Friday, September 28, 2012

Canadian economy 'will need 350,000 immigrants annually from 2016'

A report issued by the Toronto Dominion Bank says that, because the Canadian labour force is ageing, from 2016 Canada will need 350,000 migrants annually to maintain adequate growth in the workforce. However, the report states that this is only one factor to be taken into account when the government devises its immigration policy.

The report, Estimating Canada's Future Immigration Needs, is co-authored by Craig Alexander, the bank's senior economist. The report says that, 'traditionally, Canada has accepted 0.8% of its population in new permanent residents each year'. However, the report continues, the country is now at 'in inflection point' because 'the baby boomer generation is starting to retire.' 'This will have a material impact on Canadian businesses if they cannot find the skilled labour they need to continue growing in future.'

The report says that two factors determine economic growth; 'labour productivity and a growing labour pool'. The baby boomer generation accounts for 40% of the current labour force and, while they are, on the whole, still working, from 2016 on, they will start to retire. Unless they are replaced, then the rate of growth of the labour pool will begin to slow. There will be increased pressure on Old Age Security and healthcare. Further, the rate of growth of the work force will begin to slow even if immigration remains at its current level which will threaten Canadian economic growth and tax revenues.

The report stresses that the size of the workforce is only one of the two factors that determine economic growth. The other is labour productivity. At present, the economic outcomes for immigrants are, worse than for Canadians, despite the fact that immigrants are, on the whole, better qualified. While this is the case, increasing the rate of immigration will not necessarily help the economy grow because immigrants might well end up being unemployed.

The report says that it is to be hoped that recent changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program, in particular an increased focus on ability to speak English and/or French, may improve the economic prospects for immigrants. If this happens, then the numbers of immigrants required to service the economy may actually remain constant at 250,000 because of greater productivity per head.

At present, however, the report says that increasing the immigration level above 250,000 would be likely to be counterproductive because of the poorer than average economic performance of immigrants.

The report stresses that the government must bear other factors besides the economy in mind when making its decisions on immigration policy. Yesterday, at an Ottawa press conference, a spokeswoman for Jason Kenney, the Canadian Immigration Minister, said 'Canada already maintains the highest sustained level of immigration in the world. In order for Canada to maintain an open and generous immigration system, it is important that Canadians continue to believe that immigration serves our national interest. Canadians have been clear - the vast majority do not want the government to massively increase immigration levels.'

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Army may replace UK immigration staff in event of general strike

Yesterday, the Trades Union Congress, an annual gathering of UK Trades Unions voted to explore the practicalities of a general strike to protest at the ongoing cuts being imposed by the UK's coalition government. If such a strike occurs, public sector workers, including immigration staff will carry out coordinated strikes causing chaos throughout the country, not least at the UK's rail, sea and air ports where UK Border Force staff might walk away from their positions in passport control.

The Times newspaper reported this morning that government ministers have held meetings with senior military officers to explore the possibility of military personnel carrying out the functions of striking workers including fuel tanker drivers, tube and train drivers and immigration staff.

Yesterday, at the TUC, Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents immigration staff, gave a speech backing a general strike. He called for 'mass co-ordinated strike action across the public and private sector.'

On Monday, the TUC voted in favour of unions taking co-ordinated action against the cuts. Yesterday, there was a further vote to support 'far-reaching campaigns including the consideration and practicalities of a general strike". TUC rules say that union bosses must now explore these options.

Soldiers have been called in to cover for striking workers before. They replaced firefighters during strikes in 1977 and 2002. They were placed on standby to cover for striking petrol tanker drivers in March this year. They were also brought in to provide security at The London Olympic and Paralympic Games after the G4S security company failed to recruit sufficient staff after being awarded the security contract.

However, a former chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Mike Jackson, told The Times yesterday that to use the army to maintain services during a general strike would be a 'very political decision'. A Tory MP, Penny Mordaunt, questioned the Prime Minister about the serious stress that such cover would cause for troops.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, agreed with Ms Mordaunt and urged workers not to strike 'for their own selfish ends'. There is, as yet, no timetable in place leading towards a general strike. However, neither is there any sign of any compromise that might avert the threat of action. There must, however, be concerns that, in the event of a strike, troops would not be able to perform border passport checks as the UK Border Force says that it takes 9 months to train a frontline passport control officer.

The TUC has organised a mass demonstration against government cuts that is planned for 20th October. There will be a march through central London ending in Hyde Park.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Obama says he will reintroduce immigration legislation in second term

President Obama told a Spanish television interviewer on Thursday 13th September 2012 that he had not broken a campaign promise by his failure to reform the United States law on illegal immigration during his first term. He later said that he will try to reintroduce the bill in his second term if re-elected.

