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.