Friday, March 30, 2012

UK immigration outlines new security standards for UK borders


UK Immigration Minister Damien Green announced that there will be specific minimum standards for border checks. This follow concerns last year that UK immigration officers were acting without ministerial approval and allowing people into the UK without proper passport and UK visa checks.

Green said that the correct level of passport and UK visa immigration checks "for every type of passenger and all types of goods" would be detailed with guidance making clear when they could be strengthened in high-risk cases, and the circumstances wherein they could be suspended.

Technology will make UK immigration e-borders "genuinely secure, fluid and complete" over the next few years, Green added. He said that by April 2012, UK immigration will have "advanced sight of details for every passenger on non-EEA (European Economic Area) flights travelling to the UK."

Green stated that "combined with our strict visa regime it means that all non-EEA passengers arriving from outside Europe will have been checked once, and many twice, while they are still thousands of miles from our passport controls."

The £750 million e-borders immigration project was launched by the last Labour government and is designed to collect and store information on all passengers who enter and leave the UK on a single database by 2014 to enable the police and UK immigration officials to check them against watch lists.

Earlier this year the UK Border Force was split from the UK Border Agency to become a separate law-enforcement body.

"The first step in the process to ensuring the Border Force becomes a fully effective law enforcement organisation is to introduce a new operating mandate for the controls it operates at the border," he said.

"There can be no compromises on border security. In a dangerous world, our border is one of our main protections," said Green. "It is about making sure that we are in the right place, at the right time, with the right information to stop the source of the threat before it even reaches our shores."

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

Thursday, March 29, 2012

International Careers Fair in Nova Scotia matches Canadian immigrants with local businesses

Nova Scotia held an International Careers Fair in Halifax on 6 March 2012 that attracted many new immigrants looking for jobs in the province.

Hundreds of job seekers attended the job fair to meet with nearly 80 local businesses to see what job opportunities were available. Nova Scotia held the event to connect skilled immigrants, international graduates, and temporary foreign workers with local businesses.

The province is facing a looming shortage of skilled workers; Connecting immigrants with local companies is becoming increasingly important.

"By 2015, the demand for skilled workers will outstrip the supply," said Elizabeth Mills, executive director of the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration. "Employers need to start now. Immigration is not an instant thing; it doesn't happen overnight. They need workers who have multi-language abilities, workers with networks abroad and cultural and business savvy to do business internationally."

Mills noted that while the local talent pool now meets most employers' needs, the impending labour shortage will require more immigration. She added that hiring newcomers can be beneficial for companies because many immigrants tend to have a tremendous drive to succeed.

"I've heard it said and I see it in their faces: Failure is not an option for them. They come here with great expectations and they invest so much of their own talent, energy and resources," said Mills.

Universities in the province have also helped with the international search for talent.

"Universities in Nova Scotia have taken on a much more aggressive approach to marketing abroad. It's great because those international students who graduate here already have the right credentials employers want," she said.

Many people may not qualify for this program as there are only a limited number of occupations on the occupation list, but if you are interested in immigrating to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker Program eligible applicants must:

  • have a valid offer of arranged employment, OR
  • have the necessary skills and one year of continuous full-time paid work experience in at least one of the occupations on the shortage occupation list, OR
  • be an international student enrolled in a PhD program in Canada (or graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the past 12 months) and meet certain criteria.
Once your application is submitted to Canadian Immigration and Citizenship, it will be processed according to the six selection factors in the skilled worker points grid, which are:

  • your education
  • your abilities in English and/or French
  • your work experience
  • your age
  • whether you have arranged employment in Canada, and
  • your adaptability
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please check our Canadian page for more information:


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

US expands automated immigration kiosks to four more airports

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on 5 March the expansion of the Global Entry program to four additional US airports. Global Entry is a CBP program that allows expedited immigration clearance through automated kiosks for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the US. The program is available to US citizens and US lawful permanent residents, Canadian citizens, pre-approved Mexican nationals, and Dutch citizens.

The Global Entry kiosks will be implemented in the following airports:

  • Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 5 March
  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina on 12 March
  • Denver International Airport in Denver, Colorado on 19 March
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona on 26 March
Once these airports have implemented the Global Entry program, in total, it will be available in 24 US international airports. Pre-approved members are able to participate in the streamlined, automated immigration process and bypass regular passport and visa processing lines. The program currently reduces average wait times by more than 70 percent, with more than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry processed in less than five minutes.

In January, US President Obama signed an Executive Order announcing new initiatives to increase travel and tourism in the US and made the Global Entry pilot program a permanent initiative. Following this new expansion of the program, the expedited clearance through the Global Entry program will be available at airports that serve 97 percent of international travelers arriving in the US.

The Global Entry kiosks work like this: members insert their machine readable passport or lawful permanent resident card into a document reader, provide digital fingerprints for comparison with fingerprints on file, answer customs declaration questions on the kiosk's touch-screen, and then present a confirmation receipt to immigration officers before leaving the inspection area.

