Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Language and employment biggest barriers for new Canadian immigrants

A new study has shown that the biggest concern for new immigrants and refugees settling in Ontario are finding employment and making sure that they have suitable language skills. Immigrants have difficulty finding work in Canada if they do not have adequate language skills.

The study, titled "Making Ontario Home", by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) uses research carried out over a period of two years analyzing newcomers' experience with use of immigrant services in the province.

"This study shows that investment in settlement and integration services is making a real difference in the lives of immigrants," said Debbie Douglas, executive director of OCASI. "Investing in services at the front-end as soon as immigrants arrive, will have significant long-term benefits for immigrants and their families as well as Canadian society and the economy."

Nearly two-thirds of the 2,530 respondents said employment was their highest concern, while immigrant and refugee-serving agencies were the main access point for employment service. According to the report, skills upgrading programs helped foreign trained professionals find jobs in the region.

"Putting the skills of newcomers to work and improving their social and economic integration is key to Ontario's economic prosperity," said Charles Sousa, Ontario's minister of Citizenship and Immigration. "Ontario is committed to supporting these important immigrant services, which this study confirms remain a priority for newcomers."

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Of the 83 percent who had used at least one settlement support service, 54.7 percent used language training programs, 50 percent used employment and skills training services;
  • 70 percent or more who had used language training programs rated them as "satisfactory" or "very satisfactory";
  • Transportation/distance was the most common barrier to accessing services;
  • Counselling and advice was the most-used general settlement service.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/canada.html

Monday, July 30, 2012

UK immigration officials call off pre-Olympics strike

UK immigration officers have called off their 24-hour strike planned for 26 July. Immigration staff had threatened to strike this week on the eve of the Olympic Games in a dispute over pay and job losses.

The strike would have included border staff who man passport and visa check desks at Heathrow airport and could have possibly created a massive delay as Olympic visitors come to London.

Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said that progress had been made in talks with ministers over looming job cuts. He said it was a promise of new investment and 1,100 new jobs, that was recently confirmed in talks this week that had persuaded them to call off the action.

"These new jobs are a welcome step towards a recognition that the Home Office has been cracking under the strain of massive job losses, and that the answer is not more cuts but more investment," Serwotka said. "We are pleased that with these new posts and the progress made in talks we are able to avert a strike ahead of the Olympics. But we first raised our concerns 18 months ago, so it is deeply regrettable that ministers allowed this dispute to escalate."

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Friday, July 27, 2012

British nationality applications must be submitted to UKBA Liverpool office

From 16 July 2012 if you are applying for British nationality from outside the UK you will have to send your application forms to the UK Border Agency's office in Liverpool. This change does not apply to residents of Hong Kong who can continue to submit their application at their local British High Commission or British Consulate.

Previously applicants could apply at the British High Commission or British Consulate in their home country. Now applicants must send their application to the UKBA's office in Liverpool and pay by completing a payment slip and sending it with their application and supporting documents.

"If we need to contact you about your application we will contact you by e-mail. If you do not provide us with your email address the processing of your application may be delayed. If we are unable to contact you by email we will write to you via your nearest British High Commission or British Consulate," explained a UKBA spokesman.

While the UKBA strongly recommends that you send your original passport, if you cannot because the authorities of your country do not allow passports to cross national borders, you should send a complete copy of your passport that has been certified by a local notary or equivalent.

Citizens of the following countries may have difficulty sending their original passports: Afghanistan, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, North Korea, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Western Sahara.

"If you submit a copy of your passport, you may be asked to provide or present the original document to one of our staff, in your country, for verification. Once we have made a decision on your application, your nearest British High Commission or British Consulate will contact you," the spokesman said.

