Monday, April 30, 2012

The 2012 London Olympics - Apply now for your UK visitor visa!

With only three more months to go until the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we are encouraging anyone who wishes to come to the UK to see the Games to make sure they have applied for their necessary UK visa.

If you are a national of a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, you will not need a visa to travel. Citizens from other countries that do not require visas include the US, Canada, and Australia. However many countries are required to obtain a UK visitor visa prior to travel. If you do need a visa to travel to the UK, you can apply now.

Most visas will allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 months. You should apply as soon as possible as the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has announced they expect to receive over a million visa applications for the Olympic Games.

To be eligible for a UK visitor visa, you must be able to show that:

  • you intend to visit the UK for no more than 6 months;
  • you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • you have enough money to support and accommodate yourself without working or help from public funds, or you and any dependants will be supported and accommodated by relatives or friends;
  • you can meet the cost of the return or onward journey; and

You must also be able to show that, during your visit, you do not intend to:

  • take paid or unpaid employment, produce goods or provide services, including the selling of goods or services directly to members of the public;
  • do a course of study;
  • marry or register a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership; or
  • receive private medical treatment.

Nationals or citizens of countries like Egypt, India, Indonesia, Philippines, and Fiji are required to apply for a visitor visa if traveling to the UK. Please note, the UK is not a member of the Schengen group of countries, so a Schengen visa will not be valid for travel to the UK.

The UKBA expects there to be heightened security during the 16-day Games, which begin on 27 July 2012.

As a tourist on a UK visitor visa you will not be allowed to work or study while in the UK. If you wish to work or study in the UK you will need to apply for a separate visa like the Tier 2 Skilled Migrant visa or the Tier 4 Student visa.

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

Friday, April 27, 2012

British Columbia expands Provincial Nominee program to bring in more foreign workers

Canadian province, British Columbia, has announced a new pilot project to bring more immigrant workers to its Peace River Regional District. They hope the plan will help fix the region's severe worker shortage.
The new initiative, designed to expand British Columbia's Provincial Nominee Program, will be called the Northeast Pilot Project. The British Columbia government hopes that it will attract foreign workers to jobs of all skill levels.

"This is all part of the jobs strategy to support the jobs plan," said John Yap, Chair of the British Columbia's Immigration Task Force in an announcement at Fort St. John. "All kinds of jobs. Skilled, semi- skilled, to help support the economy here in the northeast."

Currently the province's employers are restricted to choose between twenty-two entry level and skilled occupations to qualify for the Provincial Nominee Program. Under the Northeast Pilot Project the number of occupations would be increased to over one hundred, and include positions such as mine service workers, heavy equipment operators and retail workers.

"First of all, the occupations have expanded dramatically, secondly there's a key person that the businesses can go to for assistance, and thirdly the timeline that it takes to get approval for these immigrants to come to Canada and become permanent residence," said Fort St. John Mayor Lori Ackerman.
Study Migrate offers a variety of programmes in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

USCIS reports increase in H-1B visa applications compared to last year

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reported a large increase in skilled foreign worker H-1B visa applications during the first week of this year's application season. USCIS has received 25,600 petitions for H-1B visas since 2 April 2012, nearly twice as many as it received for the entire first month of last year's application period.
USCIS officially began accepting H-1B applications last week for positions with a start date of 1 October 2012 or later. The visas are popular for those in IT occupations and engineering.

"Given the improved economy…it would not be surprising to see the quota filled very early this year," said Stuart Anderson, executive director of the National Foundation for American Policy, a group that studies the H-1B program.

There are a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas made available each government fiscal year. This consists of 65,000 new H-1B visas available for graduate level 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.

Last week, USCIS received 17,400 H-1B applications in the general category and 8,200 in the advanced degree category. This is compared to last year's first week of H-1B applications wherein the government received 5,900 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap, and about 4,500 petitions for the 20,000 advanced degrees cap.

Demand for the skilled-worker visas has fluctuated in past years and many say the increase in H-1B visa applications in such a short period of time this year may be a sign of a recovering US economy.
Study Migrate offers a variety of programs in United States of America. Please visit our USA page for more information:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Proposed changes announced for Canadian Federal Skilled Worker program

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the department's plans on 10 April to fill Canada's growing labour shortages in skilled trade occupations. He explained that the changes were expected to result in an assessment system that will make it easier for badly needed skilled tradespersons to immigrate to Canada.
"Our Government recognizes that our country faces a critical shortage in certain skilled trades," said Kenney. "That's why we are taking concrete steps to address this problem at a national level."

