Thursday, May 31, 2012

Tourism minister pushing for joint Irish-UK visa

Ireland's Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar is urging Ireland and the UK to create a joint UK-Ireland visa. He said tourists and business visitors should not need to apply for two separate visas for the UK and Ireland.

"This means that there are real opportunities to attract more high-value, high-spending visitors from rapidly growing economies like Brazil, India, China and Russia to both Britain and Ireland," Varadkar told the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

Varadkar described the proposed agreement between Ireland and the UK as a "mini-Schengen", referring to the agreement that allows visa nationals to obtain one visa that allows travel between 26 countries including France, Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands.

Under current immigration rules, overseas visitors traveling to the UK on a UK visitor visa can also travel to Ireland without needing to apply for a separate Irish visa. However, this is only available until October 2016.

"While the visa waiver is a step forward, it should be just that - one step of many to come," Varadkar said. "It makes no sense to me that a tourist flying into Dublin from Dubai needs a separate visa to travel to the Titanic Experience in Belfast and to see the Giant's Causeway. And it makes even less sense to the tourist."

Citizens of the UK and Ireland are covered by the Common Travel Area which allows passport-free movement between all the islands including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

Varadkar's visa proposal is the latest move by the Irish Government to attempt to boost visitor numbers.

"The development of tourism is fundamental to our economic recovery. We still have a situation where some international guests require two separate visas to visit Donegal and Derry. This should be addressed as a priority issue that will encourage tourism and economic development in both countries," said British-Irish Parliamentary Co-chairman Joe McHugh.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

US Senator proposes increasing available H-1B visas

US Republican Senator John Cornyn has proposed legislation to increase the number of H-1B visas that are issued to foreigners who have graduated with a master's and doctoral degree from a US university.

Senator Cornyn, the senior Republican on a Senate panel that oversees immigration, proposed a bill that would make an additional 55,000 visas available each year for graduates with master's and doctoral degrees from US universities.

Cornyn noted that the bill would not add to the overall number of US visas available. The bill if enacted would mean the end of the popular Green Card Lottery program. The 55,000 diversity visas from the Green Card lottery visa scheme would instead be allocated to the H-1B visa scheme. Ending the popular Green Card Lottery visa scheme could prove to be highly controversial.

Cornyn argued that the decision to increase the number of H-1B visas to enable foreign-born engineers, mathematicians, scientists and other with high-tech skills to work in the US is important to US technology companies. He said his bill would "bolster American competitiveness and provide a stronger foundation for long-term economic growth and job creation" in the US.

"We have to remember how this country was built. All of us are sons and daughters of immigrants that showed up here and made our way. We've cut off that flow," Cornyn said, adding that the US currently has around 2 million unfilled high-tech jobs.

For now, it is unclear whether other Republicans in the Senate would support Cornyn's proposed legislation.

Cornyn is also looking at legislation that would help children of illegal immigrants who want to attend US colleges or serve in the US military. There are an estimated 1 to 2 million illegal immigrant children currently living in the US.

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, as of 11 May 2012, it has already received 36,700 H-1B cap-subject petitions out of the 65,000 available visas. Additionally, they have already received 14,800 H-1B visa petitions for foreigners with US advanced degrees out of the 20,000 available visas. This means that on 27 April 2012 there were only 28,300 visas left under the H-1B regular visa cap and 5,200 for the H-1B visa advanced degree level visa cap.

Therefore, if you are considering filing a cap-subject H-1B petition as part of the FY2013 quota we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. Once the visa cap has been reached, USCIS will stop accepting H-1B petitions for FY 2013 and will not accept new applications until 1 April 2013. Even if you obtain an H-1B visa now you will not be able to start work until 1 October 2012.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saskatchewan announces changes to Canadian Immigrant Nominee Program

Earlier this month the Canadian province of Saskatchewan introduced changes to their Immigrant Nominee Program affecting the family category, student category, and the entrepreneur category.

Saskatchewan's Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration Minister Rob Norris announced that in an attempt to create more fairness in the Canadian immigration application process, family category nominees will now only be able to submit one application per household until the principal applicant and family have settled in the Canadian province.

This still means that immediate families will be able to immigrate to Canada together, but the process of bringing extended family members over has changed. Previously, Canadian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province could apply for visas for unlimited family members to join them.

Nominees wishing to enter the province will now also require a job offer. Previously, applicants were required to intend to find work in the Canadian province in order to receive a visa, but didn't need an actual job offer.

"We have families now moving forward with multiple applications and what's happening is something that's unfair," said Norris. "Some families have come (with) — we've even heard stories of up to 20 applications. As they've moved forward with their 20, what's happening is other families are being left out."

"Overall, there are pros and cons. I think the families do have a financial commitment when they bring an individual here, so there's definitely more stress on the family to support that new family member while they are settling and trying to find a job. So I think that does — the fact that the person would have a job — does reduce the stress on the family members and would make the whole settlement process a little more enjoyable for everyone," said Darcy Dietrich, executive director of the Regina Open Door Society, a non-profit organization that provides settlement and integration services to refugees and immigrants in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Additionally, students who graduate from a university in Canada outside of the province will now be required to have been employed in Saskatchewan for one full year before applying for a visa in the Immigrant Nominee Program. Previously, graduates only need 6 months of employment in the Canadian province.

