Friday, August 17, 2012

Australia sees increase in population due to immigration

New Australian statistics reveal that Melbourne has seen its population grow by over half a million people in the last decade. The population increase is partly due to overseas immigration into Australia, according to ABS spokesman Andrew Howe.

Overall Melbourne has seen an increase in its population of 647,200 people. The largest increase was in South Morang, up 32,200 people, while Point Cook, Caroline Springs and Tarneit in the west of the city each saw growth of more than 20,000 people.

"What comes to the fore over the past five years is the level of overseas migration. A lot of them have chosen to move to Melbourne," Howe said. "Inner city living has become more popular in all Australian capital cities. People want to live closer to the city, especially younger adults wanting to be closer to work and education."

Queensland's capital city, Brisbane, has seen a population increase of 25 percent, the second fastest capital city growth in the country. Darwin's population increased at 21 percent, nearly twice the rate of the rest of the Northern Territory. Each State or Territory in Australia has a Capital City and there are a total of eight capital cities in Australia.

Many foreigners have immigrated to Australia in recent years due to the growing skills shortages. Australia continues to seek skilled workers to fill positions in the natural resource industry. If you would like to find out more about immigrating to Australia you can check out our comprehensive section about Australia's new skilled migration visa: SkillSelect.

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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

US to begin accepting applications for temporary work visas from young illegal immigrants

US President Barack Obama announced last week that the US will begin charging US$465 starting August 15 for temporary work permits for young illegal immigrants. Obama announced the new immigration policy back in June which requires immigrants to have arrived in the US before their 16th birthday, be 30 years old or younger, lived in the US at least five years and be in school, graduated or served in the military.

The temporary work permits are subject to renewal for two years, and while US Citizenship and Immigration Services will consider a limited number of fee exemptions, it expects costs to be covered by applicants, not US taxpayers.

Applicants are ineligible if convicted of a felony, three misdemeanors or one "significant" misdemeanor. Significant misdemeanors, as defined by Homeland Security, are any offenses that result in more than 90 days in jail, and some offenses regardless of the sentence, including domestic violence, burglary and gun and drug crimes. Minor traffic offenses, like driving without a license, will not be counted at all against applicants.

The application process will include background checks and biometric identification and may take several months to complete.

The agency said it will not use information gathered during the application process to begin deportation proceedings of applicants, with some exceptions for those applicants convicted of certain criminal offences and those who pose a threat to public safety. In addition, anyone who makes untrue statements while applying will be subject to criminal prosecution and deportation.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Canada to discuss immigration future with public and stakeholders

Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) Parliamentary Secretaries Chungsen Leung and Rick Dykstra have begun a series of consultations on Canada's immigration issues. The two Parliamentary Secretaries will meet with stakeholders and the public to discuss the appropriate level of immigration for Canada in the coming years.

Meetings will take place in Toronto, Windsor, Vancouver, Halifax, and Ottawa. Additionally, online consultations are open to the public and stakeholders for input.

CIC said the purpose of the consultations is to get feedback on Canadian immigration issues, including the appropriate level of immigration for the country, and the ideal number of immigrants allowed entry in the economic, family, and refugee and humanitarian classes.

"Discussions with the Parliamentary Secretaries will also touch on CIC's transition towards a faster and more flexible immigration system, as well as the growing importance of immigration to Canada's economic growth and long-term prosperity," said a CIC press release. "In planning for the total number of people to admit as permanent residents, CIC must not only balance the Government of Canada's immigration objectives, but also consider broader government commitments, input from provinces and territories, and current and future economic conditions."

They also noted that the department must also take into account their operational ability to process visa applications in a timely manner and the capacity of communities to welcome new immigrants.

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

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

New resource projects in Australia could bring in more foreign workers

Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has announced new resources projects in Queensland and Western Australia that may make more positions available for skilled foreign workers. Bowen said only a small number of resource companies have applied for permission to bring in foreign workers and so far only one has received conditional approval.