According to the announcement, under the new Federal Skilled Worker visa program, Canadian immigration will create a separate and streamlined program for skilled tradespersons to make it easier for them to immigrate to Canada. Skilled trade includes occupations in construction, transportation, manufacturing and service industries. Currently, skilled tradespersons are especially in high demand in the natural resources and construction sectors.

Under the current system, Federal Skilled Worker visa applicants are assessed against a 100-point grid, with a pass mark of 67. This points process takes into account things like the applicant's language ability, education, work experience, age, and whether they have a job offer in Canada. For this reason, parts of the criteria, such as educational background, have traditionally favoured professionals and managers more than skilled trades. Ultimately, skilled tradespersons only make up 3 percent of all Federal Skilled Workers entering Canada.

The proposed changes to the visa program would establish a better process for skilled tradespersons to be assessed on things like practical training and work experience rather than formal education. Skilled trades applicants will still be required to meet minimum language requirements.

"Above all, our Government remains focused on promoting economic growth and long-term prosperity," said Kenney. "Attracting skilled tradespeople is important for maintaining Canada's momentum in the global economy."

If the proposed changes are approved, Canadian immigration will announce a full list of the changes later this year.
Study Migrate offers a variety of programmes in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Australian skills shortage due to retiring farmers

A new report has warned that Australia will need to bring in more immigrant workers, as many the country's farmers are about to retire in the next decade. The report by the Australian branch of KPMG, an international consultancy firm, stated that the average age of Australian farmers was 56 in 2011.

The report claims that there will be a considerable risk of a skills shortage due to the lack of experienced farmers to train young farmers. The KPMG report suggests that immigrants from Asia will help significantly in bridging the skills gap. However, the report noted that Australia would need to change their immigration and visa policies with Asian countries in order to bridge the skills shortage.

"There is a considerable risk that there will be a lack of experienced farmers to train younger farmers who will be critical to driving productivity improvements and adapting to challenges such as climate change, increased competition and an increase on focus on the environmental impacts of farming," said the report.

The report also predicts the retirement of many farmers will lead to farms being sold to international and corporate investors for their natural resources. According to KPMG, this will lead to further employment opportunities that Australia will struggle to fill.

The Australian government is currently working on investing in domestic workers with initiatives like the National Workforce Development Fund which is expected to introduce AU$558 million (£364 million) into the economy over the next four years.

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

Monday, April 23, 2012

Canada to make transition to permanent residency faster for immigrants

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced this week that in order to more quickly meet Canada's labour market needs, the immigration department will make changes to allow highly-skilled temporary foreign workers to transition to permanent residence more quickly.

"Thousands of highly-skilled foreign nationals are working successfully in Canada on a temporary basis," said Kenney. "Expediting their transition to permanent residence would help Canada retain bright and talented people who already have Canadian work experience and the ability to communicate in English or French. In many cases, they already have a job lined up. Such newcomers are set for success."

In order to respond to Canada's growing skill shortages, the department announced they will reduce the work experience requirement for eligible temporary foreign workers applying for permanent residency. Under the current rules, applicants applying for permanent residency under the temporary foreign worker stream of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) must have spent at least 24 months in full-time job within the last 36 months. Under the proposed changes, the requirement would be reduced to only 12 months of work experience.

These changes follow the department's recent announcement to make Canada's immigration system more efficient while focusing on jobs and growth.

"The CEC is a key part of our plan for the future of immigration in Canada, and so it is gratifying to see the dramatic growth in the program since its inception," said Kenney.

The CEC is a program for temporary foreign workers or foreign students who graduated in Canada to become permanent residents. Currently, in order to be eligible applicants must:
  • plan to live outside the province of Quebec.
  • be either: a temporary foreign worker with at least two years of full-time skilled work experience in Canada, or a foreign graduate from a Canadian post-secondary institution with at least one year of full-time skilled work experience in Canada.
  • have gained your experience in Canada with the proper work or study authorization.
  • apply while working in Canada or within one year of leaving your job in Canada.
  • include the results of an independent language test with your application.
In 2011, around 6,000 immigrants were accepted into the CEC, a 50% increase from 2010.