Entrepreneur category applicants will be required to have their net worth and evidence of funds verified by an independent third party approved by the Canadian government before submitting an application and receiving a visa.

Norris explained that the changes were necessary to boost the integrity of the Immigrant Nominee Program and further convince the Canadian government to increase the immigration cap in Saskatchewan from 4,000 to 6,000.

These changes will go into effect immediately, however applications submitted before 2 May 2012 will be processed under the previous rules.

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

Monday, May 28, 2012

UK immigration to bring in extra staff to deal with long queues

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green announced that the UK Border Force will be recruiting an additional 70 staff at Heathrow Airport to deal with long queues. He said the staff would be brought in following the Olympics to to cover for immigration officers taking leave after the end of Olympics and to handle the expected surge when tens of thousands of students arrive in the UK for the new academic year.

The 70 extra staff were already expected to start working in 2014 for the reopening of Heathrow airport's Terminal 2, but due to the expected increase in travelers following the Olympics, the staff will be put in place this summer.

"Terminal 2 is reopening in 2014. Seventy extra people will be working there. We are recruiting them to be working from the immediate post-Olympics," said Green.

UK Home Office ministers have also cancelled all summer leave for UK Border Force officers and brought in 480 extra temporary staff to handle the expected surge of 650,000 extra tourists this summer.

"The queue levels we've seen at some times of the day, particularly at Heathrow and Stansted, are not acceptable. That's why we have taken the measures we have already taken and we will take more measures," Green added. "This is a problem we need to continue gripping. We are taking practical steps to address the issue of queues but at the same time the first priority has to be the security of our border."

Green made the announcement at a recent Home Affairs Committee meeting as part of its inquiry into the work of the UK Border Agency and Border Force. BAA, BA and Virgin Airlines also told the MPs that the long queue delays had steadily deteriorated over the past two years and were damaging business.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, the owner and operator of Heathrow airport, said that the queues have gotten "worse since the summer of 2010" and "it has been more noticed and commented on in recent months, But it has deteriorated since summer 2010. We can detect some improvement in last week or so. I believe that it's because of the additional resources that have been made available."

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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Decrease in number of New Zealand visas issued

New figures released by New Zealand's Department of Labour show that the number of skilled migrants arriving to the country is decreasing. The figures show that the number of people who arrived in the nine months to March 2012 was 13,265, a decrease of about 12 percent compared to the same nine month period in the previous year. The department attributed the decrease due to the global recession.

The country's biggest sources of skilled migrants are the UK and India, each providing 17 percent of the total, followed by the Philippines with 12 percent, China and South Africa at 8 percent each, and Fiji with 7 percent.

There was an increase in Indians applying for skilled migrant visas and the department said: "The increase from India is mainly due to former Indian international students who transition to temporary work and then to permanent residence."

Additionally, the number of international students studying in New Zealand on visas was down 7 percent compared to the same nine month period in 2011. The largest source country for international students is currently China at 26 percent of the total, followed by India at 13 percent, South Korea at 10 percent, and Japan with 5 percent.

The department also said that the numbers of people being approved for New Zealand residency remains steady with 28,674 in the July 2011-March 2012 period, compared to 28,695 for the same period during the previous year.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Strict Tier 4 visa rules are costly for UK universities to navigate

Universities and colleges told MPs this week that they are being forced to spend millions of pounds to make sure that they comply with the UK's strict Tier 4 student visa rules.

The London School of Economics (LSE) reportedly spends £250,000 a year to make sure they are not violating the UK's immigration rules and to make sure they properly understand regulations governing the entry of non-European Union students. According to Simeon Underwood, academic registrar at the LSE, five years ago the school was only spending £50,000 a year. Other colleges have said that they have had to recruit more than a dozen members of staff to ensure they are complying with the immigration rules.

The strict rules were put in place in an effort to crack down on bogus colleges.

Underwood explained that non-EU students were a major part of the LSE's student population; so in an effort to continue recruiting international students, the school had little choice but to substantially increase expenditure on staff, etc to make sure that they comply with the UK's immigration rules.

MPs are currently investigating the issue of student visas after a report published in March by the National Audit Office found serious errors in the way the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) implemented Tier 4 visa changes. The report claimed that up to 50,000 bogus students may have been improperly issued UK Tier 4 visas.

"The rules have gone too far," Timothy Blake, principal of the London School of English said. "Legitimate students are being seriously affected by rules designed to take out bogus students."

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Australia announces immigration increase to fill skill gaps

The Australian Government announced that they will increase the places available in the 2012–13 migration program in order to help fill skills shortages in parts of Australia.

"The measured increase of 5000 places—from 185 000 to 190 000—comes in the context of significant skills gaps in both the short and medium term in certain sectors of our patchwork economy," said Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen.

