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.