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

Friday, April 20, 2012

Companies claim closure of UK Tier 1 Post Study Work visa will hurt business

Business owners have criticized the UK government's decision to close the Tier 1 post-study work (PSW) visa saying that it makes it more difficult for companies to fill vacancies that require specialized skills.

The PSW visa route, which closed on 6 April 2012, allowed international students to work for up to two years in the UK after graduation. Now non-European Union graduates wishing to remain in the UK to work will need to obtain a work visa that is sponsored by the employer. This will probably mean a Tier 2 visa.

A survey conducted last year by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry revealed that 24 percent of companies that were looking to hire international workers did so to expand their international business. But businesses are worried that the new restrictions will make it more difficult to expand internationally.

Andrew Methven, chief executive of Newland Public Relations, a London-based company that focuses on Chinese businesses, says securing work visas for Chinese graduates is becoming increasingly difficult.

"Sometimes it takes months to complete the admin work to sponsor one worker. We have to guarantee our input is worthwhile," he said, noting that other companies in the UK that work closely or trade with non-EU markets like China say they are having similar issues.

"We know from talking to SMEs that they find the process of applying (for work permits) lengthy, bureaucratic and costly and this places a burden on SMEs who may not have the resources to deal with visa issues that bigger organizations do," Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

Although, not all comapnies believe that the closure of the Tier 1 PSW route is bad for business. Kevin Lin, managing director of KL Communications, an English-Chinese translation service provider, says that abolishing the PSW process was a good thing for his company.

"The PSW visa has been a disaster for us because many Chinese graduates use it to stay in the UK and provide low quality translation at cheap prices," Lin says. "When we take an employee onboard, we demonstrate our commitment by helping them to get the work permit. That makes them work harder."

Currently, international businesses with a UK presence can opt to bring in their existing employees on an intra-company transfer (ICT) visa. Although this isn't a likely immigration route for graduates. Immigration rules state that the ICT route can only be used to bring in staff members earning a base salary of £24,000 pounds or more, and only those earning more than 40,000 pounds can work in the UK for more than a year. As this is a far higher salary than the average UK graduate salary of £19,092 pounds, it is unlikely that many graduates will qualify for this visa route.

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

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Organisations warn US of employers substituting L-1 visa for H-1B

This week the US began accepting applications for the popular H-1B visa program. While the H-1B visa has been a popular visa among IT workers for a long time, critics are saying that the L-1 visa is now being used improperly in place of the H-1B visa.

The L-1 visa is used for intra-company transfers of employees from foreign offices to US offices.

The labor union AFL-CIO and the IEEE-USA professional organisation sent letters to Washington DC this week warning the government against undermining US worker protections in the L-1 visa by accepting changes recommended by more than 60 firms and organizations. The AFL-CIO and IEEE-USA claim that if these changes are passed then the US runs the risks of expanding the visa's use in offshore outsourcing.

Last month several IT tech firms in India sent a letter to President Obama asking him to relax the L-1 visa rules now used to define "specialized knowledge." They also claimed that there are "unprecedented delays and uncertainty" when applying for L-1 visas.

Under current immigration rules, "specialized knowledge" is defined as "beyond the ordinary and not commonplace within the industry." In other words, the employee must be more than simply skilled or familiar with the employer's interests.

The definition was set up to keep companies from using the L-1 visa as a substitute to the H-1B visa. Critics claim that offshore companies are using the L-1 for the same reason they use the H-1B visa in order to move work overseas. While larger overseas IT firms are claiming that the US is rejecting higher amounts of visa applicants because immigration officials are interpreting "specialized knowledge" in ways that are outside the law.

USCIS has said that they are currently reviewing the guidance it gives applicants regarding "specialized knowledge" and whether any changes are needed.

The IEEE-USA maintains that Congress was "quite clear that the strict enforcement of a strong 'specialized knowledge' requirement would exclude from the L-1 visa program outsourcing companies whose business models are based on workers acquiring skills, knowledge and contacts in the United States for the purpose of moving American jobs overseas."