In order to be eligible to use the kiosks, travelers must enroll in the Global Entry program. In order to do this applicants must:

  • complete and submit an online application through the program's website.
  • pay a non-refundable USD$100 application fee.
  • CBP will then review the applicant's information, conduct a background investigation, and interview the applicant at one of CBP enrollment centres, which are located at all major airports where the Global Entry program is offered.
Canadian citizens and residents may also participate in Global Entry through membership in the NEXUS program. The Nexus program is available for pre-approved, low-risk travellers into Canada and the US at designated air, land and marine ports of entry. When travelling by air, Nexus expedites border clearance by enabling card holders to enter either country quickly and easily by using self-service kiosks. Passengers holding the Nexus cards will be able to move through expedited screening lines currently offered only on a handful of domestic and international flights.

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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Australian program to help immigrant engineers find jobs

According to Australian-based private educational chain Navitas Workforce Solutions, only one in two overseas-trained engineers can get work in their field. In order to address this issue they have teamed up with Engineers Australia to create a new program focusing not only on aspects of technical training but also workplace culture, communication and job-finding skills for Australian immigrant engineers. Engineers Australia is a national group of more than 85,000 members working in all disciplines of the engineering industry.

Currently, only 50 percent of overseas-born engineers working in Australia are working in their field of expertise, compared to 63 percent of Australian-born engineers, according to Engineers Australia statistics. In 2010 there were around 9,000 foreign-born engineers in Australia, of which about 2,500 are on Australian temporary visas under the General Skilled Migration Program (GSM).

"The key issue people from overseas have is understanding the Australian workplace - what they might expect in the Australian workforce and how best to fit in," said Catherine Chaffey, general manager of Navitas Workforce Solutions.

The program will be available for up to 20 engineers every couple of months. The first course, which ran in Perth in January, had participants from China, Iraq, Pakistan, Columbia, India, the Philippines and the UK. The program is open to all qualified overseas-trained engineers with work rights in Australia including those with permanent residency.

Chaffey said Navitas would consider extending the program to engineers and other occupations elsewhere in Australia so long as there was local demand. She added that Navitas had delivered its professional year programs to over 3000 students, with over 70 percent employed in their fields within six months of completion.

If you would like to apply for an Australian visa and are a qualified engineer you can apply under Australia's GSM program. 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 uses a Skilled Occupation List (SOL) as part of their points system. In order to qualify for skilled migration to Australia, you must nominate an occupation from the SOL.

The following are occupations listed on the SOL for Engineers:

  • Engineering Manager
  • Electrical engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Structural engineer
  • and more

In order to qualify for one of these occupations, applicants must have a level of skill commensurate with a bachelor degree or higher. In some instances relevant experience and/or on-the-job training may be required in addition to the formal qualification. Registration or licensing may also be required.

Before emigrating to Australia as a skilled migrant you need to have your skills assessed by the relevant assessment authority for your occupation. For this occupation you will need to be assessed by Engineers Australia. They assess professional qualifications in engineering for the purposes of skilled migration to Australia.

Once you have your positive assessment letter from Engineers Australia, you can apply for the skilled migration visa electronically and count your assessment points in the points test in order to qualify for the visa.

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

Monday, March 26, 2012

UK Business organisation claims stricter immigration rules are hurting the economy

Following UK Immigration Minister Damian Green's comments that UK companies need to wean themselves off their 'addiction' to hiring overseas workers, UK Business organisation London First reiterated how important skilled immigrant workers are to the UK economy.

Although Green claims that UK Government immigration policies have not discouraged skilled immigrant workers from moving to the UK, some parts of the business community believe that UK immigration policies that lead to a decrease in net migration do exactly that.

Rob McIvor, London First's communications director, said that immigrant workers are particularly important to the London economy.

"They are absolutely essential. The UK and London in particular has always tended to be what the people colloquially call a 'talent hub' in the sense that you get an awful lot of international businesses that will locate their headquarters or biggest operations in London and they need to bring in people from around the world as needs dictate," he said. "London tends to be the base for that activity and that's what drives the UK economy."

Green said in a recent interview that the UK continues to welcome skilled and talented migrant workers "with open arms", but critics are concerned that the overall UK Government message is being perceived as less than welcoming to future UK immigrants.

"From a business perspective we're concerned about a couple of things. One, is the message that is being received, which may not be the message being sent, particularly on the Indian sub-continent, Asia and so on, is that Britain is not particularly welcoming of non-EU migrants," said McIvor.

"There's this perception that we're closed for business and if you compound that with some of the challenges we have, in particular the high rate of tax, it tends to put off the kind of highly skilled, talented people that we rather need as we start to pull out of the economic downturn," he added. "It's all about perception, we clearly understand what he (Green) is saying, and it's more the perception abroad rather than the reality which is causing the problem."