"If you are applying to naturalise as a British citizen, your nearest British High Commission or British Consulate will contact you about your citizenship ceremony, if applicable, and completing the process of naturalisation. You will be presented with your citizenship certificate at your citizenship ceremony. If you are not required to attend a citizenship ceremony, your nearest British High Commission or British Consulate will contact you about collecting your citizenship certificate," he added.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Canadian immigration issues record number of visitor visas

Canadian immigration announced they have issued a record number of visitor visas this year with over 500,000 issued since the start of 2012. This same time last year, Canada had issued 450,000 visitor visas to foreigners visiting the country.

These numbers do not take into account the number of citizens traveling from countries who do not require visas to come to Canada. Canadian immigration estimates nearly ninety percent of visitors to Canada come from countries who do not require a visa. Citizens of countries like Australia, the UK, the US, and New Zealand do not require visas to visit Canada.

"Canada is the best country in the world, so it is not surprising that so many people want to visit our country," said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. "Our country's vibrant cities and remote wilderness are a draw for Canadians and international travellers alike."

Canadian immigration said that since Canada's tourist season is now in full swing, they expect to issue over one million visas by the end of the year.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please check our Canadian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/canada.html

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

UK Border Agency immigration case work system delayed by one year

The UK Border Agency's new £385 million Immigration Case Work (ICW) system is one year behind schedule and has exceeded its original budget by £28m, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

In a recent report the NAO says that the ICW is crucial to the UKBA's efforts to improve casework processing. The new system will create a streamlined case work process, saving the government money. It is also expected to improve the quality and accuracy of immigration decisions and provide faster service to the public through the use of online self-service applications.

However, the NAO claimed that the ICW "suffered from a loss of focus, poor governance structures and optimism bias in planning and reporting."

The NAO does acknowledge that the ICW has successfully implemented some important procedures such as the i-Search function that enable caseworkers to access information held across 12 different systems more quickly. However, there has been a significant delay in implementing the ICW system.

"The UK Border Agency and the Border Force deserve credit for taking on an ambitious programme of change, but both organisations face a steep climb to ensure this work delivers both value for money and a good service," Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said. "The real leadership test will be whether the agency can transform casework processing without relying solely on new IT."

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Monday, July 23, 2012

Canada to expand Alberta's Temporary Foreign Worker pilot project

Canadian immigration has announced they are expanding the Temporary Foreign Worker pilot project which allows Alberta employers to hire highly skilled foreign workers in certain in-demand occupations.

"Alberta is facing some of the most acute labour shortages in the country," said Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. "The expansion of this pilot project will enable more employers in Alberta to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis to fill short-term skills and labour needs when Canadians or permanent residents are unavailable."

The pilot program was originally launched 1 June 2011 and allows eligible immigrants to come to Alberta to work temporarily in a specific occupation. This visa program issues them with a work permit that allows them to move freely between Alberta employers, without requiring authorization from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada/Service Canada.

Effective immediately, the following occupations are part of the Alberta Temporary Foreign Worker pilot program:

  • Steamfitter/Pipefitter
  • Welder
  • Heavy duty equipment mechanic
  • Ironworker
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic
  • Carpenter
  • Estimator
"Our consultations with Alberta employers and our own labour forecasts show there is a need to expand the pilot to include these high-demand occupations," said Alberta Minister of Enterprise and Advanced Education Stephen Khan. "We appreciate the cooperation and support of our federal colleagues in working with us to help employers get the workers they need sooner."

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/canada.html

Friday, July 20, 2012

Canada to pay failed refugee claimants to leave the country

The Canadian government has announced they will pay some failed refugee claimants up to CAD$2,000 to leave the country and will also pay for a one-way plane ticket.

The new pilot project, run by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), was launched last week in the Greater Toronto Area. The IOM has been in charge of implementing similar projects in other countries.

The Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration pilot program is available for refugee claimants whose applications have been rejected and whose appeals have failed. While it is up to the CBSA to enforce their removal, the federal government is now providing an incentive for them to leave without the necessity of enforcement action. CBSA hopes that more failed refugee claimants will choose to leave voluntarily so that the government does not have to intervene to forcibly remove them from Canada.