In the letter IEEE-USA sent to Alejandro Mayorkas USCIS, the organisation points out that some of the companies seeking changes in the L-1 visa "specialized knowledge" definition are outsourcing firms.
Also, while the H-1B visa has a cap of 85,000 visas per fiscal year, the L-1 visa isn't subject to a cap or the prevailing wage requirement applied to the H-1B.

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

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Study says Canadian immigration numbers should be reduced

A new study released this week questions whether Canadian governments should continue to maintain high immigration levels in tough economic times.

The study released 4 April by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), proposed that if Canada reduced immigration numbers during recessions then it could possibly improve the overall performance of immigrants. They added that it could also reduce the damage caused when new immigrants enter the labour market but can't find work for lengthy periods of time due to the economy.

"During recessions, economic outcomes deteriorate more among recent immigrants than among the Canadian-born," said the report, "Making it in Canada: Immigration Outcomes and Policies". "It also helps prevent longer-run economic 'scarring' that can occur when new labour market entrants are unable to obtain jobs or are unable to practice their skills over a long period."

Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he partially agrees with the findings in the report but did not support the idea of reducing migrant numbers during recessions. He added that he is trying to maintain a balance between immigration critics on both sides who have been urging the government to either increase or decrease migrant numbers.

"I think the findings confirm what I've been saying about the struggles of recent immigrants," said Kenney. "This is why I'm saying we need transformative change."

In 2010, Canada accepted over 280,000 permanent residents, the highest level in over fifty years. Canada has one of the highest intakes of immigrants in the world, with a per capita rate double that of the US rate, according to the IRPP report.

Data from the 2006 census shows that immigrants are earning roughly 60 to 70 percent of the wage earned by the average Canadian-born worker in their first few years in the country. This is compared to 85-90 percent in the late 1970s. Prior to the 1980s, Canadian immigration flows used to rise and fall based on Canada's economic performance.

Although the report did state: "Immigration has a very modest impact on measures such as gross domestic product per capita and the government's balance sheet, although whether it is positive, negative or zero is open for debate, with most observers favouring 'small positive'."

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Microsoft stresses importance of US H-1B visa for IT companies

This week, as employers began filing petitions for the popular US H-1B work visas, Microsoft stressed the importance of the visa in keeping America's IT companies competitive.

"While the vast majority of our US workforce is comprised of US workers, the individuals we employ in H-1B status -educated at some of the best universities in the US and around the world - are crucial to our business," said Brad Smith, general counsel & executive vice president, Legal & Corporate Affairs, Microsoft.

Current immigration law allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year. This consists of 65,000 new H-1B visas available for graduate level 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.

"Even with our economy in the midst of a prolonged recovery, the annual allotment of H-1B visas is projected to be exhausted earlier than last year, and well before the end of the government's fiscal year," Smith said. "Our economy is hungry for workers with strong educational backgrounds, especially those with degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields."

Smith also expressed Microsoft's unhappiness with the current Green Card system and the per-country caps they currently have in place.

"There are important steps that Congress can take right now to accomplish this. The House passed the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act in November with overwhelming and rare bipartisan consensus, 389-15," Smith said. "The bill would replace the discriminatory 'per-country' limits on employment-based green cards with a merit-based, first-come-first-served system, but it has unfortunately stalled in the Senate."

If the bill is passed, the 140,000 employment-based green cards that the US issues each year would be available on a first come, first served basis. Currently, individuals from any one country can account for no more than 7 percent of the total work-related green cards issued. Critics of the current process claim that it is more likely to affect individuals from populous countries such as India and China, which produce large numbers of technology professionals.

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

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Zealand doctors worried about relaxed health screening visa requirements

New Zealand medical experts warned that once authorities relax the health screening requirements for international students, it could lead to people infected with HIV and hepatitis being granted visas to study there.

From July 2012, New Zealand student visa applicants will be screened only for tuberculosis, unless they have other health conditions they declare. Therefore, foreign students will no longer need to supply full medicals and the responsibility will rest on visa applicants to declare their health conditions rather than on medical checks to detect diseases.

New Zealand Medical Association chairman Dr Paul Ockelford claimed that if full medical checks were not required then New Zealand could see more people with infections, such as HIV and hepatitis B and C, being let into the country.