The 2012–13 migration program includes 129,250 places for skilled workers, 60,185 family places, and a special eligibility stream of 565 places.

"It's obviously important that people be able to live with family members, which is recognised in the increased places to help meet growing demand. Importantly, partners and children can also be great contributors to our nation's productivity," Bowen said.

Bowen added that regional visas would continue to be given high processing priority in order to help address regional employers skill shortages and encourage regional migration.

Up to 16,000 places have been reserved for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme to ensure that regional areas are able to fill skills gaps and grow local economies.

"Skilled migrants are increasingly moving to growth regions and places where there is demand—they are complementing rather than competing with our domestic labour force," Bowen said. "Further recent reforms have made employer-sponsored programs more streamlined and responsive."

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Zealand computer error incorrectly approves hundreds for visa

Hundreds of New Zealand visa applicants were accidentally approved for visas following a computer error last week. The Silver Fern Visa scheme is limited to 300 visas annually, but a computer glitch at Immigration New Zealand incorrectly accepted a further 330 visa applications after the quota had been filled.

"A technical fault occurred shortly after the Silver Fern opened which enabled people to submit applications after all the places had been filled," said Rob Stevens, Immigration New Zealand's service support general manager.

According to Stevens, roughly 4000 people were logged on to the website to apply for the visa; All the visas were used up less than half an hour after Immigration New Zealand started accepting applications. Then an email was sent to 630 applicants informing them that they had "successfully submitted'' their applications and that their payment had been accepted. Hours later a second email was sent out to correct the original email that said: "We regret to advise you of a technical fault ... and that your application was accepted in error.'' Applicants were told to apply again "when the quota reopens about this time next year''.

Stevens confirmed that the first 300 applications received would be processed, while the visa applications that were accidentally approved after the quota was filled would be cancelled and the money refunded.

"We have obtained the exact time that each payment was confirmed from the payment system, and used this to determine the first 300 applicants,'' Stevens said. "We are resolving the problem with our IT vendors to identify why it occurred and to prevent it from happening again.''

Since the Silver Fern Visa scheme was launched in 2010, the visa quota has been filled within 30 minutes of becoming available each year. Visa holders will be granted a nine month work visa allowing them to work for any employer in New Zealand. If they obtain skilled work, they can progress to the two-year Silver Fern Practical Experience work visa.

In order to be eligible for the visa you must:

  • be between the ages of 20 and 35 years old
  • apply from outside New Zealand
  • hold a recognised bachelors degree, higher qualification, or a recognised trade qualification with a minimum of two years of work experience in that trade
  • meet the English language requirements
  • have a minimum of NZ$4,200 available funds to meet your living costs while you are in New Zealand.
  • not have been previously granted a Silver Fern Job Search visa.

Once a Silver Fern Job Search Visa holder finds skilled employment, they can apply for a two year Silver Fern Practical Work Experience Visa. There will be no annual limit to the number of people who can apply under the Silver Fern Practical Experience visa but only visa holders of the Silver Fern Job Search Visa can apply; This in effect limits the number of people who can apply for the Silver Fern Practical Work Experience Visa.

Eligible applicants must:

  • have a full-time job offer for at least 12 months
  • have a position that meets our skill requirements in an occupation at skill level one, two or three on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO).
  • hold occupational registration if that is a requirement for the job.

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


Monday, May 21, 2012

Australian budget immigration changes

Following our announcement about Australia's decision to increase immigration numbers to fill skill gaps, we have further information regarding Australia's 2012-13 budget and future immigration changes.

Visa Health criteria

From 1 July 2012, the government will change the health criteria for visa applications. Any Australian visa application can be refused if the estimated costs of treating a pre-existing health condition exceed a "significant cost threshold". Currently, the threshold is $21,000, but from 1 July 2012 this will be increased to $35,000. This change will likely help more people become eligible for Australian visas.

Visa Fee Increases

Visa fees will increase for several Australian visas including the following:

  • Increase in passenger movement charge from $8 to $55.
  • Increase in Visa label charges from 2012-13 to increase from $60 to $70.
  • Increase in price of paper lodgements 2013-14 from $60 to $80.

Also, each additional visa applicant will now be charged for. Currently, family members of the main visa applicant can be included in a visa application without an additional fee.

These changes are expected to be in effect from 1 July 2012.

New Employer Penalties

New penalties will be introduced for employers who employ workers in breach of their visa conditions. The penalties will operate on a "strict liability" basis, meaning it does not have to be proven that a person intended to commit the offence; doing the act is itself enough for a conviction. There are already criminal penalties for employers who employ people illegally. However, it is difficult to enforce and has led to only a handful of successful prosecutions.

Penalties to employers could include a warning, infringement notices, financial penalties, civil penalties, or criminal prosecution for the most serious breaches.

It is expected that the new penalties will be introduced at the end of this year.

Pacific Seasonal Worker Program Expanded

The Pacific Seasonal Worker Program will be expanded to 12,000 places over the next four years. Agricultural, fisheries and tourism industries will also be able to use the program for the first time.