McIvor did appreciate some of the changes UK immigration was making: "To give the government credit it has made a start and they are doings things like simplifying the visa application process which I think would help a great deal."

Many skilled workers come to the UK under the Tier 2 visa. The Tier 2 visa allows workers from outside the European Economic Area to work in the UK. All workers under this category must be in possession of a UK job offer and fulfill other requirements. There are 4 different Tier 2 visa categories you may come under:

  • General: for people coming to the UK with a job offer to fill a gap that cannot be filled by a settled worker which may or may not be on the Shortage Occupation List.
  • Intra-Company Transfers: for employees of multi-national companies who are being transferred by an overseas employer to a skilled job in a UK-based branch of the organisation.
  • Sports People: for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport at the highest level.
  • Ministers of Religion: for those people coming to fill a vacancy as a Minister of Religion, Missionary or Member of a Religious Order.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programmes in United Kingdom. Please see our UK page for more information:


Friday, March 23, 2012

UK Union argue new Tier 5 visa rules could increase abuse of domestic workers

Unite the Union, Britain's biggest worker's union, has urged UK immigration to drop reforms of Tier 5 domestic worker visas that were announced by the Home Office on 29 February. They claim that such changes will disadvantage migrant domestic workers as they may become trapped working for abusive employers.

According to a consensus forged across the political parties in 1998, it was agreed that migrant domestic workers should be allowed to leave their employer and work for a new employer in the UK. But now, under the new immigration rules, domestic workers on Tier 5 visas can stay a maximum of 5 years with no ability to change employers or to settle.

"These changes will consign migrant domestic workers to a life of abuse at the hands of their employer and force them to suffer in silence with no hope of justice. We do not need to re-learn the lessons that prompted political parties to come together fourteen years ago and protect domestic workers," said Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland. "We urge the government to drop these changes and recognise that turning the clock back will only serve to trap vulnerable workers in abusive employment."

Unite also expressed their plans to join forces with Justice 4 Domestic Workers, the TUC (an umbrella organisation representing most UK trade unions), Kalayaan organization, Anti-Slavery International in order to organize a campaign against controversial changes to Tier 5 domestic worker visas.

Research conducted by Kalayaan, a UK charity that provides advice, advocacy and support services in the UK for overseas domestic workers, found that of the 326 people who had registered with them in 2011, 54 percent experienced psychological abuse, 18 percent physical abuse and 7 percent sexual abuse.

Kalayaan claimed that the immigration changes for the Tier 5 visa "take us back 15 years to the days that domestic workers were deported for experiencing abuse".

"The changes would mean that any domestic workers able to escape abuse will immediately lose their right to reside in the UK, therefore greatly reduce the likelihood that they would seek help from the authorities for fear of being deported," said Kalayann in a recent statement.

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


Thursday, March 22, 2012

US manufacturers look to fill skills shortages with immigrant workers

US manufacturers are experiencing a shortage of skilled American factory workers and, in turn, have been going abroad to find workers to immigrate to the US.

Following a recent increase in factory business, there has been a growing demand for machinists, tool and die makers, computer-controlled machine programmers and operators.

"These jobs are the backbone of manufacturing," said Gardner Carrick, senior director with the Manufacturing Institute. "These are good quality middle-class jobs that Americans should be training for."

James Wall, deputy director of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills sympathized with Carrick adding that the US is experiencing a steady decrease of manufacturing talent and said "It's been in the making for years."

Unfortunately the US visa system makes it difficult to bring in factory workers from abroad. Typically, visas are only available for professional and management level staff. For example the popular H-1B visa normally requires you to work in a specialty occupation and have at least a bachelors degree.

It is likely that the only suitable positions in a factory that meets the requirements for an H-1B visa are professional graduate level engineers, IT staff, management level staff and other high level staff. It may be worth considering the H-2B visa which are available for any type of non-agricultural occupation as long as there is a proven shortage; However, the H-2B visa is difficult to obtain and is granted for a maximum period of one year at a time.

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


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Australian immigration announces changes to the permanent employer-sponsored visa program

Australian Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Bowen has announced significant changes to simplify the process for the permanent employer-sponsored visa program.

changes will affect the following visas:

  • Employer Nomination Scheme visa Subclasses 856 and 121
  • Regional Skilled Migration Scheme visa Subclasses 857 and 119
  • Labour Agreement visa Subclasses 855 and 120
The Australian government will create a "fast-tracked" path from temporary skilled 457 visa-holder to permanent resident under the employer-sponsored visa system. Additionally, the current six permanent employer-sponsored immigration visas will be replaced by two new visas: Employer Nomination Scheme (subclass 186) and Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (subclass 187). Bowen said this change would make it easier for businesses and potential immigrants to "navigate" the immigration system.

Among the changes, Bowen said the immigration department will remove the language testing requirement for existing 457 visa holders who apply for residency and will also increase the upper age limit from 45 to 50 for permanent residence applications.