"It's always a balance between the benefits associated with streamlining and the potential risks that might occur in the absence of formal health screening," Ockelford said.

Health screenings for student visa applicants can be costly, usually ranging in price from $250 and $400 in New Zealand.

An Immigration New Zealand spokeswoman said the changes "do not diminish an applicant's requirement to declare health conditions or meet health conditions".

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy announced on 2 April that health checks for international students immigrating to study in New Zealand would be relaxed later this year.

"These changes show that the government is serious about tackling red tape and attracting migrants who can make a contribution to New Zealand. At the same time, we are making sure that applicants have an acceptable standard of health," said Guy.

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

Friday, April 13, 2012

Airlines warn of possible delays at UK immigration Border

UK airlines are warning of potential delays at airports during Easter and during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations due to tougher immigration checks at border control.

The British Air Transport Association (BATA) is calling on UK ministers and the immigration department to increase staffing or consider a risk-based approach to screening specific passengers at passport control. BAA, which operates Heathrow airport, is also calling for extra staffing to deal with passport and visa checks, saying that immigration queues can become especially long during peak travel times.

The government has imposed tougher immigration checks following last year's row in which immigration officials relaxed passport and visa checks beyond agreed limits.

Simon Buck, chief executive of BATA, said in a letter to UK home secretary Theresa May on 21 March that the UK Border Force "will almost certainly struggle to manage the volume of passengers" because of the government's decision to introduce more stringent passport and visa checks.

"The subsequent impact on airline operations, passenger experience and satisfaction could be significant, especially at peak travel times such as Easter or during the Queen's Jubilee celebrations," Buck said, adding that over time this "would also have a significant economic impact given the very significant share of business passengers at our busiest airports, principally Heathrow."

Buck claimed that if immigration halls at airports become congested due to long queues at passport control, airlines would be forced to keep passengers on the airplane, which could jeopardise the operation of subsequent flights.

"This is a concern to all BATA members. The possibility of disruption may appear remote, but there is a real danger of this becoming a reality if more support is not provided to the Border Force," said Buck.

The UK Border Force responded as follows: "We will not compromise border security, but we always aim to keep disruption to a minimum by using our staff flexibly to meet demand. Carrying out full checks at airports help us stop threats from terrorists, criminals and others who want to harm the UK and make sure that only those with the right to enter the UK can do so."

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


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Canadian immigration to eliminate visa application backlog

As part of Canadian immigration's plan to reduce the backlog of visa applications, the government will be rejecting almost 300,000 people who applied for a Canadian visa before 2008. Their applications are being returned and $130 million worth of fees will be refunded as the government aims to decrease the massive backlog they say has been standing in the way of major reform to the immigration system.

Applicants will now be told they can either re-apply under the new visa rules or apply through one of the country's provincial nominee programs.

"Canada risks losing the global talent competition for the world's best and brightest as potential immigrants choose to take their skills to other countries with more responsive immigration systems rather than remain in the queue to have their applications processed in Canada," said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has stated his intention to reform the Canadian immigration system to be more effective in filling labour gaps.

"Our government will reform Canada's immigration system to make it faster and more efficient," said Flaherty. "We will ensure it is designed, above all, to strengthen Canada's economy. As a result we will be better able to fill gaps in our labour force. We will attract more of the entrepreneurs we need to create good jobs and long term economic growth."

Canadian immigration also wants to place more emphasis on young immigrants who are fluent in English or French and whose educational credentials are best suited to getting them jobs.

The Opposition has already voiced concerns about the reforms, saying that there needs to be a more holistic approach to the issue that better takes into account immigrants long-term goals to bring over their families. Immigration lawyers have also voiced their criticism of the plan, claiming that it undermines the time and effort that immigrants put into applying for Canadian visas.

"These people have had the rug pulled out from underneath them," said Montreal-based lawyer David Chalk. "The government of Canada invited people who had certain qualifications to apply, these people invested time, energy, and hope."

Dan Bohbot, head of the Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association, claims that the decision to close these visa files will hurt Canada's reputation abroad.

"People really will not trust the process of immigration in Canada and that's going to affect our reputation and it's going to affect maybe the quality of immigrants wanting to come here in the first place," he said.