Eligible refugee claimants will receive a one-way plane ticket back to their country of origin and up to CAD$2,000. The money, however, is to be used to help the unsuccessful refugee claimant find a job, set up a business or go back to school.

"A voluntary return offers you a way to return home with support, dignity and anonymity," CBSA said.

The amount of money you will receive depends on the current stage in the appeal process following your initial rejection. You will receive the maximum amount if you have not as yet started the appeal process. Applicants are eligible for the full $2,000 if they apply before going to the federal court for a review of the decision, $1,500 if they apply before asking for a pre-removal risk assessment and $1,000 if they have already made that application and received a decision.

As an added incentive until July 13, applicants will be eligible for the full $2,000 even if they have already filed appeals.

However, critics have described the scheme as a "bribe" to keep refugee cases away from the courts.

"The idea is to incentive people to execute their own removal order, which in principle, I don't really have a problem with," Toronto immigration lawyer Joel Sandaluk claimed. "Except for the fact that … what it is also doing is incentivizing people not to seek judicial review of the refugee board's decision in federal court."

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Canada. Please visit our Canadian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/canada.html

Thursday, July 19, 2012

High-risk UK Tier 4 visa applicants - tougher interviews from 30 July

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green announced that a targeted interview system for Tier 4 student visa applicants will be introduced 30 July and will focus on high-risk applicants. It is not clear yet how UK Immigration will determine who is a high-risk applicant.

Following a successful pilot programme, the new interview system will ask students a number of questions about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans, and financial circumstances. The UKBA says they expect to interview up to 14,000 students in the next 12 months and will refuse visas if they are not satisfied that you are a genuine student.

"With more interviews and greater powers to refuse bogus students we will weed out abuse and protect the UK from those looking to play the system," said Green. "Under the current system UK Border Agency officers are unable to refuse some applications even if they have serious concerns over the credibility of the student - we are toughening up the system to ensure genuine students benefit from our country's excellent education sector."

The UKBA carried out a pilot programme for the new interviewing system last year to address concerns about the legitimacy of some applicants. More than 2,300 student visa applicants were interviewed in 13 overseas posts with the aim of testing how effective face-to-face interviews would be in addition to existing strict application processes that consider fraud and other factors.

Under the pilot, around a fifth of the applicants were refused entry to the UK based on their performance at interview. One of the main issues was the inability of interviewees to show the required level of English. Some were unable to answer basic questions in English without the aid of an interpreter, despite stating on their Tier 4 visa application that they had the necessary language qualifications to meet the higher education standards in the UK.

The UK Home Office stated that the highest levels of refusals on credibility grounds were found among Tier 4 visa applicants from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Nigeria and the Philippines. It is expected that the interview programme will be targeted on those who apply for student visas from those countries.

"Britain is open for business to the brightest and the best migrants but the message is clear - if you lie on your application form or try to hide your true motivation for coming to the UK then you will be found out and refused a visa," added Green.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Australia creates skilled migration advisory council

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has announced the creation of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) which will provide the Australian government with expert advice on the role of skilled migration in the Australian economy.

"Skilled migration plays a valuable role in addressing current and future skill shortages, as well as lessening the impact of Australia's ageing population, and it's important that we have fresh perspectives on how to best address these issues," Bowen said. "This new ministerial advisory council will provide the government with independent advice to help develop our migration policies and programs."

Bowen said the council members had been chosen from a wide range of backgrounds; They have been chosen for their relevant experience, and professional expertise. They will provide advice to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on Australia's temporary and permanent skilled migration programs. This includes reviewing the impact of skilled migration on the Australian economy and labour market, looking at the size and composition of the annual migration program, and considering the contribution of skilled migration to net overseas migration.

MACSM will inevitably be compared with the UK Migration Advisory Committee. It is expected that the Australian Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration will be more pro-immigration than the UK MAC.