The Pacific Seasonal Worker Program allows seasonal workers from Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Vanuatu who have been invited by an Approved Employer to come to Australia to work. Under this program Pacific seasonal workers:

  • are able work in Australia for four to six months
  • may return to work in future years, if they comply with visa conditions
  • are limited to working with Approved Employers
  • must maintain private health insurance during their stay
  • are not permitted to apply for another visa while in Australia
  • need to pay for own living expenses, other incidentals and part of their international and domestic travel
  • are not be able to bring dependants with them
  • must be aged between 21–45 years. Citizens of Kiribati must be aged between 25–40 years.

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

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fewer Asians immigrating to Canada

Since 2006, Canadian immigration applications from many Asian countries have dropped by more than half. Critics claim that the drop in applications from China, India, the Philippines and Pakistan is because the country's recent policy changes favour some immigrant countries over others.

Statistics show a significant drop in the annual number of Chinese, Indians, Filipinos and Pakistanis applying for permanent residency between 2006 and 2011. Specifically, applications from China fell 45 percent; India by almost 51 percent; the Philippines by 32 percent; and Pakistan by 65 percent.

While the number of Canadian immigration applications did decrease overall for the top 10 source countries, the declines of the Asian countries were bigger than English or French-speaking countries. The top 10 source countries include the US, France, the UK, China, and India.

Additionally, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the number of immigration applications from the US has dropped by only 10 percent and applicants from France fell by 7 percent in 2011.

In recent years, Canada has been making significant changes to the immigration system by tightening language requirements, restricting eligibility to limited occupations in demand, and capping the amount of applications accepted each year. If you would like to see what occupations are still available for Canada's Federal Skilled Worker Program, please check our updated report here.

"I really don't care where people come from as long as they are able to succeed in Canada. I think more employers have the same attitude," Canadian Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said. "One issue here is language proficiency. All of the data says the primary reason why foreign trained professionals are not hired in Canada is language proficiency, which is an indicator of people's soft social skills.

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

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Changes announced for US J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program

The US State Department has announced significant changes to the J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program following an investigation that found widespread abuses in the program.

The J-1 Summer Work and Travel Program is a cultural-exchange program that brings more than 100,000 foreign college students to the US each year. It allows foreign college students to spend up to four months living and working in the US.

While some of the rules are effective immediately, others won't take effect until November 2012, including one of the most significant changes, which would prohibit visa-holders from working in "goods-producing" industries, such as manufacturing, construction and agriculture. The new rules also ban visa-holders from working in jobs in which the primary hours are between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The changes following a recent investigation that found that some participants were working and living in unsafe conditions. Last year, foreign students issued numerous complaints about work conditions to the department. The rules were changed in order to ensure that participants are treated properly and receive cultural experience while in the US.

"In recent years, the work component has too often overshadowed the core cultural component necessary for the Summer Work Travel Program to be consistent with the intent of the Fulbright-Hays Act," the State Department said. "Also, the Department learned that criminal organizations were involving participants in incidents relating to the illegal transfer of cash, the creation of fraudulent businesses, and violations of immigration law."

"The new reforms for the Summer Work Travel program focus on strengthening protections for the health, safety and welfare of the participants, and on bringing the program back to its primary purpose, which is to provide a cultural experience for international students," said Robin Lerner, a deputy assistant secretary for the State Department.

Participation in the visa program has increased from about 20,000 students in 1996 to more than 150,000 in 2008. Roughly 1 million foreign students have taken part in the past decade. The students come from around the world, with some of the top participating countries being Russia, Brazil, Ukraine, Thailand, Ireland, Bulgaria, Peru, Moldova and Poland.

In November, the State Department announced they had temporarily stopped accepting any new sponsors. Only State Department approved sponsors can issue the Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status, which is the main document needed to support an application for a J-1 Visa. The State Department said that sponsors who can show their participants are being exposed to US culture outside of work will be approved to issue the Certificate of Eligibility to participants for a period of two years.

In order to be eligible for the program, applicants must be:

  • Sufficiently proficient in English to successfully interact in an English speaking environment;
  • Post-secondary school students enrolled in and actively pursuing a degree or other full-time course of study at an accredited post-secondary educational institution outside the US;
  • Have successfully completed at least one semester or equivalent of post-secondary academic study; and
J-1 Visas issued in the Summer Work/ Travel category are valid for a stay of four months with no extensions allowed.

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

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Australian Immigration creates video to advise visa overstayers

Australian Immigration has released a new video online in 14 languages that advises Australian visa overstayers on how to resolve their immigration status.

The new video, created by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship contains necessary information for those that are unsure of how to resolve their situation.

"People who have overstayed their visas can be unaware of what to do or even where they can go to find out," a departmental spokesman said. "They often rely on information from family, friends or the general community, which can be misleading or not relevant to them."

According to the departmental spokesman, visa overstayers can be granted a short-term Bridging Visa so the individual has time to make the proper arrangements to leave Australia, or, if they are eligible, to apply for another Australian visa.