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

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Zealand immigration reduced health checks for foreign students

Immigration New Zealand announced on 2 April that health checks for international students immigrating to study in New Zealand will be relaxed later this year.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy stated the changes would take effect from July 2012. The changes include foreign students no longer needing to provide full medical assessments; Also health screening of partners or dependent children will be limited to serious conditions.

"International education is worth NZ$2.3 billion (£1.2 billion) to the economy a year and indirectly supports around 32,000 jobs," said Guy.

International students would also only need to be screened for tuberculosis upon entering the country under the system. Guy says these changes will reduce the cost and "hassle" for about 62,800 students and save approximately NZ$17 million (£8.7 million) a year in medical costs.

"These changes show that the government is serious about tackling red tape and attracting migrants who can make a contribution to New Zealand. At the same time, we are making sure that applicants have an acceptable standard of health," said Guy. specializes in helping people study in the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and New Zealand. If you are interested in studying abroad in one of these Countries, please fill out our student immigration enquiry form and one of our representatives will contact you shortly.

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


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

UKBA announces marriage ban on Olympian visas

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has confirmed that visas granted to visiting athletes, coaches and other officials for London's Olympics Games will bar them from forming any civil partnerships or from marrying while in the UK. A civil partnership in the UK is a relationship between two people of the same sex that is formed when they register as civil partners of each other. The UKBA announced they were imposing these restrictions amid concerns that illegal immigrants and terrorists will take advantage of the games to get into the country.

Visa applicants will be required to provide evidence that they will be staying in the UK for no longer than the six months their visa is valid for. Also they must agree that they will not take any other form of employment and must demonstrate that they have enough money to support themselves and the cost of their return journey.

"While you are in the UK, you will not be allowed to undertake a course of study; or marry or form a civil partnership, or give notice of marriage or civil partnership," said the UKBA document.

"Accreditation for the [non-EU] Games Family doesn't impose any immigration status. It is to give them access to the Games and then we expect them to leave," a Home Office spokesperson added.

Nearly 20,000 people will be granted a UK visa for the Olympics; It is expected that there will be heightened security during the 16-day Games, which begin on 27 July 2012.

Some international athletes with criminal convictions may have difficulty entering the UK. Also, the UKBA stated that anyone on the UN and European Union travel ban list will automatically be refused entry to the UK.

Athletes and officials will have their fingerprints and face-scans taken when they arrive. A temporary terminal is being built at Heathrow to try to reduce the strain on immigration officials and to enable the visa checks to take place.

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

Monday, April 9, 2012

Canadian Immigration proposes changes for assessing skilled worker credentials

Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney announced a new proposal that would change how foreign skilled workers' education credentials are assessed. The proposed new requirement would require applicants wishing to immigrate under the Federal Skilled Worker program to have their foreign education credentials assessed and verified before they arrive in Canada.

"Our Government is building an immigration system that is focused on economic growth and ensuring that all Canadians, including immigrants, are able to contribute to their maximum capacity," said Kenney. "By having their foreign education credentials assessed before their arrival to Canada, foreign skilled workers will have a better sense of how their credentials fit into the Canadian labour market and will be able to contribute their full skill set to the economy more quickly."

The new process would let visa applicants know how their education credentials compared to Canadian credentials and it will give immigrants a sense of how Canadian employers are likely to value their education before they arrive in Canada. It is hoped that this new process will help eliminate applicants who do not meet the education requirements. The government also believes that this is an important step in helping to address the problem of immigrants arriving and not being able to work in their field.

Although, it is important to note that this credential assessment would not mean that Federal Skilled Workers would automatically find employment in Canada or within their desired occupation. It also won't guarantee that immigrants will automatically be licensed to practice in a regulated occupation.

"Internationally trained workers make an important contribution to Canada's job market and the economy," said Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. "That's why our Government is working in partnership to improve foreign credential recognition so that skilled newcomers can put their knowledge and skills to work sooner."