Members of the new council include:

  • Michael Easson, chair of the council and executive chair of the EG Property Group
  • Grant O'Brien, Managing Director and CEO Woolworths
  • James Pearson, Chief Executive of Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA
  • Karen Read, General Manager of Financial Services, Commercial and Administration, Xstrata
  • Innes Willox, Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group
  • Paul Howes, National Secretary of Australian Workers' Union
  • Ged Kearney, President of Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Peter McDonald, Director of Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
  • Dave Noonan, National Secretary of Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
  • Peter Tighe, National Secretary of Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia.
Additionally, each state and territory will be represented by a government official nominated by its state premier or territory chief minister.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programmes in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/australia.html

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

UK Family Settlement changes go into effect 9 July 2012

As of 9 July 2012, a number of changes to the UK Immigration Rules came into effect. These changes affect all non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK under the family migration route.

The changes include:

  • Introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring settlement in the UK of a non-EEA spouse or partner, fiancĂ©(e) or proposed civil partner. If you wish to sponsor a child you will have to meet the higher threshold of £22,400 instead of £18,600. Each additional child will cost £2,400 to sponsor.
  • Publishing a list of factors associated with genuine and non-genuine relationships, to help UK Border Agency officers make accurate decisions.
  • Extending the minimum probationary period for settlement for non-EEA spouses and partners from two years to five years, to test the genuineness of the relationship.
  • Abolishing immediate settlement for migrant spouses and partners where a couple have been living together overseas for at least four years.
  • Allowing adult and elderly dependants to settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long-term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK. Also requiring them to apply from overseas rather than switch in the UK from another category.
  • Restricting family visit visa appeals, initially by narrowing the current definitions of family and sponsor for appeal purposes, and then, subject to the passage of the Crime and Courts Bill, removing the full right of appeal against refusal of a family visit visa.
Please note, if you already have leave to enter or remain in the UK, on the basis of being the spouse or partner of a settled person, you will need to meet the rules which were in force before 9 July 2012 if you apply for settlement. The requirements before 9 July 2012 are much more straightforward and you only need to wait two years to gain indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a spouse or partner.

On 11 June 2012, The UK Government announced these changes as part of their plans to reform the UK's immigration rules. The changes are the government's response to recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee.

Guy Taylor, of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), claims the changes are highly discriminatory. JCWI is currently lobbying parliament to have the laws relaxed.

"Young people, women, disabled and older people are going to be disproportionately affected by this rule," Taylor said, citing the fact that adult and elderly dependants can settle in the UK only where they can demonstrate that, as a result of age, illness or disability, they require a level of long term personal care that can only be provided by a relative in the UK.

Also, from October 2013, the UKBA will require all applicants for settlement to pass the Life in the UK Test and an intermediate level English language test at B1 level or above, unless they are exempt. Previously only those applying for citizenship had to meet these requirements.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programmes in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Monday, July 16, 2012

Priority processing available for Australian skilled migration visas

Australian Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, has announced from 1 July 2012, new priority processing arrangements will be in place for certain skilled migration visas.

The priority processing arrangements allow the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) to consider and finalise visa applications in an order of priority that the minister considers appropriate. The new arrangements apply to visa applications for the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS), Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) and certain points based skilled migration visa schemes.

From July 1, 2012, processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) are applications from people who:

  • are sponsored under the RSMS program
  • are sponsored under the ENS program
  • are nominated by a state or territory government agency
  • have nominated an occupation on the Skilled Occupation List
  • all other applications.
Applications for visa subclasses 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, or 489 which are submitted through SkillSelect will be given the highest priority within each priority processing group.

DIAC stated that the changes to priority processing arrangements were made to address the needs of industry by targeting skills in demand across a number of sectors, while ensuring that the Skilled Migration Program is responsive to the current economic climate and the needs of the Australian economy.