"Resolving someone's visa status proactively not only saves the person a lot of angst, but benefits our compliance teams who can concentrate on illegal workers and employers or contractors willfully flouting the Migration Act," the spokesman added.

Visa over stayers should probably research their situation on their own before seeking advice from an immigration officer as there is the possibility of being detained or immediately deported from the country if you don't have a valid visa. Also, if you have overstayed your visa and are deported you may not be allowed to return to the country or access an Australian for several years depending on your situation.

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Canada's Federal Skilled Worker occupation cap is filling up - Apply now!

Canada's Federal Skilled Worker visa program is filling up quickly. Those looking to emigrate should consider the Federal Skilled Worker program. This skilled immigration program is for people in a range of different occupations.

If you have skills and experience in occupations listed on the Priority Occupation List under the Canadian skilled worker visa category you will not need sponsorship by an employer. However there are only 15 remaining occupations that you can come under without a job offer.

In order to be eligible for the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker program you must:
  • have a valid offer of arranged employment, or
  • have one year of continuous full-time paid work experience in at least one of the occupations listed on the Priority 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.
Between 1 July 2011, and 30 June 2012, a maximum of 10,000 complete Federal Skilled Worker applications will be considered for processing. This means there is a cap of 500 Federal Skilled Worker applications per eligible occupation. As of 8 May 2012, the following occupations are still available for applications:

Occupation Number of visas remaining
Primary Production Managers (Except Agriculture) 288
Physiotherapists 44
Medical Radiation Technologists 380
Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists 419
Psychologists 221
Chefs 219
Contractors and Supervisors, Carpentry Trades 246
Electricians (Except Industrial and Power System) 195
Industrial Electricians 155
Plumbers 400
Welders and Related Machine Operators 395
Heavy-Duty Equipment Mechanics 411
Crane Operators 478
Drillers and Blasters – Surface Mining, Quarrying and Construction 480
Supervisors, Oil and Gas Drilling and Service 288

Skilled workers who meet the visa program's requirements which includes the requirement that you have at least one year of continuous full-time or equivalent part-time paid work experience within the last ten years can apply for a visa under the Federal Skilled Worker program. Applicants also need to pass the official language proficiency test in order to apply.

If you come under one of these occupations and gain enough points under the skilled worker visa category you should be able to emigrate to Canada. You can still apply under the Federal Skilled Worker visa even if your occupation is not on the list so long as your employer can prove that they cannot find a citizen or permanent resident in Canada to do the job.

However, if your occupation is listed on the Priority Occupation List, you are eligible for skilled migration to Canada without needing to have a job offer from a Canadian employer. In addition, processing times are quite quick; You may be able to gain entry to Canada within months of beginning the application process.

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 visit our Canadian page for more information:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Study finds US immigrants more likely to start a business than non-immigrants

A recent study has found that US immigrants are more likely to start a business than native-born US citizens. The study was conducted by the Office of Advocacy of the US Small Business Administration an independent group that voices concerns from small businesses to the federal government.

The study, titled Immigrant Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners, and their Access to Financial Capital found that 10 percent of immigrants in the US own their own business. Furthermore, nearly 20 percent of immigrant-owned businesses had USD$50,000 or more in startup capital, compared to only 15.9 percent for non-immigrant-owned businesses.

"Immigrant entrepreneurs are essential to our nation's growth and economic prosperity," said Chief Counsel for Advocacy, Winslow Sargeant. "Immigrant entrepreneurs make our nation more competitive and serve as reminders of the American dream."

The study found that roughly two-thirds of immigrant-owned businesses reported that their main source of startup capital was personal or family savings. Other commonly reported sources of startup capital by immigrant-owned businesses included credit cards, bank loans, and home equity loans. The study showed that these sources of startup capital were similar to non-immigrant-owned businesses.

The study added that immigrants have a "proclivity towards entrepreneurship" and that barriers between immigrant entrepreneurs and access to financial capital need to be removed in order to maximize the "untapped" potential of this group.

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

Friday, May 11, 2012

Canada proposes changes to immigrant entrepreneur visa program

Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced the department would be discussing the possibility of bringing in changes to the immigrant entrepreneur scheme. Citizenship and Immigration Canada's current immigrant entrepreneur program has been suspended since 1 July 2011.

"Our Government's top priority remains jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. Canada cannot afford to lose out in the competition for foreign entrepreneurs among immigrant-receiving countries," said Kenney. "We need to proactively target a new type of immigrant entrepreneur who has the potential to build innovative companies that can compete on a global scale and create jobs for Canadians."

In the coming months, CIC said they plan to consult with industry associations in the development of a new "startup" visa program for entrepreneurs. These proposed changes will help immigrant entrepreneurs connect with private sector organizations that have experience and expertise working with startups.

"This "startup" visa initiative is an example of the type of small-scale programs that would allow CIC to try innovative approaches to economic immigration," said a government press release.

Canadian immigration also hinted at the possibility of creating other short-term visa programs under the Economic Immigration Class. The proposal is that these visa programs would be limited to no more than 2,750 applications per year and would end after five years. If a program is successful during the five-year trial period, then CIC could choose to extend it.