Those interested in immigrating to Canada under the Federal Skilled Worker program must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have a valid offer of arranged employment, OR
  • You must have one year of continuous full-time paid work experience in at least one of the occupations listed on the Shortage Occupation List, OR
  • You must be an international student enrolled in a PhD program in Canada (or have graduated from a Canadian PhD program within the past 12 months) and meet certain criteria.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information:


Friday, April 6, 2012

UK student union speaks out against student immigration reforms

The UK National Union of Students (NUS) have launched an online campaign on behalf of international students to protest against the UK government's immigration policies.

The initiative follows a report published in February that says the changes to UK visa policy deter foreign students from studying in the UK and have a detrimental effect on the country's international reputation.

As part of the UK Government's promise to reduce net migration from its current levels of 250,000 to the 'tens of thousands', Home Secretary Theresa May and Immigration Minister Damian Green have recently introduced several changes to UK immigration and visa policy.

These changes include the requirement that international students applying to study in the UK have to have adequate English skills before entering the country. Another major change is the closure of the Tier 1 Post-Study Work visa route on 6 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.

Additionally, a new Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route will be introduced, with up to 1,000 places for students working on world-class innovative ideas who want to stay and develop their ideas but do not meet the requirements of the Tier 1 Entrepreneur route. However, it is unlikely many applicants will qualify for this visa route.

"Students want to take action locally," Daniel Stevens, a national executive council member for the NUS said. "One of the biggest problems in the UK is many student sabbatical officers do not know enough about the issue. We have been trying to persuade them to take up the cause but if they don't understand then they can't really help."

"We are taking action to control migration and restore public confidence which will not be achieved by simply changing the statistics," said a UK Home Office spokesperson. "Our reforms have re-focused the student visa system as a temporary route and one that is not open to abuse. Our aim is not to stop genuine students coming here to study — it is to ensure we are attracting the brightest and best."

According to the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, foreign students make the UK economy between £5.3bn and £8bn annually through tuition fees alone. This does not include benefits to the UK economy thanks to overseas student expenditure on accommodation, on food, or on tourism.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Increased funds required for UK Tier 2 visa applicants from 14 June 2012

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced that they will increase the funds required to satisfy the maintenance requirement for Tier 2 visas applicants. The changes go into effect from 14 June 2012.

This follows a written ministerial statement from 15 March 2012 that outlines a number of changes to the Immigration Rules, including the closure of the Tier 1 Post Study Work route on 6 April 2012. The following changes will be made to the maintenance requirement for Tier 2 visa applicants:
  • Tier 2 Visa Applicants: Increased from £800 to £900
  • Dependents of Tier 2 applicants who have been in the UK for less than 12 months: Increased from £1,600 to £1,800
  • Dependents of Tier 2 applicants - all other applications: Increased from £533 to £600
If you plan to make a Tier 2 visa application on or after 14 June 2012, you must ensure that you have the correct funds held in your account as soon as possible. The funds will need to be held in your bank or savings account for a 90 day period prior to the date of your visa application. For this reason, the UKBA has delayed the implementation date until 14 June to allow immigrants sufficient time to hold these funds for 90 days, prior to submitting a visa application.

The UKBA has stated that these increases are in line with cost of living rises in the UK.

Other Tier 2 changes that will go into effect 6 April 2012 include:
  • Introducing a new minimum salary requirement of £35,000 for Tier 2 general and sportsperson migrants who wish to settle here (indefinite leave to remain or permanent residence) from April 2016 (with exemptions for those in PhD level and shortage occupation categories).
  • Introducing a 'cooling-off period' across all the Tier 2 routes. Tier 2 migrants will need to wait for 12 months from the expiration of their previous visa before they may apply for a further Tier 2 visa. Although, it is important to note that many Tier 2 visa holders can still apply for indefinite leave to remain if they meet all of the requirements including showing that they meet the new minimum pay requirement of £35,000.
  • Introducing new post-study arrangements for graduates switching into Tier 2.

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

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Report finds tens of thousands of bogus students issued Tier 4 visas

In a new study released this week by the UK National Audit Office it was found that up to 50,000 bogus students may have been improperly issued UK Tier 4 visas. These student admissions took place after the new points-based visa system was introduced in 2008.

The report estimates that the UK Border Agency let in between 40,000 to 50,000 bogus students to the UK. The National Audit Office estimates many of these Tier 4 visas went to individuals whose main intention was to work in the UK, not to study. The number of illegal immigrants who pretended to be in education is more than ten times higher than the previous estimates.