The new priority processing arrangements apply to all current applications, including those in the final stages of processing. Priority processing arrangements are subject to changes in response to Australia's economic situation and do not change visa eligibility criteria.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/australia.html

Friday, July 13, 2012

Australia lowers visa passmark - more skilled immigration

We are happy to report that it is now easier for applicants to immigrate to work in Australia since the Australian government has lowered the current pass mark for their SkillSelect program. Australian immigration announced last month that the pass mark to qualify for EOI - SkillSelect would be lowered to 60 points from 1 July 2012. Previously, applicants needed a points score of 65 points to meet the requirements for skilled immigration.

The following visas are affected by this change:

  • Skilled Independent (subclass 189) visa: This points-based visa is for skilled workers who are not sponsored by an employer, a state or territory, or a family member.
  • Skilled - Nominated (subclass 190) visa: This points-based visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory.
  • Skilled - Nominated or Sponsored (Provisional) (subclass 489) visa: This points-based visa is for skilled workers who are nominated by a state or territory or sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area in Australia.
An Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship spokesman said the change to the pass mark was part of the reforms to the skilled migration program.

The following visas will remain open for new applicants until 1 January 2013 and the points test pass mark for these visas will remain at 65 points:

  • Skilled Independent (Residence) Visa (Subclass 885): This visa allows overseas students who have completed their course studies in the last six months in Australia and holders of certain temporary visas to apply for permanent residency.
  • Skilled – Sponsored (Residence) visa (subclass 886): This visa works the same as the Subclass 885 visa but you must be sponsored by an eligible relative living in Australia or obtain nomination from a participating state or territory government agency.
  • Skilled – Regional Sponsored (Provisional) Visa (Subclass 487): This visa is a three year provisional visa for overseas students and certain visa holders who are unable to meet the criteria for a permanent skilled visa. This visa requires you to be either nominated by a participating state or territory government agency or sponsored by an eligible relative living in a designated area of Australia.
All of the above visa categories come under the new SkillSelect program.

Under Australia's new skilled worker program, SkillSelect, applicants have to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) before their visa can be processed. The SkillSelect system works as an electronic two-stage process where prospective visa applicants first submit a claim for skilled migration through an online EOI. Applicants may then be invited to submit an Australian visa application on the basis of their EOI.

Australian visa applicants will be selected to submit an application based on their points test score in a number of selection criteria. You can earn points for your age, English language ability, work experience, and education. All prospective visa applicants will be required to meet the relevant English language requirements and obtain the necessary skills assessment prior to their EOI submission.

The lowering of the pass mark is good news as it means more immigrants will be eligible to apply for an Australian visa.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please check our Australian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/australia.html

Thursday, July 12, 2012

UK visa overstayers will be refused further leave

From 1 October 2012 if you have overstayed your leave in the UK by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be refused. This change in the Immigration Rules will affect applicants applying for further leave under:

  • All work, business and student visa routes such as the Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4, and Tier 5 visa categories;
  • All other visa applications under the Tier visa points based system;
  • Visitor visas;
  • Long residency visas;
  • Discharged HM Forces visas; or
  • UK ancestry visas.
This change is hardly surprising. There are similar UK immigration rules changes coming into effect for the family migration route from 9 July 2012.

If you have limited leave to remain you must ensure you apply to extend your leave, if needed, in time. If you wish to remain in the UK after the 28 day period you should leave the UK and reapply for a visa.

The UK Home Office recently announced that in most cases the right to appeal against a refusal for a family visit visa will be abolished this month. In all refused visa cases, applicants will still be able to appeal on limited grounds such as human rights or race discrimination grounds.

Applicants with limited leave to remain should ensure they apply to extend their visa in time, before their visa expires.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Australia census numbers shows increase in immigration

New census numbers show that more Asians are immigrating to Australia. There has been an overall increase in Australia's population due to a resources boom and growing immigration.

Figures from the 2011 census showed that Mandarin is now the second most popular language spoken after English. Until recently Italian was the second most popular language. Additionally, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed that Western Australia and Queensland both recorded double-digit population growth over the past five years, much higher than the national average of 8.3 percent.

