a situation where they are unable to sponsor anyone at all on a Tier 2 visa.

Liberal Democrat business secretary Vince Cable complained publicly that the temporary cap was damaging British industry. According to the Guardian, he is optimistic that the immigration cap will not last.

Canada: Immigrants can boost innovation

According to a new study by the Conference Board of Canada (CBC), immigrants can help boost innovation in Canada, which is currently lagging behind other developed nations.

"Immigrants tend to be motivated individuals willing to take risks in search of greater opportunities, which should predispose them to be innovative," said Diana MacKay, Director, Education and Health. "At every level we examined—individual, organizational, national and global—immigrants were associated with increased innovation in Canada."

The CBC says that Canada is consistently ranked 14 out of 17 industrialized nations in its capacity to innovate. In it's report, Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada's Global Competitiveness, the CBC used various criteria to show that countries benefit by encouraging immigration.

The report found that at least 35 percent of Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born, even though immigrants only make up one-fifth of the population. In addition, immigrants win proportionally more literary and performing arts awards in Canada than native born Canadians.
Immigration also leads to an increase in trade between Canada and the immigrants' countries of origin. According to the CBC report, a one percent point increase in the number of immigrants to Canada can increase the value of imports into Canada by as much as 0.21 percent and raise the value of exports by 0.11 percent.

Foreign direct investment in Canada is also greater from countries who are well-represented in Canada's immigrant population, according to data compiled by the CBC from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

The study suggests that employers should make hiring, integrating, and retaining immigrant workers part of their overall strategy to increase innovation; Immigrants should be hired at every level of the company, including in leadership positions. Immigrant workers should also be encouraged to come up with new ideas that may help their employer.

UK Immigration Cap may harm UK Research

There is continuing opposition against the UK immigration cap brought in by the David Cameron Conservative Liberal Coalition Government. There are concerns that the annual immigration limit which largely affects applications under the Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa scheme will cause serious problems for UK science and industry.

Eight Nobel prize winning scientists in the UK have expressed concerns over the immigration cap in a letter to "The Times". This include two Russian born scientists Professor Andre Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov. Another scientist Venkatraman Ramakrishnan who was born in Tamil Nadu and who won the Nobel prize for chemistry also opposes the cap.

The eight Nobel laureates had the following to say in their letter:

"It is a sad reflection of our priorities as a nation if we cannot afford the same recognition for elite scientists and engineers as Premier League footballers".

"International collaborations underlie 40% of the UK's scientific output, but would become far more difficult if we were to constrict our borders.

"The UK produces nearly 10% of the world's scientific output with only 1% of its population; we punch above our weight because we can engage with excellence wherever it occurs.

"The UK must not isolate itself from the increasingly globalised world of research - British science depends on it."

One of Sir Harry Kroto's researchers has been refused a visa. Sir Harry is another winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and had the following to say to BBC Radio 4's Today programme:

"The UK loses out and in the future we can see the UK can only survive on its intellectual property, rather than as a country that provides things, with countries like India and China providing things more cheaply, so we need to look at that."

"If one looks over the years, one quarter of the Nobel Prizes that came to the UK were won by immigrants from outside. It's probably very unwise to not look very carefully at the scientists, engineers and technologists who could come to this country and give this country the extra support it needs to compete in the future."

The Coalition Government's immigration cap remains highly controversial. The temporary immigration cap means that 24,100 non-EU immigrants will be allowed into the UK under visa categories such as the Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa schemes until April 2011 when the permanent immigration cap will be introduced. Many Universities will now only be allowed to bring in a small number of overseas workers.