Although, immigration officials have taken measures to tighten the system up by increasing checks on colleges and applicants, the National Audit Office found that immigration controls are still lacking. Colleges have also notified the UK Border Agency more than 60,000 times of students not attending studies in breach of their visa conditions during the 18 months up to October 2011.

Official auditors claim that many of these individuals are still in the country, as UK immigration staff do not regard removing them as a "priority".

"This is one of the most shocking reports of poor management leading to abuse that I have seen," said Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. "In the first year, student visas increased by one third, as 40,000 to 50,000 individuals probably used this route to work rather than to study. We will need to ask some important questions of those responsible."

The report follows a series of scandals surrounding the UK Border Agency over its immigration controls. Specifically, last year, it emerged that the agency had relaxed passport and visa checks on foreigners at UK ports and airports without obtaining ministerial approval.

Under the new points-based system, Tier 4 visa acceptance relied much more heavily on students being "sponsored" by colleges and universities. It soon emerged that bogus colleges were accrediting thousands of visa applications.

The National Audit Office found that only a third of colleges had been inspected by the UK Border Agency to make sure they were genuine before the system came into force.

UK immigration minister Damian Green stated the Government had introduced "radical reforms in order to stamp out abuse and restore order to the uncontrolled student visa system we inherited".

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

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Australian Immigration proposes more changes to student visas

Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced on 19 March further changes to student visas including streamlined visa processing and other changes that are intended to go into effect on 24 and 26 March 2012.

The proposed changes are part of stage two of the Australian Government's response to the Knight Review of the student visa program. Stage one was implemented last November.

Under the changes, student visa applicants can streamline their visa application if they submit them with a Confirmation of Enrolment from a participating university in Australia at Bachelor, Masters, or Doctoral degree level on or after 24 March 2012. Their applications will be assessed as though they were a lower migration risk, regardless of their country of origin. DIAC expects to have a list of approved participating universities published by 24 March.

Also, the maximum period of English language study for Schools Sector (Subclass 571) visa holders subject to Assessment Level 3 and above will be increased to 50 weeks. Applicants from an Assessment Level 4 country who wish to study at an Australian school will no longer be required to provide evidence of an English language proficiency test when applying for a Subclass 571 visa. Each country is assigned an Assessment Level which is based on the calculated immigration risk posed by students from that country studying in Australia. Higher assessment levels indicate a higher immigration risk. Countries in Assessment Level 3 include: Turkey, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Croatia. Countries in Assessment Level 4 include: China and Bangladesh.

Student visa-holders will also be able to have their visa granted for four months before the start of their course so they can get settled in before their classes begin.

There will also be more flexible work conditions. From 26 March 2012, the current work condition of 20 hours per week while the course is in session will be changed to 40 hours per fortnight during any fortnight while the course is in session. Higher Degree by Research Student visa holders will not be limited in the number of hours that they can work once their course has commenced.

These proposed changes would apply to both new student visa holders and existing student visa holders.

The proposed changes will go into effect once approved by the Governor-General.

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


Monday, April 2, 2012

Grant opportunity announced by US Citizenship and Integration Grant Program

On 20 March 2012, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that $5 million in competitive grant funding would be available to promote immigrant civic integration and prepare permanent residents for citizenship. The grant will go towards funding various citizenship preparation programs in communities across the country.

Since its establishment in 2009, the US Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has issued a total of $18.3 million in grants to immigrant-serving organizations that have provided citizenship preparation services to more than 29,000 US permanent residents.

Eligible organisations have until 7 May 2012 to apply for grant funding. Organizations must offer both citizenship instruction and naturalization services to permanent residents to be eligible for the grant. USCIS expects to announce an estimated 31 award recipients in September 2012.

You may qualify for Naturalization if:
  • You have been a permanent resident for at least 5 years and meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • You have been a permanent resident for 3 years or more and meet all eligibility requirements to file as a spouse of a US citizen.
  • You have qualifying service in the US armed forces and meet all other eligibility requirements.
  • Your child may qualify for naturalization if you are a US citizen, the child was born outside the US, the child is currently residing outside the US, and all other eligibility requirements are met.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United States. Please visit our USA page for more information: