Wednesday, February 29, 2012

EU leaders call for more immigration and open markets to increase economic growth

A dozen European Union leaders, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron, are pushing for greater "labour mobility" within the EU to stimulate job growth and help the economy.

The letter detailing their requests was sent to EU leaders Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso this week, as Eurozone finance ministers met to approve the £110 bailout package for Greece.

The letter is signed by the leaders of the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The leaders want immigrants to settle where there are jobs amid high unemployment rates across the continent.

The leaders claim that pension law is making it difficult for individuals to immigrate and accept jobs in another EU country, because, currently, employees often lose their pension rights when they try to switch companies and move abroad.

"We need decisive action to deliver open global markets," the letter said, urging the EU, which negotiates trade deals on behalf of all 27 countries, to launch trade talks with Japan and China. It also added that free-trade deals that the EU is negotiating with India, Canada and Asian economies could add 90 billion euros to the EU's gross domestic product.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of study and immigration programs. Please visis our programs page for more information:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Calls for all Australian visa applicants to have health insurance

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is requesting that health insurance become mandatory for all Australian visa applicants. The request was made by vice president of the Victorian branch of the AMA, Stephen Parnis, following recent figures released by the AMA that shows the number of immigrants treated in the Victoria's public hospitals have tripled in the last six years.

The report stated that from 30 June 2010 to 30 June 2011, there were over 30,000 patients treated at Victorian hospitals who were not Australian citizens. Parnis' fear is that the increase may be due to growth in "medical tourism" wherein individuals travel to a foreign country for a medical procedure. The concern is that as not all Australian visa applicants are required to have medical insurance, some patients may leave the country without paying their bills.

Currently, individuals on student visas and skilled workers and their dependents on 457 subclass visas are required to have health insurance as part of their entry conditions. It is not a requirement for Australian tourist visa applicants to have proof of health insurance. However, forcing visit visa holders to have medical insurance may put off people from visiting Australia and have a detrimental effect on the tourist industry.

Parnis' says that requiring health insurance for all visa categories would be a positive step for the medical industry.

"If people have the means to come to Australia on an international holiday they should have the means to make allowance for their own healthcare," said Parnis.

Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with several countries including the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Italy, wherein citizens of these countries can access medical care in Australia in the same way as permanent residents. Although it is important to note, according to the report, most international patients seeking medical care in Australia were not from countries that fall under this agreement.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more information:

Monday, February 27, 2012

UK Border Agency to be split into two separate immigration agencies

UK Home Secretary, Theresa May, announced this week that the UK's immigration Border Agencies will split in two after it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of people had passed through UK borders without having visas or passports checked. May released a statement to the House of Lords this week stating that the UK Border Agency and the UK Border Force are to cut all ties as the latter needs a complete management overhaul.

The revised UK Border Force will be led by Wiltshire Chief Constable Brian Moore and will have a different "ethos" concerning immigration enforcement compared with that of the UK Border Agency. Many of these changes are a result of last year's relaxed UK visa and passport checks that were carried out without ministerial permission.

The UK Border Agency is responsible for securing the UK border at air, rail and sea ports. They also are in charge of issuing all categories of UK visas including Tier 2 visas, Tier 1 visas, Tier 4 student visas, marriage and family related visas. It is not clear, yet, how the appropriate duties of immigration control will be broken up between the two immigration agencies.

John Vine, the independent chief inspector of the UKBA, issued a report detailing his findings that revealed that sweeping changes would need to be made in order to improve UK Border Security. He recommended several changes that needed to be implemented in order to improve UK border security, including splitting up the agencies.

"The Vine report makes a series of recommendations about how to improve the operation at the border, and I accept them all," said May. "The Border Force needs a whole new management culture. There is no getting away from the fact that UKBA, of which the Border Force is part, has been a troubled organisation since it was founded in 2008."

On the splitting up of UKBA, May said that "the extent of the transformational change required - in the agency's case working functions and in the Border Force - is too great for one organisation".

The UK Border Force would be split off from its parent, the UK Border Agency, beginning 1 March 2012 and "will become a separate operational command, with its own ethos of law enforcement, led by its own director general, and accountable directly to ministers".

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information:


Friday, February 24, 2012

Canada: changes expected to the Federal Skilled Worker Program

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) recently announced they are consulting with relevant stakeholders about changing various aspects of the Federal Skilled Worker Program. CIC is considering changing the number of points awarded in three of the six selection factors. CIC is also proposing changes to educational requirements and stricter rules for assessing the validity of Canadian job offers. According to CIC, these suggested changes are meant to reflect the current needs of the Canadian economy and enable immigrants to better integrate into the Canadian economy.

Points Changes in Selection Factors
Applicants will still be required to attain at least 67 points out of 100, in addition to meeting eligibility requirements, in order to qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. CIC is proposing to change the maximum number of points applicants can receive in the following three selection factors: language, age, and work experience. Currently, applicants can receive a maximum of 24 points for their first and second official Canadian language, a maximum of 10 points for age if an applicant is between the ages of 21 and 49, and a maximum of 21 points for paid skilled work experience within the past 10 years.

i. Language
One proposed change would increase the number of points applicants can receive for a first official Canadian language (English or French) to 20 points, rather than the current 16. CIC is also considering establishing minimum language requirements for certain occupational skill levels. A higher minimum language requirement would be required for applicants with work experience in professional occupations, such as doctors, nurses, and engineers. Applicants with work experience in skilled trades would have a lower minimum language requirement.

ii. Age
CIC is proposing to increase the number of points in the age factor from 10 to a maximum of 12 points. Rather than maximum points being awarded until age 49, the suggested change will only allow applicants to gain maximum age points until the age of 35.

iii. Work Experience
CIC is proposing to lower the maximum points for work experience from 21 to 15 points and increase the years of experience required to obtain maximum points. CIC has noted that foreign work experience is not a strong indicator of success in the Canadian labour market and the additional points would be more beneficial in the language and age factor.

Other proposed changes
In order to make the Federal Skilled Worker Program more accessible to applicants with trade skills, CIC is proposing to reduce the number of years associated with education for those with a trade or non-university certificate. Currently, applicants who have a one year trade diploma must have also completed 13 years of full-time education in order to claim maximum points for that diploma under the education factor. Applicants who have a two year trade diploma must have completed 14 years and those with a three year trade diploma must have completed 15 years of education. If the proposed change is accepted, applicants with trade diplomas would be able to claim maximum points for their education with fewer years of full-time education.

CIC is also considering requiring applicants to prove their credentials are recognized by the appropriate Canadian authorities if their profession is regulated in Canada. For example, engineering is a regulated profession in Canada. Under the proposed change, any applicant who has work experience as an engineer would be required to have their credentials recognized by a Canadian professional licensing body before they submit their application for Canadian permanent residency.

Finally, CIC is proposing to establish clearer regulations for assessing employers and assessing whether a job offer is genuine. The Arranged Employment factor is an important aspect of the Federal Skilled Worker Program and CIC has noted that applicants who have Arranged Employment fare better upon arrival in Canada compared to those who do not have Arranged Employment. There have been numerous cases of fraudulent job offers from employers looking to exploit immigrants for money. With clearer guidelines for assessing job offers and employers, CIC is hoping to deter potential fraud.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Health care workers in demand in Australia - Immigrate under general skilled migration

Health care and social assistance workers are increasingly needed in Australia. The health care industry is one of Australia's largest industries and employs approximately 1.2 million people, accounting for around 11 percent of the total Australian workforce.

The health care and social assistance industry has a large number of older workers, with nearly half of its workforce aged 45 years or older. This means many of these workers are likely to retire in the next decade or two, leaving Australia needing even more workers to fill labour shortages. The strong employment growth of recent years is also expected to continue resulting in even more labour shortages.

Many health care and social assistance workers are highly educated, with 77 percent of workers holding a post-school qualification compared to 61 percent for the Australian workforce as a whole. According to statistics, 25 percent of care workers in 2007 were immigrants. It is estimated that due to an aging workforce in this industry, the skill shortages will continue to grow and Australia will continue to need more health care workers.

The majority of vacancies in the health care and social assistance industry workforce are for nurses and doctors. Also community and personal service workers such as carers and nursing support workers are very much needed in the health care industry.

If you are interested in Australian immigration you may wish to consider the General Skilled Migration (GSM) Program. You will need to meet the basic requirements for GSM, pass the Australian immigration Points Test and pass an occupation skills assessment to qualify for an Australian visa.