"We know these workers can do the job and are ready to make a commitment to Australia, so it makes sense to streamline their pathway to permanent residence," Bowen said.

Other changes include:

  • Introduction of 3 distinct eligibility streams - 457 holders, direct applicants and Labour Agreement applicants
  • Changes to qualification and skill requirements for ENS and RSMS
  • Creating a single skilled occupation which applies to ENS, 457 and State/Territory Sponsored Points Tested visas
  • Introduction of market rate salary for ENS and RSMS
  • Higher training requirements for ENS
Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox welcomed the visa changes and said he thinks they will help fix the "tight labour market".

"Notwithstanding the slow growth seen in employment over the past year, businesses across the economy are still experiencing skill shortages in key occupations, especially those in demand by the resources sector such as in engineering and the skilled trades," said Willox.

The visa changes are expected to come into effect 1 July 2012.

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


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Immigration New Zealand announces plans to attract more immigrants and simplify visa process

New Zealand Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has given his support to Immigration New Zealand and their proposed plans for the department which it hopes will lead to further improvements in its operations over the next three years.

It is hoped that the plans, called "Vision for 2015", will enable the immigration department to focus more on attracting and keeping high value migrants, students and travellers. In order to achieve this the department said they need to create an organisation with better service, better systems and better outcomes so that they can:

  • Attract the best people
  • Make quality decisions quickly and efficiently
  • Support migrants to settle into work
  • Protect the integrity and security of the New Zealand immigration system
"Immigration New Zealand has put a lot of hard work into winning back the confidence and trust of the public and the Government. This plan is an important step towards building on these achievements," says Guy.

Guy stated that the immigration department now makes around 500,000 visa decisions a year. "In future there will be fewer visa types and application processes will be simplified, resulting in a better service for customers," he said.

Guy hopes that the Immigration Global Management System (IGMS), which was approved by Cabinet just before Christmas, will help the department work more efficiently and reduce the costs of visa applications. The NZD$75 million investment for IGMS will also allow more visas to be applied for online.

"Immigration makes a major contribution to New Zealand's economy. New migrants add an estimated $1.9 billion to our GDP every year, international students contribute $2.3 billion, and inbound tourists around $9 billion," said Guy. "We are competing with other developed countries for the same pool of potential migrants, students and visitors. This is why we need to improve how we operate."

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


Monday, March 19, 2012

Canadian Immigration redesigns website to help employers find skilled workers

Canadian Immigration announced last week that they will provide more help to local employers seeking to recruit immigrant workers from abroad for both permanent and temporary positions.

Canadian employers will now be able to access more information online about Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) programmes as part of a government commitment to make sure the best people are selected for jobs. CIC stated that the website had "been redesigned to include a new section to guide employers to the most suitable program".

"The economy and job growth remain the number one priority of the Government," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. "Labour shortages are becoming a growing problem in many regions, and this website will help employers access information that will help them hire permanent or temporary foreign workers when no Canadians are able to fill a position."

Employers can learn what steps are needed in order to bring in foreign workers to Canada either on a temporary or permanent basis, or to hire international students studying in Canada. CIC is also reaching out directly to local employers through public consultations to explain the benefits of the new website.

Under the Canadian skilled worker category overseas workers can apply independently for Canadian skilled immigration. However, there are only ten thousand visas available for only twenty-nine occupations available under this category. Canadian employers can also sponsor an immigrant's visa application as long as there is a shortage of your skills in Canada.

Foreign workers wishing to immigrate to Canada can come under the following visa programs:


  • Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Allows employers to hire foreign workers to fill temporary labour and skill shortages.
  • International Student Program - Students who have come to Canada to study are eligible to apply for work permits.


  • Federal Skilled Worker Program - Assesses applicants based on their ability to adapt to Canada's labour market. CIC currently has an annual cap of 10,000 new applications under this program and caps of 500 for each of the 29 occupations, but applicants with qualifying job offers are not affected by the cap.
  • Provincial Nominee Program - Provinces and territories can nominate foreign workers for permanent immigration.
  • Canadian Experience Class - Allows temporary foreign workers and foreign students who graduated in Canada to apply to stay permanently.

The new website also features a Foreign Credentials Referral Office that offers information and services on the Canadian labour market and Canada's credential assessment processes.

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Canadian Immigration Minister outlines plans for immigration system overhaul

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced last week his vision for a more efficient immigration system that would allow Canadian employers a greater say in selecting new immigrants.

"Immigration is playing an increasingly important role in our economy and we need a system that does a better job of attracting the people who have the skills that are in demand and getting them here quickly," Kenney said. "We have made some great strides towards an immigration system that is fast and flexible, but know that there is more work to do."

Kenney said he plans to redesign Canada's immigration points system to be more flexible and place greater emphasis on language ability, and on encouraging immigration of younger immigrants with high quality credentials that can be recognized quickly.