"The size of these projects is well known so it's not hard to figure out which ones qualify. There is a small number that have applied. Obviously the negotiations are commercially in-confidence. They are detailed and take some time," said Bowen. He explained that while it is easy for Australian immigration to determine which projects qualify, it's not necessarily easy for every project to qualify.

While Bowen would not specify which projects had applied, there have been plans announced for opening new mines in central Queensland. Enterprise migration agreements are available to resource projects with capital expenditure of more than AUS$2 billion and with a peak workforce of more than 1500 workers but companies applying must show they were not able to hire an Australian to fill the position first.

Immigration spokesman Scott Morrison said: "Australian business and their investors need greater certainty that they would be able to find workers."

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

Monday, August 13, 2012

UK Border Force report finding fewer fake UK passports

The number of fake passports detected at UK ports and airports has nearly halved in the past five years, according to new statistics. UK border officials found 1,858 forgeries last year compared to 3,300 in 2007.

The UK's border force explained that this was partly due to improved security measures and fraud checks.

However, some critics claim that the cut in border security officer numbers was the reason for fewer fake passports being found; the number of people employed by the UKBA has dropped by about 4,000 in the past two years.

The UKBA says that it has become harder for criminals to forge documents because of the use of biometric data in passports. Even with forged documents, the UKBA believes that criminals would be caught during the rigorous checks they conduct before people arrive in the UK.

"Overall we're doing a good job in that we're constantly finding more forgeries overseas," UKBA chief executive Rob Whiteman said. "The amount, therefore, that we detect at the border, there is a long-term trend of that falling but that's because we're so successful in finding it overseas and stopping forged documents getting to the UK in the first place."

"These are very, very sophisticated people. We're not dealing with some granny somewhere in the world who says 'I want to get in'. We're dealing with gangs of people who are making billions of pounds out of forged passports and that's why our system has to be very secure." said Home Affairs Select Committee chairman, Labour MP Keith Vaz.

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

UK Government denies plans to recruit 1,100 immigration staff

The United Kingdom's Immigration Minister, Damian Green, has denied that the government intends to recruit 1,100 new staff in its immigration and passport service, as claimed by Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union. On Wednesday, Mr Serwotka, said that the government was planning to recruit the staff and that this had influenced his decision to call off the 24 hour strike planned for Thursday 26th July. The strike would have affected Britain's airports on the eve of the London Olympic Games.

Mr Serwotka said that government negotiators had told him of the new jobs at negotiations on Tuesday night. Hundreds of jobs in both services were to be seen advertised on the Civil Services Jobs website on Wednesday. Mr Serwotka had said that he was pleased that the government seemed to be relenting on its plans to reduce Home office staff numbers by 8,500. He said 'These new jobs are a welcome step towards recognition that the Home Office is cracking under the strain of massive job losses and that the answer is not more cuts but more investment.'

However, Mr Green said on Wednesday that the government had no plans to recruit more staff and that 'posts are being advertised to fill gaps left by normal staff turnover.' A Home Office spokesman said that the department had made 'no concessions to the PCS' and that it was not creating any new jobs. He said that 400 new posts had been announced in June and that these posts had been placed on the Civil Service Jobs website twice by mistake. 'This will now be corrected' he added.

It therefore seems likely that there will be renewed industrial action in the autumn. Mr Serwotka made it clear at his press conference on Wednesday that he had not abandoned its plans for industrial action and said that his union would organise sustained disruption in the autumn if it's demands are not met. He said 'We are not ending our dispute with the Home Office. The dispute remains in place.'

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

Friday, August 3, 2012

Court ruling on UK immigration rules prompts emergency action from UKBA

The UK Home Office announced immigration rule changes after a recent supreme court ruling threatened to render illegal thousands of decisions made under the UK's skilled migrant programme.

The supreme court declared that recent changes to the UK Border Agency's points-based system of skilled migration, visitor's visas and family migration rules were unlawful because they had not been directly approved by parliament.

The ruling also said that changes to lists of shortage occupations, salary and skill levels, and advertising requirements had been set out in codes of practice that had not been laid before parliament and so could not be relied on by UKBA to refuse work permits or visa applications.