GSM is for professionals and other skilled migrants who have skills in particular occupations required in Australia and who are not sponsored by an employer. Australian Immigration has a Skilled Occupation List (SOL); In order to qualify for skilled migration to Australia, you must nominate an occupation from the SOL. Occupations in the health care and social assistance workers include: registered nurses, and welfare centre managers, and general medical practitioners.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please visit out Australian page for more information:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

US immigration program allows immigrants to check their employment eligibility status

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced this week that Self Check, a free online service which is part of the E-Verify system and allows workers to check their own employment eligibility status, is now available in all 50 states. Along with all 50 states, it is also available in Washington, D.C., and the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

The Self Check program was initially launched in March 2011 by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas. Over the past year, it has expanded to become available in the entire US. The government completed their national expansion of the program one month earlier than planned; They originally estimated it would be available in all 50 states only by March 2012.

"We are pleased to complete, ahead of schedule, our expansion of this important tool for employees," said Mayorkas. "Since our initial launch in March, approximately 67,000 people have used Self Check and we anticipate that participation will dramatically increase with service now available to individuals across the country."

Self Check was created so immigrants could check their own employment eligibility status. Additionally, the program gives guidance on how to correct your DHS and Social Security records. The program, which is available in English and Spanish, requires the following information to verify your status:

  • Your name, date of birth, and address.
  • You will need to answer demographic and/or financial related questions. These questions could include information about past addresses, banks that you may have had dealings with, etc. This information is needed before you can continue with the Self Check process. The government will not keep records of which questions were asked or how these questions were answered.
  • Information that will prove your eligibility to work in the United States. This will include your Social Security number and, based on your citizenship status and documentation, information such as your Alien Registration Number, document number, or I-94 Number.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of USA programs. Please visit our USA page for more information:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

UK immigration announces new post-study work visa for entrepreneurial students

UK immigration has announced new measures to make it easier for foreign students who have shown entrepreneurial flair while studying for their UK university degrees to remain in the UK following graduation.

The new measures, announced by Immigration Minister Damian Green, are to be brought in to address the criticism that was received following the decision to close the post-study work visa route. The Tier 1 Post-study Work Visa, which allows graduates to work in the UK for two years after the completion of their course will no longer be available from April 2012. However, very few people will qualify for the new Tier 1 Post Study Entrepreneur Visa.

This new visa program would be offered to students who have engaged in innovative entrepreneurial activity during their studies and will enable them to stay in the UK following their graduation to develop their business ideas. The new visa route will open in April 2013.

"Now that we have moved away from the old model of mass unselective immigration we can develop the system further to encourage the brightest and best to come here," said Green.

Students who have developed a business idea under supervision at a UK university, can apply for the new visa as long as they are sponsored by their university. It would be introduced as a one year visa and could be extended for a maximum of two years.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in the UK. Please visit our UK page for more information:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Australian universities sign up for streamlined visa applications for students

Many Australian universities have agreed to sign up for the new streamlined student visa processing system. The system will allow students with certificates of enrolment from participating Australian universities to be treated as low-risk applicants when applying for student visas.

This means that for participating universities, the majority of their students will have their visa applications processed quickly. Also, student visa applicants applying under the proposed streamlined arrangements will generally have reduced documentation requirements.

Yesterday was the deadline for universities to decide whether or not to opt in. Many of Australia's universities have opted in for the streamlined visa process, but it is understood some are seeking extensions of time to decide on this. Universities Australia and the Immigration Department agreed to the guidelines. Universities Australia is a body that represents the public interest of Australia's universities both nationally and internationally.

The changes, recommended by last year's Knight review of Australia's student immigration rules, put more responsibility on universities to use high quality recruiting agents and ensure students have appropriate levels of English and sufficient financial resources to support themselves.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more information:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Canada increases funding to attract international students to Nova Scotia

The Canadian government has announced funding for an organization that works to attract international students to immigrate to Nova Scotia.

The federal agency, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), promised $185,000 in funding for EduNova, a non-profit organization that advertises Nova Scotia's educational and training programs to encourage international students to immigrate to Canada. Last year, ACOA invested $215,000 in the organization.

"Let's be clear, the work of attracting international students is highly competitive," Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State said. "This investment will assist EduNova's work in researching and developing international markets, offering familiarization tours to interested students and carrying out the Student Pathways initiative, which assists international students in their transition to Nova Scotia."

Currently, EduNova has 29 universities, colleges, school boards and private companies as members. In addition to attracting international students to immigrate to Nova Scotia, the organization also brings in educational and professional expertise to Nova Scotia from other countries.

Since EduNova was established about seven years ago, the number of international students in Nova Scotia has grown to 7,500 from about 5,000, according to Ava Czapalay, president and CEO of EduNova.

The organization looks to attract students from places like Japan, Korea, the Middle East, Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela "where the students would typically travel for international studies."
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programmes in Canada. Please check our Canadian page for more information:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

UK immigration wants "brightest and best" immigrants

UK immigration Minister Damian Green announced this week that the UK would be bringing in a more selective immigration policy that encourages the "brightest and best" to come to the UK.

Specifically, Green said that the UK wants immigrants who can "benefit Britain". He committed to continue with more reforms that he says will result in an immigration system that he says will better meet the needs of the UK.

The new immigration system brought in by the Coalition Government in 2010 has been heavily criticised for being too inflexible and in reality doing more harm than good. Many would argue that the new immigration system is bad in the long term for the UK economy.

"We need to know not just that the right number of people are coming here, but that the right people are coming here. We have laid the foundations for a sustainable system where we get numbers down and keep them down. Now we shall make it work for Britain," said Green.

UK immigration will soon be announcing further changes to family migration routes and changes to the requirements for settlement. He said the immigration department will also continue to take steps to curb abuse of the Tier 4 student visa route. There have been changes to Tier 1 visas; Tier 1 General has been replaced by Tier 1 Exceptional Talent that hardly anyone qualifies for.

The changes would also make it more difficult for those living in the UK on work visas to qualify for UK permanent residence.

"You have to show genuine serious usefulness to British society. What we are saying is: if you are a particularly exceptional person we will make it easy for you to come here in the first place and we will allow you to stay for a certain amount of time and in some categories we will make it easier for you to stay here," Green added.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants disagreed with the reforms, saying they are a "hammer blow to the human rights of cross border partners and their families". Chief executive Habib Rahman stated that immigrants already have to abide by language requirements and increased visa fees, and now they will face even more restrictive immigration rules.

Study Migrate offers a variety of programmes in UK. Please visit our UK page for more information:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Australia experiencing shortage of hospitality and tourism workers

Australia is looking for immigrants to come work in their hospitality and tourism industry. These industries are short staffed; The Australian Government needs to attract 36,000 cooks, waiters, and bartenders as soon as possible.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen confirmed the government is also looking for another 56,000 hospitality workers to immigrate to Australia by 2015. Experts say high-paying mining jobs are luring away Australian workers from the retail, hospitality, and tourism industry.

"Tourism injects around $35 billion a year into the Australian economy and the Government is acting to ensure labour and skills issues impacting on the tourism industry's competitiveness are addressed under the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy, Tourism 2020," said Australian Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson.

In attempts to reduce industry shortages of skilled workers, the Australian Government has announced a new proposed template labour agreement. The agreement would allow employers to employ foreigners in Australia in many different positions in the hospitality and tourism industry including as waiters, chefs, bar attendants, and hotel managers.

A template labour agreement is an agreement between the Australian government and employers which allows them to employ foreign workers in Australia to fill skills shortages. In this case, a template labour agreement would allow employers to nominate workers in the hospitality industry for the 457 visa even if their occupations are not listed on the approved occupation list for the 457 visa.

"Approved employers could nominate workers for temporary skilled subclass 457 visas using the template, enabling workers to be granted visas where they meet the requirements," he said. "Of course, employers would need to show they are doing their best to employ and train domestic workers and paying market rates."

Those interested in immigrating to Australia for tourism, hospitality, or retail positions can apply under the Australian 457 visa program, a temporary business visa which allows employers to sponsor overseas workers.

The template labour agreement, which would address skill shortages in the hospitality industry, is now open for public comment until 16 March 2012.

Study Migrate offers a variety of programmes in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more information:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

New Kansas program would help undocumented immigrants in the US

A group of Kansas businesses in the US proposes a new program to help undocumented immigrants to be able to stay in the state so they can work in agriculture and in other industries with labour shortages.

The business coalition consists of representatives from various agriculture groups and the Kansas Chamber of Commerce. The coalition's draft bill explained the details of its proposal which would create a group of immigrant workers that businesses could use after the state certifies a labor shortage in their industries.

Specifically, the proposed program would be for undocumented immigrants who have been in the US at least five years and who have no criminal record. Eligible applicants would also have to demonstrate English proficiency. According to the proposal, Kansas would accept requests from undocumented immigrants, which the federal government would then authorize to continue working in the US. The federal government would in effect allow immigrants who are in the US illegally to work in the US.