Speaking to Agencia Efe, a Spanish international broadcast agency, after an election rally in Golden, Colorado, the president said that he had not promised that he would reform the immigration system during his first term. He had merely promised, he said, to begin working on the problem. He also blamed the Republican opposition for hindering progress.

In 2008, the then Senator Obama said that he would make the issue a 'top priority. He said 'We can't wait 20 years…we can't wait 10 years… we need to do it by the end of my first term as president.' As yet, there has been no reform. President Obama's Democratic Party introduced a bill, known as The Dream Bill in 2009. Dream stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The bill would, had it become law, have granted permanent residency in the US to some undocumented residents of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment.

The Bill, which was introduced to Congress by Democrats in 2009, was debated by Congress in 2009 and 2010. Numerous amendments were made to try to reach a compromise with the Republicans but, in the end, Republicans filibustered the bill and it never became law. It was later passed by the Democrat controlled House of Representatives but did not attain enough votes to go to the Senate. Again, it failed to become law.

The Democrats re-introduced a DREAM bill in 2011 but Republicans who had previously supported the bill withdrew their support and it failed. In August 2012, President Obama introduced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme by Presidential Order. The Republicans oppose the measure and Kris Kobach, an advisor on immigration issues to Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate for the election in November2012, has launched a legal action challenging the scheme saying it is unconstitutional.

President Obama has promised to re-introduce the Dream Bill in the first year of his second term if he is re-elected. However, this may not happen. Mr Kobach, who is the Secretary of State for Kansas, has said that he is considering refusing to allow President Obama's name to be placed on the presidential ballot in Kansas because he has received an objection to Mr Obama's candidacy from a Kansas voter. The grounds for the objection are that there is insufficient proof that Mr Obama was born in the United States. Mr Obama was born in Hawaii. However, ever since he received the Democratic Party nomination to be presidential candidate in 2008, there have been those on the right who claim that he was born outside the United States and is, in fact, an immigrant. According to the United States Constitution, presidential candidates must be born in the US. Mr Obama has released his long form birth certificate from Hawaii to the press but some Republicans still refuse to believe that he was actually born there. Those that believe that Mr Obama was born abroad are known as 'birthers'.

Mr Kobach told journalists on Thursday 13th September 2012 that he is obliged to consider any objection against a candidacy if it is not frivolous. Mr Kobach, a lawyer, said that, as a matter of law, he could not find that the complaint was frivolous and that, therefore, he could not dismiss it out of hand. He and his colleagues will decide what to do about the challenge on Monday 17th September 2012. It is possible that they will refuse to put the President's name on the ballot paper unless they receive records that prove to their satisfaction that Mr Obama was born in the US. There is a possibility of similar challenges in five other states; Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana and Texas.

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Australia says enterprise migration agreements will continue

The Australian government has said that it will continue to enter into controversial Enterprise Migration Agreements with mining companies despite a slowdown in the economy and growing union opposition.

Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs) were introduced in 2011 to allow project managers on infrastructure projects worth AUS$2bn or more to apply for sufficient 457 temporary work visas to ensure that their project could be completed. After negotiations with unions it was agreed that visas should only be granted for a position when there were no Australians who were qualified for the job or wanted to do it but the vast scale of the projects means that large numbers of 457 temporary work visas can still be granted under one EMA. Gina Rinehart, Australia's richest woman, successfully applied for over 1,700 temporary work '457' visas to enable her to import labour to complete the AUS$9.5bn Roy Hill mining project.

Australian unions have always opposed the agreements saying that greater efforts must be made to employ Australian workers. Now that there are fears of a slowdown in the Australian resources sector, which has been booming for years, union opposition has become louder. Yesterday, Han Ruxiang of China's biggest bank ICBC told The Australian newspaper that he saw 'troubling times ahead for the [Australian resources] sector'.

Yesterday, Monday 17th September 2012, Dave Oliver, secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions called on the Australian government to cancel all EMAs for resources projects, including Roy Hill. 'With some large resource projects being put on hold, there is no case for the mining industry to be crying about labour shortages and seeking to bring in foreign workers.

However, Australian Immigration minister Chris Bowen said that EMA's would continue. He said that the system had been carefully engineered 'to ensure that Australians get the opportunity for those jobs' but said that it was necessary for 'these very, very large projects to be able to proceed in the knowledge that they can get the workers necessary'.