Kenney pointed out that the current points system used to assess federal skilled worker applicants needs to be more "flexible and intelligent". He said: "It should place greater emphasis on the importance of language while recognizing that the language ability needed to successfully integrate in Canada is different for a doctor as opposed to a welder."

He added that Canada needed to do a better job of attracting entrepreneurs, noting that in the US, half of the top 50 venture-capital backed companies were founded by immigrants.

Additionally, he promised to reduce the backlog in the immigration system. There are currently wait times of up to seven years in some categories. He explained his plans to create an expedited immigration system in which immigrants, particularly those with strong language skills, would be offered a job, have their credentials assessed, get accepted and settled in Canada – all within a year of applying. He called on employers to actively seek out and recruit the skilled immigrants they needed so that the Immigration Department can fast-track their applications in order to address Canada's skills shortages.

"It makes no sense to tell people 'apply now, but put your life on hold for a few years before we'll even let you know if you qualify,'" Kenney said. "I will continue to make changes to create a faster, more flexible immigration system. Canadians need and deserve a system that boldly puts Canada's best interests first."

Kenney is calling on employers to actively seek out and recruit the skilled immigrants they need, so that the Immigration Department can fast-track their applications and address Canada's skills shortages. He said the federal government will also look at giving more preference to applicants with a direct job offer. This already happens to a certain extent. However, processing times are still too long. The private sector should benefit from changes in the federal skilled worker program.

Not everyone agrees with the proposed plans, including New Democratic Party immigration critic Don Davies who said Kenney has failed to substantially improve the ability of immigrant professionals to get their credentials recognized. And added that Kenney is allowing too many low-wage temporary foreign workers to immigrate to Canada.

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


Thursday, March 15, 2012

UK universities warn of negative effects of tighter Tier 4 Student Visa rules

UK Universities are warning that the tightening of student visa rules are likely to prevent much needed income coming into UK Universities from international students.

Eric Thomas of the group Universities UK believes that university-sponsored international students should be removed from migration figures. A survey commissioned by the university group claims that the public undervalues the financial worth of international students. The survey also added that the UK government was taking a risk by applying tougher rules on Tier 4 Students and at the same time abolishing the Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa; They face losing potential revenue from international students.

Thomas says overseas students are worth £5bn per year to the UK and that this "export industry" could be worth £16.9bn by 2025. But universities fear they could lose out on this money because of the tightening visa restrictions.

"The government could help grow this area of the economy by removing university-sponsored students from net migration figures. They should do this because the majority of students simply come here, study, and then leave," said Thomas.

The survey also suggested that one-third of the public believed that the rise in overseas students meant the loss of places for UK students. Thomas stated that the negative impression of international students showed the "misunderstanding about the positive contribution international students make".

"The government's approach to student visas must be proportionate and workable, and should not be imposed at the expense of our international reputation and our economic growth," he said.

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green and Home Secretary Theresa May announced the tightening of visa routes in order to combat abuse of the UK immigration system. The Government says that they wish to reduce net migration from its current level of 250,000 to the 'tens of thousands'. Many people have suggested that it is impractical to reduce immigration to the "tens of thousands"; It is not possible to restrict immigration of nationals from most of the EU Countries.

Green disagreed with the idea that visa regulations could damage legitimate recruiting of foreign students.

"There is no incompatibility between a strong university sector and tough border controls," said Green. "We are reforming the student visa system because it has been abused for too long, with providers selling immigration, not education."

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


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

US immigration to begin accepting H-1B applications starting 2 April 2012

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting fiscal year 2013 H-1B visa applications on Monday 2 April 2012 for employment with a start date of 1 October 2012 or later.

Current immigration law allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year. This number includes 65,000 new H-1B visas issued for overseas workers in professional or specialty occupation positions, and an additional 20,000 visas available for those with an advanced degree from a US academic institution.

Employers should begin identifying current and future employees who will need H-1B visas to be legally employed in the US. You should probably apply in the next six months to ensure that you can get an H-1B visa.

For fiscal year 2012, the 65,000 H1-B cap was officially met on 22 November 2011, two months before the cap was reached for fiscal year 2011. The 20,000 H-1B visa cap for advanced degree holders was met on 19 October 2011.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa used to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields such as in architecture, engineering, mathematics, science, and medicine. Under the visa a US company can employ a foreign worker for up to six years.

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ontario to create its own immigration strategy

Ontario is in the process of developing its first-ever immigration strategy to compete for immigrants against other Canadian provinces.

Last Friday, Immigration Minister Charles Sousa announced the creation of a 13-member expert panel whose aim is to create an immigration strategy that best supports Ontario's economic development and help new immigrants find jobs.