"Our Government is committed to strengthening the immigration system to make it truly proactive, targeted, fast and efficient in a way that will sustain Canada's economic growth and deliver prosperity for the future," said Kenney.

Immigration Minister Kenney also announced on 13 April that they would begin consultations on changing the immigrant investor program, which currently requires a five-year investment of $800,000.

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Streamlined Australian visa applications for vocational students

International students will soon find it easier to study at Australian educational institutions on Technical and Further Education (TAFE) courses under new streamlined visa arrangements. TAFE courses are typically vocational courses in industries such as business, finance, tourism, construction and engineering.

New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell announced this week that the streamlined visa arrangements, currently only available to students studying at universities, would be extended to high-quality vocational education and training providers including TAFE courses.

"The reforms will reduce the documentary evidence needed by international students, irrespective of their country of origin, intending to study in NSW," O'Farrell said."It will put us back in the game as we compete with other education markets around the world."

According to state government figures, the number of international student enrolments at NSW vocational education and training schools decreased over 20 percent between 2009 and 2011.

During a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, the federal government agreed that relaxing the Australia visa restrictions would help state and territorial economies. The Australian government has agreed to introduce the new visa requirements in time for enrolments later this year.

Streamlined visa processing for university students went into effect on 24 March 2012. Under this program, 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. Their applications will be assessed as though they were a lower migration risk in Assessment Level 1, regardless of their country of origin; Australian immigration feels that nationals of certain Countries are more likely to break their immigration laws.

Australian assessment levels so that the student visa requirements take into account the perceived immigration risk posed by applicants from a particular country studying in a particular education sector. Assessment Level 1 represents the lowest immigration risk and Assessment Level 5 the highest. The higher the assessment level, the greater the evidence an applicant is required to demonstrate to support their application for the grant of a student visa.

Eligible students still have to meet the same requirements in regard to English-language proficiency and financial requirements. However, they will not have to submit as much documentary evidence that currently exists under the higher Assessment levels.

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Asian immigrants important to New Zealand

A new report claims that New Zealand risks losing out on the potential benefits of having Asian business graduates in their workforce if they continue to face barriers in finding jobs and obtaining visas after graduation.

The report by the Asia New Zealand Foundation, a non-profit organisation aiming to increase New Zealand's knowledge and understanding of Asia, said that Asian business graduates can help New Zealand companies build links with international markets. But the country could miss out on this if Asian graduates are forced to leave because they are unable to find jobs easily and transition to new visas.

Asia New Zealand said New Zealand needs to create new policies that give Asian graduates information about the transition from study to work and how to apply for new visas.

"Fostering such an environment is likely to serve the long-term interests of New Zealand, whether graduates stay and contribute to the local economy, or leave maintaining connections and recommending the country to others", said one of the report's authors, Terry McGrath, Massey University international student chaplain.

Asia New Zealand Foundation director of policy and research Dr Andrew Butcher said New Zealand could benefit "enormously" from the graduates' skills. He added that the case studies in the report show that if the business graduates have positive study and employment experiences here, New Zealand can benefit greatly from their business entrepreneurial skills.

The report was based off a study Asia New Zealand conducted by tracking more than 250 Asian business students and graduates for the past three years.

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

UK universities suggest ways to monitor Tier 4 visa student attendance

A UK vice-chancellor has warned that UK universities may be compelled to use swipe cards that monitor foreign student attendance to comply with tough new UK immigration rules.

Quintin McKellar, vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, said the university was considering introducing an electronic registration system that would allow the school to prove that its foreign students on Tier 4 visas were attending lectures.

McKellar said he came to this conclusion following recent visits from the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to Hertfordshire's campus as part of the government's crackdown on Tier 4 student visa abuse.

In order to gain the UKBA's highly trusted sponsor status, all UK higher education institutions must provide evidence that their non-European Union students are actively attending courses. This status is necessary for the university to sponsor foreign students on Tier 4 UK visas.

McKellar said that without an electronic register to prove attendance, it is difficult to demonstrate compliance with Tier 4 student visa requirements.

"It is becoming clear that we have to have a real-time register of where students are," he told an audience at the Higher Education Funding Council for England's annual conference in London on 18 April 2012. "Will they need swipe cards? And is that discriminatory and does it affect civil liberties? The way the UKBA is going, it is going to compel us to do this."

Some UK higher education institutions already use, or are considering implementing systems that can monitor student attendance.

"When you have budget restraints, spending money on monitoring students is ridiculous," said Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students.

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

Monday, May 7, 2012

Canada creates fast track approval process for employers hiring temporary workers

Canada announced this week that if businesses are frustrated by red tape and delays in hiring temporary immigrant workers they may be able to fast track their foreign worker visas.

Canada's Human Resources and Skills Development Minister, Diane Finley, announced that businesses with a two-year positive history of successfully hiring temporary foreign workers will be allowed to apply for fast-tracked hiring. A positive history means that the company has a consistent history of filing genuine and successful visa applications and have not violated any immigration rules. Finley also noted that businesses who violate the rules will have their ability to hire temporary foreign workers suspended for two years.