He said that there were safeguards that have been built into the EMA guidelines and the 457 programme generally to ensure that Australians were given a fair chance to take jobs before they were offered abroad.

Australian Resources Minister Martin Ferguson went further telling journalists in Canberra 'you can't say we can't have EMAs if Australians aren't prepared to chase the available jobs'. He said that Australians from the south east of the country were not prepared to relocate to many mining areas such as Gladstone in Queensland in the Northern Territory so could not complain if the jobs went to foreigners with temporary work visas.

Mr Bowen said 'We will continue to ensure, particularly in this environment where some resources projects very publicly have decided not to proceed, that we give every support necessary to ensure that they have the capacity to show their financiers that they are able to source workers'. The Australian opposition workplace relations spokesman backed the government position saying that he did not want to see any projects prejudiced by a lack of available labour.

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

UK minister says students should be removed from immigration figures

The United Kingdom's Universities Minister, David Willetts MP, has said that international students should be removed from the net migration figures that are released every year by the UK's Office for National Statistics. He has also asked the government to make a commitment that it will not place a cap on the numbers of students who are awarded visas allowing them to study in the UK.

The UK's Coalition government, which came to power in 2010, pledged to reduce net immigration from around 250,000 a year when it came to power to below 100,000 per annum by 2015. So far, it has made little progress. The former Immigration Minister, Damian Green, who was removed from his position in the recent cabinet reshuffle to become Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice, refused to remove students from the net migration statistics. He told the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on 10th July 2012 that it would be 'a denial of reality' to remove students from the figures. Mr Green said that students came to the UK for three years and while in the country used services as much as anyone else. He also said that, in order to reach the target of reducing the net migration figure below 100,000 by 2015, 'we will need a reduction in student visas'.

However, Mr Willetts, who has responsibility for UK universities, argues that overseas students make a vital contribution to the UK economy and wants to see their numbers rise, not fall. Mr Willetts has written a letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg saying that he is concerned that, if students are not removed from the figures, then government efforts to cut immigration may result in a reduction in the number of genuine students coming to study in the UK. 'We should be seeking to increase the numbers of legitimate students coming to study,' he said. The Home Office's own figures suggest that its efforts to reduce immigration by reducing the numbers of international students in the UK will cost the UK economy over £2bn. The Department of Business, Education and Skills released a report in 2011 estimating that export education was worth £14.1 billion to the UK economy in 2008/09.

Mr Willetts admits that it will be difficult to remove students from the figures 'particularly as we will lack robust data on the outflows of students from the country'. The government does not count students leaving the country and therefore does not know how many remain after their visas have expired. Some estimates suggest that up to 20% remain in the UK and may be working illegally.

The most recent figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that there were 216,000 more people arriving in the UK in 2012 than there were UK citizens leaving. In the year to June 2012 the total number of immigrants was estimated by the ONS as 566,000. The total number of emigrants, a figure which includes both UK citizens and non-UK citizens who have been resident in the UK but have decided to leave, was 350,000. There were some 282,833 tier 4 student visas issued to students from outside the European Economic Area in the year to June 2012.

Opponents of migration say that it will never be possible to reduce immigration to the UK without reducing the numbers of international students. Labour MP Frank Field told a House of Commons debate recently that the system was being abused. He argued that there were many bogus tier 4 student visa holders who did not attend their courses and did not leave after their visa expired. A survey published by the Home Office in July 2012 seems to support Mr Field's view. It suggested that a third of tier 4 student visas awarded 'lack credibility'. Investigators investigated 2,000 tier 4 visa holders. The survey found that 48% of applications from Pakistan, 53% from the Philippines and 32% from China were probably fraudulent and made by people who applied because they intended to work in the UK or by people who had no real interest in attending their courses in the UK. The UKBA received 60,000 notifications from educational bodies in the 18 months up to October 2011 about tier 4 student visa holders who were not attending their courses. The UKBA did not investigate any of these claims.

The issue of whether to include overseas students in the migration figures is a controversial one. Yesterday, Migrationwatch UK, an anti-immigration pressure group, released the results of an opinion poll carried out by polling group YouGov. The poll suggested that over 70% wanted overseas students with poor English to be removed from the UK while over 80% wanted to see those who worked illegally or overstayed their visas removed. However, most academics back Mr Willetts' position and want to see international student numbers rise.