The Canadian province remains the number one destination for new immigrants to Canada, but the number of immigrants settling in the province has declined by 21 percent from a peak of 148,640 in 2001 to 118,114 in 2010. This may be due to the economic downturn, but also the province is laying part of the blame on the federal immigration system, which the Ontario government claims has tens of thousands of Ontario-bound applicants in its backlogs.

"It's a priority for us to ensure that Ontario has fairness in the system. Right now things are happening at the expense of Ontario and I'm trying to change that," Sousa said.

The decline is mostly due to other provinces' strong economies and aggressive marketing campaigns. According to a recent federal report, Ontario has not fully benefited from the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP), which allows provinces to select their own immigrants based on local economic needs. Instead the province continues to rely on the federal skilled immigrant program as its main source of immigrants.

Research has shown PNP nominees often arrive with a job offer by local employers, have higher employment rates and incomes than those through the standard federal skilled program.

Also, Ontario was the last province to join the PNP and receives only 1,000 visas a year, a small portion of the more than 30,000 visas handed to other provinces.

"Federal immigration policies are hurting Ontario . . . I am interested in a national framework that benefits all provinces and is not at the expense of Ontario," said Sousa.

The expert panel will include academic and business leaders, along with employers and others in the financial and IT sectors. This summer the panel is expected to submit a report to the government detailing their recommendations for the province's immigration strategy.

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

Monday, March 12, 2012

Alberta, Canada looking for skilled workers to immigrate to fill labour shortages

Alberta's Premier Alison Redford is in the US last week to look for US workers to immigrate to Canada to fill labour shortages. While the main focus of her visit to Chicago is to highlight Alberta's energy relationship with the US, the province's labour shortage will also be an important discussion topic when she meets with US political officials and union leaders.

"We've had discussions with a number of labour organizations in Chicago who've been doing work with decision-makers in the United States — and with the Canadian and US ambassadors — to try to find avenues where we might be able to accelerate access of skilled labour into Alberta," said Redford adding that the province is looking for workers with specific skill sets to fill key positions in Alberta.

A new Calgary Economic Development study reveals the 25 occupations that will be most needed in the coming years. The list includes engineers, geologists, nurses, plumbers and carpenters. The following information was obtained:

  • The salary typically paid in other cities in Canada to people in each occupation.
  • The likelihood that professionals in Alberta would choose to stay and not move elsewhere.
  • The age of the workforce. This is useful to know. It has been found that statistically younger people are more likely to move.
The demand for labour in Alberta is expected to increase by more than 600,000 workers by 2021. It is estimated that if nothing is done there will be about 114,000 unfilled vacancies.

The study also included several cities in Canada, the US, the UK, and Ireland that are most likely to have suitable candidates to help deal with the impending labour shortages. Some of the cities in the list are Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Chicago, Dublin and London.

If you wish to work in Alberta you can apply for a work visa under Canada's Temporary Foreign Worker Program which allows Canadian companies to hire foreign workers temporarily to help support economic growth. In order to apply you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a job offer from a Canadian employer.
  • Have written confirmation from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) that the employer cannot find a local worker to fill the vacancy. Please note, in most cases, it is up to your employer to get that written confirmation and, also, in some cases, you do not need a labour market opinion.
  • Show that you have enough money to support yourself and your family while you are in Canada.
The labour market opinion assesses how the offer of employment would likely affect Canadian jobs and Canada's labour market. When assessing a job offer, HRSDC considers the following:

  • the occupation that the foreign worker will be employed in;
  • the wages and working conditions offered;
  • the employer's advertisement and recruitment efforts;
  • the labour market benefits related to the entry of the foreign worker;
  • the consultations, if any, with the appropriate union; and
  • whether the entry of the foreign worker is likely to affect the settlement of a labour dispute.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please check our Canadian page for more information:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Canadian Immigration introduces new citizenship documentation

From 1 February 2012 Canadian Immigration and Citizenship (CIC) has started issuing new citizenship documents to new citizens in an effort to cut down on fraud. CIC will no longer produce the current plastic wallet-sized citizenship certificate or the commemorative certificate and will instead provide new citizens with a letter-sized paper citizenship certificate. The new paper certificate features information that can be validated through a new electronic validation system.

According to CIC, the new certificate contains a unique number and basic information about its holder, such as names, date of birth and gender. This allows other government departments to validate citizenship information via an electronic validation system, reducing the possibility of citizenship fraud.

It is important to note that the certificate is a legal status document, not an identity document or a travel document. Also, Canadian citizenship certificates issued before 1 February 2012 are still valid. Holders do not need to apply for a replacement.

In order to apply for Canadian citizenship, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for Canadian citizenship, unless your parent or guardian is applying on your behalf.
  • Permanent resident status: To become a Canadian citizen, you must have permanent resident status in Canada. This can be gained through different immigration programs such as the Provincial Nomination Program or Skilled Worker Immigration.
  • Time lived in Canada: You must have lived in Canada for at least three years in the past four years before applying. Children under the age of 18 do not need to meet this requirement. You may be able to count time you spent in Canada before you became a permanent resident if that time falls within the four-year period.
  • Language abilities: You need to have adequate knowledge of English or French in order to become a Canadian citizen.
  • Criminal history: You cannot have been convicted of a crime in the three years prior to your application submission date.
  • Knowledge of Canada: To become a citizen, you must understand the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, such as the right and responsibility to vote in elections.