"Employers with a strong track record in need of high-skilled workers will be able to obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) within 10 business days," Finley said. "Even better news, this is effective immediately."

The fast tracked LMO process will initially apply to Canadian businesses hiring high-skilled immigrant workers.

Canadian employers are currently required in most cases to apply for a LMO before they can hire a foreign worker. This means the company must first prove that it has made an effort to recruit locally and within the country. If it has been unable to find workers, it must apply to Service Canada and receive permission to hire someone for a two-year period from outside the country.

However, recently many Canadian companies have complained about the backlog in Service Canada's processing of LMOs. Some have reported applications taking up to several months to process.

After a Canadian company is approved to hire from abroad, the workers recruited must then apply for a work visa through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. While this new process will help employers complete LMOs faster, this will not fast-track the actual visa applications that workers need to submit after the LMOs are approved.

The new system will also cut down on paperwork for businesses since they'll be able to apply online.

According to Finley, Canadian immigration expects to process about 150,000 temporary foreign worker applications this year.

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

Friday, May 4, 2012

UK Tier 4 Student Visa work rights

The UK immigration Tier 4 Student Visa is for foreign students who wish to study in the UK. If you have been accepted for a full-time position at a UK educational institution, you may be eligible to enter the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa.

You may also be able to work while studying in the UK. The following information details which students are eligible to work and how long they are allowed to work under their Tier 4 visa.

Students who applied for a visa prior to 4 July 2011

You are allowed to:
do part-time work during term time;
do full-time work during vacations;
do a work placement as part of your course;
work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; and
work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

The maximum amount of part-time work you can do during term time is:
20 hours per week if you are studying a course at or above UK degree level or a foundation degree course, and/or if you made your Tier 4 (General) application on or before 2 March 2010; or
10 hours per week if you are studying a course that is below UK degree level and is not a foundation degree course, and you made your Tier 4 (General) application on or after 3 March 2010.
Students who applied for a visa after 4 July 2011

If you are participating in a course at or above NQF 6/QCF 6/SCQF 9 which typically means a Bachelors degree program or higher at a UK higher education institution you are allowed to:
work for up to 20 hours per week during term time;
work full-time during vacations;
do a work placement as part of your course;
work as a postgraduate doctor or dentist on a recognised Foundation Programme; and
work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

However, if you are participating in a course below this level at a UK higher education institution, you are allowed to:
work for up to 10 hours per week during term time;
work full-time during vacations;
do a work placement as part of your course; and
work as a student union sabbatical officer for up to 2 years.

You are not allowed to work in the UK if you are on a course at any level with an education provider that is not a UK higher education institution or a publicly funded further education college.

Please note that you must not be filling a full-time permanent role. Also you must not be self-employed, employed as a doctor in training (except on a recognised Foundation Programme) or as a professional sportsperson, coach or entertainer.

You can work full-time during vacations, within the above limits. If your course is completed and you have applied to remain in the UK under another visa in the points-based system, before your existing permission to stay expires, you are allowed to work full-time until your application is decided.


Your spouse may work in the UK if the grant of leave is for more than 12 months. If your visa was granted for a period of less than 12 months or you are participating in a course of study below degree level, your spouse will not be allowed to work in the UK. In order to be granted entry clearance as a spouse, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner, you must both be aged 18 or older.

From 4 July 2011, you cannot bring your dependants to the UK unless you are:
sponsored by a higher education institution on a course at or above an NQF level 7 or in a masters degree program or higher which lasts 12 months or more; or
a new government-sponsored student following a course which lasts longer than 6 months

If you are interested in studying in the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, our immigration advisors can help. If you complete our student immigration enquiry form one of our representatives will be happy to contact you to let you know about the immigration process and possible universities in the country of your choice.

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

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Australia reports increase in 457 visa applicants immigrating to Queensland

Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has announced that 2,500 foreign workers immigrated to Queensland in the past year to fill vacancies in mining and construction.

The figures from DIAC reveal that in the 12 months to 21 February 2012, 34 percent of foreign workers on 457 visas in Queensland were working in these boom industries, which are currently experiencing significant labour shortages. There is high demand to for those experienced in resources industries to immigrate to Queensland. In 2011 Queensland Mining Expos attracted 50,000 expressions of interest over three months, according to Mining Industry Skills Centre CEO Derek Hunter.

And DIAC says the demand for talented foreign workers is only increasing, with UK workers being in greatest demand, followed by the US and India. Nearly 1,360 construction workers arrived in the past 12 months on 457 Temporary business visas, according to DIAC. That number is more than double the 670 construction workers that arrived the previous year. Also, foreign workers entering the mining industry increased from 560 to 1,180 in the same period.

However not everyone believes this is a positive thing for Australia or immigrant workers. Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union construction state secretary Michael Ravbarcor said the use of the Australian 457 visas was a way to "bring in foreign workers who (businesses) can exploit by paying lower wages".