Asians accounted for the biggest increase in immigration to Australia in terms of ethnicity, with Indian and Chinese the fastest-growing groups. The census showed that around one in four of the 21.5 million people surveyed in the census last year were born outside Australia, compared with 22 percent a decade ago.

Furthermore, the number of European immigrants coming to Australia has decreased from more than half of arrivals a decade ago to 40 percent last year.

"We're in the midst of a huge mining boom and we have many young people come here to study to go to university," said Andrew Henderson, executive director of the ABS. "These [factors] are giving us a lot more exposure in Asia."

Despite the increase in immigration numbers, Australia is still struggling to attract enough workers for its booming mining industry.

"The population and service implications of resource and mineral activities is really quite profound but this hasn't really been reflected in the census data," said Henderson. "Building a mine can require between four to five times as many people as operating it."
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in Australia. Please check our Australian program for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/australia.html

Monday, July 9, 2012

UK Labour Party Leader outlines new immigration policies

Leader of the UK Labour Party, the official opposition Party, Ed Miliband, outlined the party's new immigration policies saying the new measures will prevent British people being "locked out" of jobs by foreign workers.

Under the new proposed measures, overseas-only employment agencies would be banned and a system would be implemented to highlight areas where locals are "dominated" by an influx of foreign workers. Companies would also be forced to declare if they employ high numbers of immigrants.

"In sectors where there is a problem, every medium and large employer that has more than 25% foreign workers – double the average share of migrants in the population – should have to notify Jobcentre Plus," said Miliband.

Miliband said he wanted to shift the government's debate from border controls and what he claims are ineffective government caps on immigrants, towards the impact on people's daily lives instead.

Meanwhile, current UK immigration minister Damian Green attacked Denham for not condemning the level of immigration while the Labour party was in power.

"They still don't think immigration was too high when they were in power and they still won't say that immigration needs to come down. That's why they've opposed every one of the Government's policies to cut immigration, and it's why they cannot be trusted to run Britain's immigration policy," said Green.

Miliband did say that the Labour government allowed in too many immigrants from Eastern Europe by lifting controls on EU accession countries such as Poland too quickly.

"There has been a collision of a large amount of immigration from Eastern Europe and a UK labour market that is frankly too often nasty, brutish and short-term," he said. "There are clearly issues that people have been raising over a number of years. We have to look at where the rules are right and, if they are wrong, what we can do about it. You have to have the right entitlements in place."

"Overall, immigration has benefits, but the thing we did not talk about was its relevance to class, and the issue of where the benefits and burdens lie. If you need a builder, it is good that there are more coming into the country and lowering the price of construction, but if you are a British builder it is less beneficial," Denham said.

Other changes included in Labour's immigration policy:

  • Stricter enforcement of minimum wage laws and doubling of fines to £10,000 for those that break the law.
  • An early warning system so that job centre councils and national government can identify sectors where the workforce is dominated by low wage foreign labour.
  • Review immigrants access to government benefits, public services, and access to housing lists.
  • Review the relevance of government caps on immigration numbers.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please check our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Friday, July 6, 2012

Critics warn strict Tier 2 visa requirements will hurt UK companies

Critics have warned that stricter Tier 2 visa requirements introduced last year will threaten the global competitiveness of the UK's food industry. The changes mean that many high level employees will not be able to remain in the UK on a permanent basis.

As part of the UK's commitment to cut net immigration to "tens of thousands", the government has tightened up requirements for Tier 2 visas and made it more difficult for immigrants to remain on a long term/permanent basis. Under the Tier 2 visa, immigrants can work in the UK for up to six years.

Under the new rules, Tier 2 visa holders who wish to stay in the UK beyond 6 years, must apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. To qualify, an employee cannot have spent more than 180 days out of the UK for the entire time they were on the Tier 2 visa. Also, no single absence from the UK can exceed 90 consecutive days. Tier 2 visa holders who are unable to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain will be required to leave the UK once they have been in the country for 6 years and will be unable to apply for another Tier 2 visa for at least 12 months.