Businesses would have to pay a fee of up to USD$5,000, plus an additional USD$200 for each worker, to receive workers from the labor pool. They would also have to follow federal labor standards. According to the coalition, money raised by the fees would go to community groups to help finance English lessons, immunizations and other services.

Critics believe the proposed bill would be unsuccessful and would, essentially, grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Legislators opposed to the proposed bill are currently pushing for a number of different proposals that would instead crack down on illegal immigration.

Global Visa Support offers various US programs. Please visit our USA page for more information:


Monday, February 13, 2012

UK immigration rushes to implement e-gates for quicker immigration checks in time for Olympics

UK Immigration is pushing to install facial recognition technology at London's Heathrow airport for the Olympics. UK Border Agency (UKBA) originally planned to install facial recognition technology in all five of its terminals in time for the Olympics but there have been several delays in getting the system up and running.

Last July, UKBA received approval to install e-gates facial recognition technology at Heathrow airport that allows registered non-EU nationals to use electronic self-service immigration controls.

However, Heathrow officials have said that the roll out is being delayed while UK immigration completes an investigation into last year's unauthorized relaxation of immigration checks.

"BAA has installed new automated immigration clearance gates at all Heathrow terminals to improve queuing times for passengers. UKBA is responsible for border security and has been working to bring these new gates online but has paused this process while it completes internal investigations," said a spokeswoman for BAA, the company that owns London Heathrow airport.

The continuing investigation into the relaxed border checks has taken up a lot of time and resources at UKBA. Therefore the agency has not had enough time to finish building their security database of travellers that have registered to use the system. The e-gate technology is designed to allow registered non-EU passengers faster entry to the UK through the use of automated self-service immigration points at certain airports. The system uses facial recognition technology to compare a person's face to the photograph recorded on the chip in their passport.

"Our responsibility is to secure the border at all times and we will ensure sufficient resources and technology are put in place to meet the extra demand during the Olympics period," said a spokesman for UKBA.

The UK has begun processing Visitor visas for the 2012 London Olympics. We advise you to apply as soon as possible so that UK immigration officials have plenty of time to process your application. You will normally then be issued with a UK visitor visa with a start date that will cover you for the whole Olympic and Paralympic Games period. Once you receive your UK visitor visa, you can then travel to the UK for the Games.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of UK programs. Please visit our UK page for more information:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Canadian Immigration's Provincial Nominee Program is successful for immigrants

A new report has found that Canadian Immigration's Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) has been successful in attracting immigrants to Canada's provinces and territories.

The PNP, after the Federal Skilled Worker Program is Canada's second largest economic immigration program. The program allows immigrants with skill sets that Canadian provinces deem desirable, or individuals most likely to invest and create jobs, to have their permanent resident applications fast-tracked. Over 36,000 new permanent resident applications per year are made under the Provincial Nominee Program.

Canadian Immigration's evaluation of the immigration program focused on the economic outcomes and mobility of provincial nominees accepted between 2005 and 2009. The report found that the program is working well, although there are differences in economic outcomes by province or territory.

Ontario could do more to benefit from PNP. Although it's still Canada's top destination for immigrants with nearly 42 percent of all immigrants settling there in 2010.
Between 2005 and 2009, only 1.2 percent of the total number of provincial nominees in Canada emigrated to Ontario.

Ontario Immigration Minister Charles Sousa said the evaluation report "does not fully capture our high retention rates or the high calibre of PNP immigrants coming to Ontario. This is because they used data predominantly from the years before our program was fully up and running." Ontario's PNP officially started in 2007.

"This is just another reason why Ontario needs a stronger say on immigration selection, to ensure we have the right immigration mix that continues to support our economic prosperity," Sousa said.

The program has been very successful in other Canadian provinces:

"PNP has grown a great deal, representing 20 percent of the total economic class immigration in 2009," says the report. "For some provinces, such as Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan, the program is the primary vehicle through which they attract immigrants to their province."

The report found that 80 percent of immigrants under this program are employed in the first year, most of them in their area of expertise. Their average income, depending on province, ranges from $29,600 to $41,700 in the first year, and rises to between $35,200 and $45,100 after three years.

The report also noted that parts of the PNP needed improvement, such as the program application process and better accountability for applicants and their employer. Currently, each province and territory with a PNP is responsible for the design and program requirements for their nominee categories, which must always respect federal immigration regulations. To ensure the program continues to be successful, the report recommends that there be minimum language standards for all PNs and stronger links between PN occupations and specific local labour market needs.