The Home Office reacted to the ruling by announcing that they were issuing a statement of immigration rule changes, before parliament on 19 July to come into force by 20 July, "in order to safeguard their lawful operation".

Home Office ministers said the immediate rule changes means that the position has not changed for those currently making applications for visitor, skilled migrant or family visas. Guidance is to be issued shortly on visa applications that were refused under the previous rules. This could involve cases that date back to 2008.

"The changes will not affect the way we consider applications. They support our ongoing work to simplify the immigration system and ensure that existing policy and guidance is transferred into the Immigration Rules where necessary," the Home Office said.

The issues came about from a legal appeal made by a Pakistani man who was granted a work visa in February 2005 to work as a physiotherapy assistant. When he went to renew the visa in February 2009 he was denied a new visa on the grounds that his job was insufficiently skilled. However, his lawyers argued that the list of skilled occupations drawn up by the Home Office was not part of the Immigration Rules because it had never been laid before Parliament. The appeal was then unanimously upheld by five Supreme Court judges.
Global Visa Support offers a variety of programmes in United Kingdom. Please visit our UK page for more information:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

UN urges Australia to ease visa rules

UN World Tourism Organisation secretary-general Taleb Rifai has urged Australia to relax its strict visa requirements for visitors from developing countries, saying it could help Australia boost tourism.

Rifai added that there was no evidence to show that tough entry conditions for foreign tourists were necessary for security related reasons. He urged Australia and other developed countries to ease their tight visitor visa rules.

"There is no evidence to establish that there are close and very strong links between visas and security issues," Rifai said in Melbourne. "It is not reasonable to still see long lines, very cumbersome, uneasy, complicated, lengthy, overpriced entry formalities all over the world, particularly facing nationals from countries that are rising and countries that are providing the base for future incoming tourists.

While Chinese and Indian visitors have provided the greatest annual growth to Australia's tourism numbers over the past decade, they still face many hurdles in order to receive a visa. Foreigners traveling to Australia for the first time must provide bank statements or other financial information, a letter from their employer showing their position and salary, length of employment and confirmation that they have been given time off work for the duration of their trip.

If visiting relatives or friends, a letter of invitation from the relative or friend in Australia may also be required.

While some have claimed the fall in tourism is due to the high Australian dollar, Rifai believes it is due to the difficult visa process.

"The cost is not the major factor here, it's the ease of reaching here, cost of travel and cost and complications of entry," said Rifai. "Cost is a very important element in competitiveness but it should not be too much of an obsession. Some of the most attractive destinations in the world are some of the most expensive destinations in the world as well."

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Report urges Congress to increase H-1B visa cap

The US economy is being held back because the government has not increased the cap on H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, according to a new report from analysts at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

The study found that US employers want more H-1B visas to be made available so they can hire more foreign nationals for highly skilled, hard-to-fill jobs. The H-1B visa program is popular among US businesses wishing to employ graduate level foreign workers in specialty occupations.

Each year only 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 H-1B visa cap petitions visas are made available for those with an US Master degree or higher degree awarded at an US university.

"Demand for H-1B workers has fluctuated with economic and political cycles over the last decade and reflects a wide range of employers' needs for high-skilled temporary workers. Employer requests have exceeded the number of visas issued every year except from 2001 to 2003 when the annual cap was temporarily raised from 65,000 to 195,000," said the report.

According to the report, during the 2010-2011 fiscal year there were more than 300,000 H-1B visa requests. This year US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that as of June 11, 2012, the cap of 65,000 H-1B visa petitions had been met for fiscal year 2013. In addition, the 20,000 petition cap for the advanced degree H-1B visa was met on June 7, 2012.

"Congress must increase its responsiveness to fluctuations in H-1B visa demand," Brookings analyst Neil Ruiz said. "Demand far outstripped supply in the late 1990s, and by the time Congress acted in 2001, the dot-com bubble had already burst."

Employers argue that they need more graduates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM); There are not enough US citizen degree holders in those fields. The report found that 64 percent of all H-1B visa requests are for STEM positions and approximately half of all STEM degrees earned from US institutions go to foreign nationals.

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