For the year from 6 April 2012 to 5 April 2013, a maximum of 20,700 skilled workers can come to the UK under Tier 2 (General). There is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK to do jobs with an annual salary of £150,000 or above.

The Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) and others have claimed that the Tier 2 visa rules could even force some companies to relocate their research and development departments overseas. John Poole, IFST chief executive believes that the restrictions will result in a brain drain because skilled workers that have trained in the UK will be deterred by the new restriction and take their knowledge and the money invested in them home.

But critics worry that employees in multinational food and drink firms will easily exceed the 180-day maximum. Therefore, if an employee fails to gain indefinite leave to remain, under the new rules, after his Tier 2 visa expires, he would be prevented from working in the UK for a year.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/uk.html

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Study shows Asian immigrant arrivals now surpass those of Hispanics

A new study has found that the US has seen a higher level of Asian immigration to the country than immigration of Hispanics; perhaps revealing a decrease in illegal immigration and increase in demand for highly-skilled workers.

The study by the Pew Research Center, an American think tank details what it describes as "the rise of Asian-Americans", a highly diverse and fast-growing group that makes up nearly 6 percent of the US population. In 2010, about 430,000 Asian immigrants arrived representing 36 percent of all new immigrants to the US compared to about 370,000 Hispanics about 31 percent of new immigrants to the US.

The Pew analysis believes that the increase in Asian immigrants likely began in 2009 as illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico sharply declined due to increased immigration enforcement and a decrease in job opportunities in the US due to the bad economy.

The study also found that roughly 6 in 10 international students studying at US colleges immigrate from Asian countries.

"Like immigrants throughout American history, the new arrivals from Asia are strivers," said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of the report. "What's distinctive about them is their educational credentials. These aren't the tired, poor, huddled masses of Emma Lazarus's famous inscription on the Statue of Liberty. They are the highly skilled workforce of the 21st century."

According to the study more Asian immigrants than Hispanic immigrants obtain US visas and arrive legally; around 15 percent of Asian immigrants are in the US illegally, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic immigrants.

Global Visa Support offers a variety of programs in United States. Please see our USA page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/usa.html

Monday, July 2, 2012

Australia's skilled occupations list updated

Australia's new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) has been announced by Skills Australia. The new list will apply from 1 July 2012 for all applicants wishing to come to Australia under the General Skilled Migration program, unless they are sponsored by a State or Territory Government or eligible for transitional arrangements.

In total, four occupations were added to the list and four occupations have been removed from the list.

Occupations Added to Skilled Occupations List

The following occupations have been added to the SOL:

  • 133513 Production Manager (Mining)
  • 234912 Metallurgists
  • 251411 Optometrist
  • 263111 Computer Network and Systems Engineer
Most of these were added to the list due to skills shortages and expected growth in these occupations.

Occupations Removed from Skilled Occupations List

The following occupations have been removed from to the SOL:

  • 234211 Chemist
  • 252711 Audiologist
  • 331111 Bricklayer
  • 333411 Wall and Floor Tiler
Most of these were removed from the list due to low growth or high unemployment rates in these occupations.

General Skilled Migration

The General Skilled Migration (GSM) program is for immigrants who are not sponsored by an employer and who have skills in occupations that Australia needs to fill labor shortages. Applicants must be between 18 and 50 years of age and speak good English. You must also have the skills and qualifications that meet the Australian standard for an occupation on the SOL.

Also, from 1 July 2012, Australian immigration will be introducing significant changes to their skilled migration visa program. If you are likely to have your skills assessment completed soon we can help you to beat the deadline. There will continue to be plenty of Australian immigration opportunities after 1 July 2012.
Study Migrate offers a variety of programmes in Australia. Please visit our Australian page for more information: http://www.globalvisasupport.com/australia.html