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


Thursday, March 8, 2012

More international MBA applicants entering on UK Tier 4 student visas

The UK has seen an increase in the number of MBA applicants from outside the UK in 2011, according to figures released by The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), administrator of the GMAT test. Thanks to this increase the UK is now second in the World after the US as the country of choice for MBA applicants. If you are an International student you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa in order to live and study in the UK.

The GMAT is a computerized test in mathematics and the English language that measures the aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. Business schools across the world use the test as a criterion for admission into graduate business administration programs, like MBA degrees.

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council figures, 4.49 percent of all test-takers sent their test scores to UK schools in 2011, up from 3.39 percent in 2007. Despite the increase in numbers, there are still concerns that the current UK student visa and work visa policy may affect enrolments numbers.

After graduation Tier 4 international students have for some years been able to come under the Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa category. This visa category allowed graduates to remain in the UK for two years after graduation and work for any employer. This visa category will close from 1 April 2012. UK immigration will still offer visas through Tier 2 of the points-based system for graduates. In most cases only graduates who have an offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2 of the points-based system will be able to stay and work in the UK. This will make it more difficult for international student graduates to stay in the UK.

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

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Canadian government to offer loans to immigrant professionals

Canada's government has announced a new pilot program to support new immigrants working in its provinces. The three-year pilot project, known as the Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot, will make it easier for internationally trained professionals to have their credentials recognized and find jobs in their fields.

For many immigrant professionals, the time and cost it takes to gain the correct credentials in Canada is a significant burden. The Foreign Credential Recognition Loans Pilot plans to develop and test innovative projects that provide financial assistance to internationally trained professionals to lessen some of these financial burdens.

"Today's announcement is part of the Government's commitment to making it easier for immigrants to join the Canadian labour market," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. "We want newcomers to be able to use their skills as soon as possible in Canada and work to their full potential. It's good for them and good for the Canadian economy."

The Saskatchewan Immigrant Access Fund (IAF) project is one of the first organizations selected under the Government of Canada's foreign credential recognition loans pilot. The IAF will provide microloans for immigrant professionals to help finance the cost of having their credentials recognized in Canada. Microloans are small monetary loans where applicants do not need to be employed, do not need to have a credit history in Canada or have collateral. This should ease the financial burden on professionals applying to receive credential recognition.

The provincial government is providing $450,000 to the IAF for the project. IAF has also received more than $1.7 million from the federal government. In total, the Canadian government is expected to invest $18 million over three years for similar projects across the country.

Global Visa Support offers various Canadian programmes. Please visit our Canadian page for more information:


US immigration creates program to attract foreign-born entrepreneurs

A US immigration official announced this week that the US is looking at ways to keep more foreign-born high-tech entrepreneurs in the country. Members of California's Silicon Valley start-up community met with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Alejandro Mayorkas for an informational meeting to officially launch its "Entrepreneurs in Residence" program.

The event was held on the campus of the NASA Ames Research Center. It focused on addressing a recurring tech industry complaint that student immigrants who could stay and set up companies that benefit the US economy are instead leaving and setting up businesses in their home countries. Immigrants and tech companies say this is because the US immigration process is too difficult.

Under the new program, Mayorkas said the US immigration department hopes to become more responsive to the needs of tech startups. He added that they would eventually choose five specialists from the private sector to guide policy and training for immigration officials who make decisions on individual visa applications. The goal for this would be to keep the immigration department from applying traditional formulas to the unorthodox business models common in the startup world.

It is important to note that this program will not create a new US visa but will make the existing immigration system easier for entrepreneurs.

The Obama administration has worked towards approving more liberal immigration policies to keep foreign-born engineers and scientists in the US.

"Let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country," President Obama said.

Opponents of the decision to make immigration easier for highly skilled workers argue that equally qualified US citizens are displaced by immigrants willing to work for less in exchange for gaining the right to live in the US. However, according to a 2010 study, Harvard Business School associate professor William Kerr found that changes in the number of visas granted to skilled workers over several years appeared to have little effect, positive or negative, on the job market for American engineers and scientists.

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


Monday, March 5, 2012

British companies bypass immigration cap on skilled migrants

Overseas staff coming to UK under 'intra-company transfer' scheme surged to 29,700 last year, Home Office figures show

British companies are bypassing the government's cap on skilled migrants by bringing in staff from their plants and offices overseas, an official report has found.

Figures from the Home Office's migration advisory committee show that the numbers coming to Britain under the "intra-company transfer" scheme have surged in the past two years and now outnumber those coming into Britain on work visas by three to one. The rise has rendered the cap on skilled overseas migrants redundant, with fewer than half the work visas available under the annual limit being used.