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

UKBA announces new guidelines for 'overstayers'

The United Kingdom Border Agency has announced changes to the rules regarding those who wish to apply for renewed leave to stay in the country when their leave to do so has expired. As from October 1st 2012, applications for further leave will be refused if the application is made 28 days or more after the previous leave has expired. This rule already applies to those who apply under the family migration route. From 1st October 2012, it will apply to all other applicants. These are
Applicants under:

• The points-based system
• All working and student routes
• Visiting routes
• Long residency routes
• Discharged HM forces and
• UK ancestry routes

If the 28-day period has expired you cannot apply from within the UK. To make an application, you must leave the UK and reapply from overseas.

Switching from study visa to Tier 2 skilled worker visa

The rules for anyone wishing to change his status from a Tier 4 student visa holder to a Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa holder remain unchanged. If you intend to apply for a Tier 2 visa, you must have a valid Tier 4 visa when you make your application. If you do not, you must leave the country to apply.

Applying to extend Tier 4 leave to remain in the UK

As of 1st October 2012, a tier 4 student visa holder who wishes to extend his leave to remain in the UK by starting another course must ensure that his new course of study begins no more than 28 days after the end of his leave to remain in the UK. The UKBA says that it will be updating its guidance on its website soon.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Canada aims to strip 3,100 of citizenship

Jason Kenney, the Canadian minister for Citizenship, Multiculturalism and Immigration, announced yesterday, 10th September 2012, that his government has begun the process of revoking citizenship granted to 3,100 people who made fraudulent applications for Canadian citizenship. He said that the government is currently investigating 11,000 people suspected of attempting to abuse the Canadian immigration system. Most of the 3,100 are from the Gulf States.

Mr Kenney said 'We are applying the full strength of the law to those who have obtained citizenship fraudulently'. Several Canadian agencies have been carrying out investigations since last year including The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). In order to obtain citizenship, individuals who have been awarded permanent residency must reside in Canada for three out of four years before applying. To maintain permanent resident status, people must be present in Canada for at least two out of five years and they must not go abroad for any lengthy periods.

However, the Canadian government came to suspect that some people with permanent residency status were paying unscrupulous immigration agents substantial sums of money to create falsified records to support their claims to be residing in Canada while they actually continue to reside abroad. RCMP and CBSA believe that an agent will charge CAN$25,000 to create documentation for a family of five over four years.

The Canadian government says it is investigating a further 5,000 permanent residents who are suspected of manipulating the system in a similar way. They also have concerns about another 2,500 permanent residents. These will be investigated if they make applications in future. So far, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), Mr Kenney's department, says 600 former permanent residents have either been removed from, or denied readmission to, the country. CIC has also refused about 500 citizenship applications where the applicants have not fulfilled the residence requirements honestly. A further 1,800 people have abandoned citizenship applications. CIC said in a press release that this was because word of the investigation had spread.

Mr Kenney said 'We will not allow people to lie and cheat their way into becoming citizens.' He encouraged anyone who knew of 'citizenship fraud' to report it to the immigration authorities.

However, Mr Kenney also said that 223,040 people applied to become Canadian citizens in 2011 so the 3,100 fraudulent applications made up 'a very small portion' of the total. Mr Kenney said that the Canadian government was considering legislation to ensure that immigration agents who help residents apply for citizenship must become members of the regulatory body, Immigration Consultants of Canada.

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

UK parliament votes to limit population to 70m

UK MPs debated immigration in the House of Commons yesterday. A backbench debate was triggered by a petition from the Migrationwatch UK pressure group, which campaigns for a reduction in the level of immigration into the UK. The debate was followed by a vote on the motion which called on the government to take all necessary steps to keep the population as close to current levels as possible, and in any event to keep it well below 70m. The motion was passed by the House. However, speaking earlier in the day in front of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Home Secretary Theresa May said that she did not think it was the role of the government to 'be setting a figure for the overall population'.

The immigration debate was sponsored by Nicholas Soames, a Conservative grandee and grandson of Sir Winston Churchill and Labour's Frank Field, the MP for Birkenhead. The two are co-chairs of the Cross-Party Group on Balanced Migration and jointly proposed the motion. The Cross-Party Group has 33 MPs as members as well as 17 members of the House of Lords. Its website states that its aim is to see the UK's population stabilized at around 65m which is very close to the current level.

The motion called on the government to 'take all necessary steps to reduce immigration to stabilize the UK's population as close to present levels as possible. The debate was listed for hearing after Migrationwatch UK launched a petition on the government's e-Petitions website last October. The petition was worded 'Over the past ten years the government has permitted mass immigration despite very strong public opposition reflected in numerous opinion polls….So we call on the government to take all necessary steps to get immigration down to a level that will stabilise our population as close to the present level as possible and, certainly, well below 70 million.' If a petition on the e-Petitions site achieves 100,000 signatures within a year, it will be considered for a Commons debate by the House of Commons' Backbench Business Committee. The Migrationwatch UK petition reached 100,000 signatures in under a week and so was listed for a Commons debate.