"Their employer can threaten to cancel their visa and ship the 457 worker home if they bring up any concerns of safety or wage conditions," Ravbarcor claimed, adding that that the Housing Industry of Australia and Master Builders Queensland both believe the skills shortage was exaggerated.

DIAC's figures show that Queensland immigrant construction workers have been earning a total of $124,400 a year on average. Also, Mine workers on the Australian 457 visa earned a total of $131,900 a year on average.

Chamber of Commerce Industry Queensland advocacy general manager Nick Behrenscor claims that Queensland needs more workers because Australian skilled workers do now wish to move to regional areas.

"They don't want to go west, they want to stay on the eastern seaboard and aren't prepared to relocate to regional Queensland," he said. "The process is very stringent, you cannot source a 457 visa if there are people to fill the position."

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Survey reveals nearly half of UK citizens interested in emigrating

Following a recent poll it was found that almost 50 percent of UK citizens are "seriously considering" emigrating overseas.

The poll, conducted by YouGov, an international UK-based market research agency, asked 1,650 UK adults in a survey if they were interested in immigrating to another country. Six per cent of those polled said they are actively making plans to leave, and 42 percent said they will seriously consider it.

Among the important factors UK adults considered were the cost of living, which was named by 52 percent as a good reason for leaving and the weather which scored 37 percent. Also job availability was important to 31 percent and crime 27 percent. However, 25 percent said they would miss Britain's countryside and 19 percent would miss the National Health Service.

Most people said they wished to emigrate to Australia followed by the US, Canada and New Zealand.

If you are interested in emigrating abroad you might want to consider some of the following Work Visas offered in various countries.


Subclass 457 visa

You can immigrate to Australia under a Subclass 457 visa if you sponsored by an eligible employer to fill a nominated skilled position in Australia. Australian employers and overseas employers can sponsor a skilled worker under a 457 visa for any period of time from one day to four years. Family members are also welcome and are allowed to work and/or study during their stay in Australia.

As an employee, you must meet all the following requirements:

  • be sponsored by an employer to fill a nominated position
  • have skills, qualifications, experience and an employment background which match those required for the position
  • demonstrated English language proficiency
  • be eligible for any relevant licences or registration required for the nominated position
Employees must also meet various health requirements, including having health insurance. In addition, employees must meet character requirements through background checks.

General Skilled Migration program

This program is for skilled workers who want to immigrate to Australia and who do not have an employer sponsoring them. Independent migrants can apply under the Skilled Independent Migrant Visa (Subclass 175). Under this visa you and your family can live as permanent residents in Australia.
In order to be eligible for this visa you must:

  • be under 50 years of age
  • have competent English language skills
  • have the skills and qualifications that meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List.


Provincial Nominee Program

Most provinces in Canada have an agreement with the government that allows them to nominate immigrants who wish to settle in that province. If you choose to immigrate to Canada as a provincial nominee, you must first apply to the province where you wish to settle and complete its provincial nomination process.

After you have been nominated by a province or territory, you have to make a separate application to for permanent residence.

Eligibility requirements vary for each province.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

This program is for skilled workers who are selected as permanent residents based on their ability to become economically established in Canada.

For your application to be eligible for processing, you must:

  • have a valid offer of arranged employment, OR
  • have one year of continuous full-time paid work experience in at least one of the occupations listed here 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.
Please note though, if you are applying under one of the 29 eligible occupations, only a maximum of 500 Federal Skilled Worker applications per eligible occupation will be considered for processing each year. PhD applications are subject to a separate annual cap of 1,000. Occupations that have not yet met the cap include Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists, Psychologists, Chefs, and Electricians.

Global Visa Support offers over 90 programmes in 6 different countries. You can see all our available programmes here:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

US H-1B visas may not last

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that, as of 13 April 2012, it has already received 20,600 H-1B cap-subject petitions. Additionally, they have received 9,700 H-1B visa petitions for foreigners with US advanced degrees.

This is a significant increase from the last count of 25,600 only four days earlier. The rate of filings for April has increased markedly for FY 2013 when compared to FY 2012. However, the rate of filings is still quite low compared to say 2008 when the H-1B visa cap was reached in the first week of the application season. Before the economic crisis later in the same year the H-1B visa quota was always reached very quickly.

USCIS officially began accepting the applications for the popular H-1B visa program from 2 April 2012 for positions with a start date of 1 October 2012 or later. Each year 65,000 visas are available for regular H-1B visa cap petitions for graduate level foreign workers in professional or specialty occupation positions. Also, an additional 20,000 visas are made available for US Master or higher H-1B cap petitions for those with advanced degrees awarded at US universities.

Therefore, employers considering filing H-1B applications are encouraged to expedite cases so that they may be filed as soon as possible. Once the visa cap has been reached, USCIS will stop accepting H-1B petitions for FY 2013 and will not accept new applications until 1 April 2013.

The IT industry is still "the greatest mover" for the H-1B visa according to USCIS press secretary Christopher Bentley. He noted that US employers are "requiring workers from India and China in greater proportions".

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