In 2012, Canadian Immigration plans to admit between 42,000 and 45,000 immigrants under the PNP category, including spouses and dependants.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Australian immigration sees increase in 457 visa workers

As Australia's skills shortages worsens, nearly 4,600 foreign workers have found jobs in Queensland, and more employers are set to take advantage of the 457 visa in the coming year. According to Australia's Department of Immigration, the number of foreign workers in Queensland has increased 70 percent on the previous year.

The data also shows that there were 83,290 foreign workers in Australia under the 457 visa scheme which is designed to allow entry of foreign workers to temporarily fill skills gaps.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry general manager Nick Behrens said the immigration increase could also reflect the huge number of resource projects and the demand for high level skills.

"The demand for 457 workers is often because of the disinclination of Australians to travel to the regions," said Behrens. "If an employer needs to source workers overseas, it's because they can't get workers here.''

According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the number of 457 visas granted from July to the end November 2011 was 51.6 percent higher than the same period in 2010.
In Queensland alone, the number of 457 visa workers jumped from 2,890 in 2010, to 4,570 in 2011.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more details:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Australian tourism industry wants easier Australian visa procedures

Following US President Barack Obama's announcement to streamline the processing of US visa applications, the Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) implored Australian immigration to take similar action.

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order stating the US State Department would increase US visas issued to China and Brazil by 40 percent this year.

ATEC chief Felicia Mariani noted that the changes in the US clearly addressed the significance of the tourism industry to the US economy by making it easier to obtain US visit visas. Australia should also make changes that will benefit their tourism sector. The current Australian immigration rules and procedures have a negative affect on the tourism industry.

"He is mandating to his government to get their act together and get these speed humps out of the road," Mariani said. "It's time for Australia to stop talking about how important tourism is to the economy and start taking action in the key areas that will remove the barriers to our performance and success."

A recent study has shown that Chinese tourists spend almost AU$6,000 (£4,000) per person on an average trip to Australia. According to experts, this amount more than justifies making it easier for Chinese tourists to obtain Australian visas.

"Australian tourism needs the same passion, fire and drive at the highest level of our government," added Mariani.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please check our Australian page for more information:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Changes to UK immigration English test for Tier 1, 2, and 4 applicants

Beginning 6 April 2012 the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will require all applicants applying to remain in the UK under Tier 1 (General), Tier 1(Entrepreneur) and Tier 2 of the UK points-based system to have a completed language test prior to applying for a visa.

UK immigration originally allowed applicants to apply before taking the English Language test because the test was not easily available to all applicants. Now the English Language test availability has increased and immigrants should now be able to take the test in enough time submitting their UK visa application.

According to UKBA, applicants applying for leave to remain will continue to be able to take advantage of the concession for visa applications received up to and including 6 April 2012. Visa applications made after 6 April 2012 must be accompanied with evidence that applicants have passed an approved English language test.

In addition UK immigration has released a new list of approved English language test providers for visa applications made under Tiers 1, 2 and 4 of the points-based system.

Effective 24 January 24 2012, the following amendments were made:

  • City & Guilds test scores now show 'pass' and there is a separate English language test for spouse/partner applications. Also the documents required for the application have been amended.
  • Education Testing Service has changed the way that the scores for their TOEFL internet based test compare against the Common European Framework of Reference. Also the test now includes scores for spouse and partner applications.
  • The web address for The Test of English for International Communication has changed.
  • Cambridge ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) have amended the title of one of their tests from 'International Legal English Certificate' to 'Cambridge English Legal'.
  • Trinity College tests now have a 2 year expiry date.

When you lodge an application in a UK immigration category that requires you to demonstrate your English language ability, applicants must show that they have passed an appropriate test on the list.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of UK programs. Please check our UK page for more information:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Canada Immigration plans to introduce changes to immigration system

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced this week that changes are coming to Canada's immigration system soon. According to Kenney, the changes will make the system more flexible in an effort to combat labour shortages.

Kenney said Canadian immigration is planning to change the points system they currently use for selecting immigrants to make it easier for applicants in skilled trades to qualify for Canadian skilled immigration. This means the focus would be on admitting more tradespeople as opposed to just university-educated immigrants like engineers and doctors.

"People who are skilled tradespeople have an almost impossible job of coming to Canada under our current system because the skilled worker program basically selects people with advanced university degrees," Kenney said.