The latest figures show that transfers of company staff, especially from IT firms in India, have risen from 22,000 in 2009 to 29,700 in the 12 months to September last year. David Cameron exempted these staff transfers from the immigration cap after strong lobbying by the business secretary, Vince Cable, and representations from the Indian government.

An official estimate shows that as few as 10,000 tier-2 work visas will be issued to skilled workers in the 12 months to April 2012. This is less than half the limit of 21,700 skilled work visas set by the home secretary, Theresa May, in the drive to reduce net annual migration from 250,000 to "tens of thousands" by the next election.

Migration chart, Intra-company transfers
Migration chart, Intra-company transfers

The committee said in a report published on Tuesday that in this situation it was not necessary to change the 21,700 limit on work visas that applies to skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area for the next financial year.

The government's migration advisers say they do not think changes should be made to curb intra-company transfers but the route should be kept under review, especially where transfers involve third-party contractors.

The committee chair, Professor David Metcalf, said that although the limit was undersubscribed it should not be lowered because that would affect the perception that Britain was an attractive place to do business.

"The tier-2 limit system is set up to prevent the displacement of UK workers but intra-company transfers are not part of that limit and account for the lion's share of visas," he said.

"The government has put a cap in but it is not biting, so pro tem it is not relevant," said Metcalf.
The intra-company transfer route allows companies to bring in staff from overseas branches to work for up to six months if they are in jobs earning more than £24,000 a year. Those earning more than £40,000 can stay longer than a year.

Metcalf said that some of the transfers were vital to the British economy – such as Japanese automotive engineers testing cylinder heads made in Japan and training British workers to do such testing.

"Other types of intra-company transfers have evolved over time, particularly those used for third-party contracting in the information technology sector, where it is possible that the UK economy is benefiting in aggregate terms while at the same time some displacement of British workers is occurring," said Metcalf.

"They are doing absolutely nothing wrong here, but it is consultancy companies bringing workers in, typically IT workers, typically from India."

He said the committee wanted to keep this rapidly growing group under review. Often they were contracted to carry out work in India and then came to the UK to work at the client's base before returning to India to complete the project.

Metcalf suggested that if ministers wanted to limit the numbers coming through this route they could raise the £40,000 income threshold, raise the skill level from NVQ level 4, or limit the numbers any one company could transfer.

The committee also recommends that some highly paid jobs at £70,000 and above and PhD-level jobs should be exempt from the resident market labour test that offers vacancies to British workers first. The migration experts found that advertising such vacancies in jobcentres only led to frivolous applications to companies.

A further 7,200 overseas skilled migrants were recruited last year to jobs for which no suitable British candidates applied. Under the resident labour market test, they must be advertised in the UK for one month first.

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

Friday, March 2, 2012

Australian immigration reports an increase in short stay 456 business visa applications

According to Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship, there was an increase is short-term business trips last year. New figures show over 120,000 applications were made for the 456 subclass short stay business visa in the last quarter of 2011.

Under the 456 subclass visa, the holder can stay in Australia for three months to carry out business activities such as attending conferences, handling negotiations or delivering presentations.

The new figures, provided by Australian immigration, show an 11.4 percent increase in applications between September and December 2011. The rise in short stay business visa applications means that applications for 456 visas now account for 14 percent of all Australian visa applications.

The biggest increase in applications came from Chinese applicants, with almost 21,000 lodged by Chinese nationals. An immigration spokesperson said the increase was "reflecting [the] strong business ties between China and Australia".

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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

More international MBA applicants entering on UK Tier 4 student visas

The UK has seen an increase in the number of MBA applicants from outside the UK in 2011, according to figures released by The Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), administrator of the GMAT test. Thanks to this increase the UK is now second in the World after the US as the country of choice for MBA applicants. If you are an International student you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa in order to live and study in the UK.

The GMAT is a computerized test in mathematics and the English language that measures the aptitude to succeed academically in graduate business studies. Business schools across the world use the test as a criterion for admission into graduate business administration programs, like MBA degrees.

According to the Graduate Management Admissions Council figures, 4.49 percent of all test-takers sent their test scores to UK schools in 2011, up from 3.39 percent in 2007. Despite the increase in numbers, there are still concerns that the current UK student visa and work visa policy may affect enrolments numbers.

After graduation Tier 4 international students have for some years been able to come under the Tier 1 Post Study Work Visa category. This visa category allowed graduates to remain in the UK for two years after graduation and work for any employer. This visa category will close from 1 April 2012. UK immigration will still offer visas through Tier 2 of the points-based system for graduates. In most cases only graduates who have an offer of a skilled job from a sponsoring employer under Tier 2 of the points-based system will be able to stay and work in the UK. This will make it more difficult for international student graduates to stay in the UK.

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