Mr Soames opened the debate. He said that the UK was currently undergoing the greatest wave of immigration for 1,000 years and that 3.5m migrants had settled in the UK during the last Labour regime (1997-2010). This had changed the country, he said, and there was growing public concern. If trends continued, the population of the country would reach 70m in 15 years. That would be a rise of 7.7m from the current level. 5m of this growth would comprise immigrants. This, would require massive government outlay. It would require building houses, roads, schools and other infrastructure which would be equivalent to building again the eight biggest cities in the UK outside London.

He said that immigrants enriched the UK in many ways and that the problem was merely one of scale. He said that the immigration system was 'shambolic' and immensely bureaucratic; singling out student immigration for special attention, he said that there were over 800 pages of guidance for universities for accepting foreign students and enormously long and complex forms for prospective immigrants to complete.

He said that the 'points-based system for awarding visas should be abolished and that immigration decisions should, instead, rely on 'the common sense of experienced immigration officers'. He said that the attempt to create a list of objective criteria was futile. 'Common sense has gone out of the window, bureaucracy has taken over,' he said.

Mr Field, too, expressed concerns about the number of students coming to the UK. He also said that no one knows how many students leave the UK having finished their studies. It is known that 21% remain legally, perhaps having taken up a job and obtained a tier 2 skilled worker visa, but no one knew where the other 79% were.

The debate was thinly attended. Most speakers spoke in favour of the motion; Andrew Turner, the Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, said that the Labour Party had deliberately allowed immigration to create an electoral advantage for the left. He said in 1953, Britain had accepted 3,000 immigrants. It now took 200,000 a year which created 'a new Birmingham every five years'.

Roger Godsiff, Labour MP for Hither Green, Birmingham, said that he was a keen advocate of multiculturalism but feared that mass immigration put it under threat. He said that the wages of the low paid were kept lower by immigration while the bosses paid themselves bigger bonuses. He said that many of his constituents came to the UK as immigrants and they feared immigration as much as anyone. He said that untrammelled immigration could put race relations at risk.

Several MPs said that this was an important debate. They said that the failure of the main political parties to address immigration had driven people who were not racists into the hands of racist parties. They urged the government to act.

Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central said that international students brought a great deal of income to the country. There were many such students in Sheffield and 2,000 jobs there depended on export education. He said that foreign students brought £7.9bn a year into the UK economy and, because of the demand for education from the developing economies, this figure could double. And yet, the UK was losing market share because of the Home Office's policies. He said that the Home Office's own figures suggested its plans would cost £2.9bn a year.

Several speakers called on the new Immigration Minister, Mark Harper, who attended the debate, to show compassion to the 2,600 students at London Metropolitan University who are facing deportation from the country. Last week, the United Kingdom Border Agency revoked the university's licence to sponsor international students after the university's systems for checking that they were genuine were found to be inadequate. Frank Field said that to deport these students would be to 'punish the innocent'.

Speaking at the end of the debate, Mr Harper said that he would not overrule the UKBA's decision to prevent the students from finishing their courses at LMU but said that a government taskforce would help genuine students find alternative courses. He said that the Home Office policies would continue unchanged.

The motion was carried without a division with a clear majority in favour of the motion. However, parliament has no power to compel the government to legislate. As the Home Secretary had already signalled her opposition to setting targets for the UK's population, it was clear that the vote will not affect government policy.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Business NZ urges New Zealand government to do more to attract immigrants

Business NZ, a leading pro-business lobby group in New Zealand, says that there are many vacancies in the New Zealand economy that need filling. It has called on the government to do more to attract migrants to fill those posts.

Business NZ chief executive Phil O'Reilly said that almost every sector required skilled workers and said the government was not doing enough to attract the immigrants needed to fill vacancies. At present, Mr O'Reilly said, the government focuses on the quality of life in New Zealand in its efforts to attract skilled workers. Mr O'Reilly said that the focus should be moved to emphasise the business opportunities that immigrants will find. 'An immigrant who comes to work in a small business might very well end up owning it,' he said.

Mr O'Reilly also urged the government to take a more proactive approach to attract overseas workers; 'Instead of going out to potential migrants to say 'here are our programs', they should say, 'if you want help, come and talk to us,' he said.