He added that once the government opens up the border to more skilled workers, they can attract "hidden jewels" that can help fill labour shortages.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of Canadian programs. Please check our Canadian page for more information:

Friday, February 3, 2012

US immigration adds more countries to list of eligible applicants for H-2A and H-2B visas

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced last week that there have been five more countries added to the list of eligible nationals who can participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs in 2012. This brings the lists total to 58 countries. The list of Countries will be reviewed again one year from the date of publication.

The H-2A and H-2B programs allow US employers to bring foreign workers to the US in order to fill temporary agricultural jobs and temporary non-agricultural jobs. USCIS generally may only approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries that are designated as eligible to participate in the programs. USCIS may also approve H-2A and H-2B petitions for nationals of countries not on the list if it is determined to be in the interest of the US; this is taken on a case by case basis.

In addition to the 53 countries currently on the list, the following five countries were added for 2012: Haiti, Iceland, Montenegro, Spain and Switzerland.

Effective 18 January 2012, nationals of the following 58 countries are eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B programs: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, New Zealand, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Tonga, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United States of America. Please visit our USA page for more information:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

MPs say relaxed UK border checks pilot program should not be scrapped by immigration officials

A breakdown of communication between immigration officials led to the "lighter touch" UK immigration officers used at passport and visa checks last year, a Parliamentary inquiry consisting of MPs (UK members of parliament) has said. The report published this week by the Commons home affairs committee said that a "highly troubling" lack of supervision led to passport and visa controls being relaxed far too frequently. The relaxed immigration controls led to the dismissal of the UK border force chief, Brodie Clark.

The report states they were "shocked" at the number of times the immigration checks were relaxed. They found the immigration checks had been relaxed for health and safety reasons, to avoid a baggage crisis, because there were excessive queues in the arrivals hall, or to avoid a potential delay in flight schedules. In total, the MPs say that passport and visa checks were waived at least 50 times between May and July last summer at Heathrow and other airports.

However, despite these issues, the committee insisted that the pilot scheme that allowed immigration officials the freedom to make risk-based checks at UK ports "appears to have been a success" and "commends the effort to make a more targeted use of staff in this period of staff reductions". So long as the pilot scheme is not overused like it was in May and July last year, the program could still be put in place for immigration officials to use.

The MPs recommended the communication process between the UK Home Office and UK immigration officials be reformed.

The MPs believe the pilot scheme should not be scrapped saying, "It is important that an evidence-based evaluation of the pilot – and the opportunity to learn important lessons – are not abandoned because of a controversy that is to do with failures of management and communication rather than the pilot itself."

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

US announces easier visa arrangements for foreigners; visa free travel for Taiwan

US President Obama announced yesterday that "America is open for business" and detailed a new approach the country is planning to take in order to make it easier for foreign visitors from certain Countries to travel to the US in an effort to boost tourism and create jobs.

"I want America to be the top tourist destination in the world," said Obama who announced the news at Walt Disney World in Florida, a huge tourist attraction for millions of people each year. "The more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. It is that simple."

President Obama announced US immigration's plan to reduce the time it takes for travelers from China and Brazil to get visas to the US. The US would also eliminate the need for Taiwanese passport holders to get US visas to visit the country. Currently, citizens of 36 countries including the UK, Australia, and New Zealand enjoy visa-free travel to the US.

"We want to welcome you," Obama said from in front of Disney World's Cinderella Castle. "We've got the best product to sell. I mean, look at where we are. We've got the most entertaining destinations in the world. This is the land of extraordinary natural wonders."

US tourism and business sectors have been pleading with the US Immigration department to ease visa restrictions in order to create more jobs and boost tourism in the US. The White House estimated that more than 1 million US jobs could be created in the next decade if the country increased its share of the international travel market.

"The steps the president took today are significant and will boost travel to and within the United States," said Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association. "Most importantly, they will lead to new American jobs and get our economy moving."

Specifically, Obama ordered US immigration to increase visas issued to China and Brazil by 40 percent this year. Additionally, in order to streamline all visa applications, Obama said he wanted to ensure that 80 percent of non-immigrant visa applicants from foreign countries are interviewed within three weeks by US consular staff.

US immigration will also create a pilot program that will allow qualified foreign visitors who a pre-screened with their prior visa to renew their visa without undergoing another interview.
This program would streamline visa processing for certain low-risk applicants.

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