The New Zealand government recently launched its 'Skillfinder' website which matches people interested in immigration to employers with vacancies. Mr O'Reilly admitted that 'this is a fantastic example of removing those roadblocks' but said much more must be done.

Peter Townsend, chief executive of the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce, agreed with Mr O'Reilly that the bureaucracy that stands in the way of immigrants must be reduced. He also said more must be done to ensure that immigrants thrive when they arrive in the country.

Christchurch, the major city of the Canterbury Region, was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2011. The New Zealand government has said that the rebuilding of Christchurch will be the biggest challenge the country has ever faced. Last week, Nathan Guy, the New Zealand Immigration Minister, said that the government had already issued 300 temporary work visas to workers with skills needed in the rebuild. Mr Townsend said more must be done; 'there is a general awareness we need to reduce the bureaucratic process, ensure the processes are as business friendly as possible'. He added that the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce ran a settlement programme to help skilled workers and their families to integrate into the community.

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

Monday, September 17, 2012

Court may postpone UK immigration ban on LMU's foreign students

A senior London lawyer has stated that the decision by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to revoke a university's licence to teach foreign students could be suspended by the High Court for 'many months' pending a full court decision on the matter.

Last week, on 29th August 2012, the UKBA revoked London Metropolitan University's (LMU) licence to enrol and teach students from outside the European Economic Area. The licence is known as Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) status. Because of UKBA's decision, LMU can no longer sign up students from outside the EEA. In addition, 2,600 students who are already studying at LMU will have to leave the UK unless they can find another institution to teach them. LMU issued a statement on 3rd September saying it would take legal action to make UKBA reconsider.

UKBA said that it had made its decision after a series of investigations into the university had shown failures in its systems for checking up on international students. The UKBA alleges that the university's systems were inadequate in three main areas.
• There were no adequate checks to ensure that students had tier 4 student visas
• There were no adequate checks to ensure that students attended lectures and
• There were no adequate checks to ensure that students spoke sufficiently good English to benefit from a university education
The UKBA said that the rules state that universities must have these systems in place to prevent people who visit the UK on tier 4 student visas from working illegally in the UK. It said that, during an audit of 600 randomly chosen students in August, problems were found with 60% of them.

However, LMU disputes these claims 'in the strongest possible terms'. It said, in a statement released on its website, that it would take legal action to get the decision overturned. LMU insists that it had systems in place that exceeded those required by the UK's immigration authorities but says that UKBA had changed the rules substantially 14 times in the last three years making it impossible to understand or comply with the rules.

David O'Hara of solicitors Eversheds said 'there is, in law, no right of appeal against UKBA's decision. This means that the only legal route open to LMU is judicial review. Judicial review is a procedure whereby the High Court can review decisions made by public bodies and order them to reconsider or substitute its own decision for the original.

If LMU applies to the High Court for judicial review of UKBA's decision, the court will look at the decision and at the reasons that it was made. If the court considers that the decision 'was irrational… that the UKBA took into account irrelevant matters or failed to consider relevant matters, or that an unfair procedure was followed' then, O'Hara said, the court might order the UKBA to reconsider.

However, such a procedure would take 'many months' according to O'Hara, and the new academic year is about to begin. 'Given the urgency of the matter,' said Mr O'Hara, 'the university is likely to ask for a very quick initial hearing to consider an application that there are sufficient grounds for the High Court to grant a stay, or injunction, preventing revocation of the licence until a full hearing has taken place many months later'. This would enable the 2,600 existing students to continue their courses while the case makes its slow progress through the courts.

The law states that such injunctions, known as interlocutory injunctions, may be granted if there seems to be a strong 'prima facie' case. The judge would also have to consider 'which course is likely to involve the least risk of injustice if it turns out to be ´wrong'. LMU would probably argue that disrupting the educations of 2,600 students would be a great injustice that could not possibly be undone, in the event that UKBA were found to have acted unlawfully.

Yesterday, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee strongly criticised the UKBA for its handling of the entire tier 4 student visa system. The Committee Chair, Patricia Hodge MP, said that UKBA had created 'a huge amount of bureaucracy for universities and an increasingly complex system for students to navigate'. She said that poor management had produced 'chaos' when the system was introduced in 2009 and that matters had not recovered since. This may indicate that any judicial review of the UKBA decision has a greater chance of success. notes that the Home Secretary has been successfully challenged in the High Court by way of judicial review over immigration matters in the past. For example, in 2006, 2008 and 2009, HSMP Forum (UK) successfully challenged the Home Secretary over the Home Office's interpretation of complex regulations regarding the right of highly skilled immigrants to remain in the UK. Renaissance Chambers, a set of barristers specialising in immigration, state that the majority of judicial review cases currently going through the High Court are immigration cases.

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

US Democrats promise law reform on immigration

The United States Democratic Party has committed itself to a comprehensive reform of the laws governing illegal immigration. At the National Convention of the party, held in Charlotte, North Carolina, Democrats endorsed the following position; 'Democrats know there is a broad consensus to repair that system and strengthen our economy, and that the country urgently needs comprehensive immigration reform that brings undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and requires them to get right with the law, learn English and pay taxes in order to get on a path to earn citizenship.' This commitment makes immigration one of the areas where Republicans and Democrats will fight the next Presidential election in November. The party also voted to 'reaffirm its commitment to a comprehensive plan beyond the DREAM Act'.

The Democrats' commitment to DREAM legislation puts them on a collision course with the Republicans. DREAM stands for 'Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors'. Members of the United States Congress have introduced various DREAM bills since 2001 which would confer conditional, permanent residency on certain illegal residents of good character who arrived in the United States as minors, often as very young children travelling with their parents. Every time a DREAM bill has been introduced it has failed to become law. Often, a bill has run out of time after a Republican filibuster. It is thought there are around 1.5m people who would be eligible for consideration for citizenship under any DREAM Act.

The Obama administration has already introduced a watered down version of the DREAM Act known as the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme. This came into effect on 15th August 2012. However, the programme is being challenged in a Texas lawsuit brought by Kris Kobach, a lawyer who is also the Republican Secretary of State for Kansas. The suit is brought on behalf of twelve US immigration officers. The suit argues that the DACA programme is unconstitutional because it is introduced by order of the President rather than by Act of Congress. It also claims that it prevents law enforcement officers from doing their jobs properly because it prevents them from investigating immigrants against whom action has been deferred.

The Democrat commitment to DREAM legislation and reform of the immigration system creates a clear battle line between themselves and the Republicans who are opposed to any change to the law. The Republicans argue that to introduce legislation of this sort would reward law-breaking, would encourage further illegal immigration and would lead to competition for jobs between illegal immigrants and US citizens. They also say that President Obama is only committed to DREAM legislation because he wants to attract Hispanic voters to the Democrat cause.

At the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida on 21st August 2012, at the instigation of Mr Kobach, the Republicans adopted a position hostile to illegal immigrants. The party has now espoused policies which would encourage illegal immigrants to leave the country by making their lives difficult. This policy, known as 'attrition through enforcement' would see US institutions withhold services and facilities from illegal residents, encouraging them to leave voluntarily. The policy is also known as 'self-deportation'.

This policy has already been introduced in Arizona, where an 'attrition through enforcement' law, Senate Bill 1070, drafted by Mr Kobach, is in place. Mr Romney, the Republican candidate for the Presidential election which will be held in November 2012, has signalled his support for this approach.

Representative Charles Gonzalez, (Democrat Texas), the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said, at the Democratic Convention on Tuesday 4th September, 'The truth is that [Romney] would separate families that have been here for generations. The truth is he has embraced distrust and division at the expense of American values'.

Another Hispanic Democrat, Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, told the Convention, speaking of the people who would benefit from DREAM legislation, 'It's time for Congress to enshrine in law their right to pursue their dreams in the only place they've ever called home'.

There was a demonstration outside the Democrat National Convention on Tuesday by illegal immigrants. There were ten arrests.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Australian government launches new leaflet to help immigrants settle

The Australian government has launched a new leaflet to help inform recent immigrants to Australia about the government's settlement policy and to inform them of the services that are available to help them settle.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Senator Kate Lundy, said that the leaflet, which is called The Settlement Journey: Strengthening Australia Through Migration, will be available in libraries and migrant resource centres and from councils and other community organisations. Ms Lundy said 'The Australian Government's settlement policy is calibrated to capitalise on the economic, social, and humanitarian benefits of migration so that new migrants can flourish and Australia can prosper.'

She added 'Australia's settlement services aim to address the needs of new arrivals to help them develop the knowledge and skills they need to become full participants in Australian society.'

The leaflet sets out the key principles governing Australia's treatment of its immigrant population.
1. Welcoming migrants and humanitarian entrants
Humanitarian entrants (asylum seekers) attend the Australian Cultural Orientation Program offshore before being granted entry to the country. Other migrants can find information online. On arrival, migrants should obtain assistance from settlement grants providers.

2. Providing support based on need
Various different agencies exist to help migrants with their needs, however complex, on arrival. English tuition is provided for those who cannot speak the language. The Settlement Grants Program should be able to help migrants to find the services they need.

3. Maximising opportunities for migrants and humanitarian entrants to participate and contribute to Australian society
The Australian Settlement Program aims to provide help for all recent migrants by connecting them with mainstream services such as education and employment providers and by linking them with the wider community.

The Australian government will be monitoring its performance and will report on the efficacy of its programs in 2015.

Ms Lundy said 'Migrants and refugees contribute to Australia's prosperity and success through their ingenuity, drive and determination and our settlement services are an investment in Australia's future.'

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Zealand immigration minister outlines immigration policy

Nathan Guy MP, the New Zealand Minister of Immigration, gave a speech today (31st August 2012) in which he said that New Zealand welcomed immigrants, temporary workers and students. In a wide-ranging speech, he laid out the country's immigration policy. Speaking to the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment, he said that immigration could help New Zealand's economy. In particular, it would be vital in the rebuilding of the city of Christchurch which, he said, would be 'the biggest single economic undertaking in New Zealand's history'. He said that export education could provide huge revenues for the country's economy and he explained that he had taken steps to prepare the country for 'mass arrivals' of refugees and asylum seekers.

Mr Guy said that the rebuilding of Christchurch after the earthquake in 2011 would require thousands of skilled workers and that there were not enough New Zealanders with the skills to fill all posts. The 'Canterbury Skill Shortage List' lists the skills where there are no available New Zealand born workers. The government had taken steps to ensure that temporary work visas for people with skills on that list were given without delay. Over 300 temporary work visas have already been granted.

Mr Guy said that his government believes that 'export education' will also help New Zealand with the rebuild of Canterbury, as well as benefitting the wider economy. The education industry in the Canterbury region, where the city of Christchurch lies, has been hit badly since the earthquake. The government has therefore introduced measures to allow certain students to work for up to 20 hours per week while studying in Christchurch. This will encourage more students to come, he said. He said the export education sector already brought in NZ$2.3bn per annum and his government intended to double this figure in 15 years.

Mr Guy said that he would also allow certain key migrants to bring their families to live with them when they settle in New Zealand. He said that parents of existing migrants who can bring funds or who have high income sponsors will be processed more quickly. This will encourage migrants with more skills to choose New Zealand as a place to live and encourage economic growth, he said.

He also drew attention to the Investor Management Scheme, which encourages business migrants to settle in New Zealand which, he claimed, had resulted in actual and potential investment in the country of NZ$1bn.

He said that his government had also invested NZ$75m in the Immigration Global Management System. This would, he said, make immigration quicker and easier for the right candidates. There will be fewer categories of visas. Applicants for visas will have an online account where they will be able to track the progress of their applications. The New Zealand Now website has been revamped, he said. It now features a 'Skillfinder' which will help skilled migrants to connect with New Zealand employers with skills vacancies.

Mr Guy said that his government had also discovered and prevented a student visa fraud in China and was taking steps to deal with the arrival of boatloads of refugees in New Zealand. No asylum seekers have ever reached New Zealand by boat but Mr Guy said, in his speech, 'in 2010 a boat carrying nearly 500 asylum seekers reached Canada. If they can make it that far, they can certainly reach New Zealand.' He said that he had been to Australia to visit detention centres there. He said legislation to deal with the threat should be passed by the end of this year though he did not say what form this legislation would take.

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

UK MPs criticise UK immigration authorities over tier 4 student visa system

The UK parliament's Commons Public Accounts Committee published a report entitled 'Immigration: Points based System Student Route' today, 4th September 2012. The report is fiercely critical of the UK immigration authorities.

The report finds that UK immigration authorities were wrong to introduce the new Tier 4 student visa, which is part of the UK's points-based visa system, in 2009. Margaret Hodge, the Chair of the Committee, said at a Westminster press conference this morning that management failures by the UK border Agency had resulted in massive abuse of the system.

'The Agency implemented the new system before proper controls were in place,' she said. 'It removed the controls it relied on under the old system…before it had replaced them with new checks and controls.' 'The result of the Agency's poorly planned and ill-thought out course of action was chaos; an immediate high level of abuse of the new system and a surge in the number of student visas. In 2009, the number of migrants who abused the student route to work rather than study went up by as much as 40,000 to 50,000.'

The old system, used before 2009, she said, relied primarily on 'intentions testing and spot check interviews by entry clearance officers'. This system was scrapped in March 2009 and 'the Agency did not make their secure electronic system, which demonstrated that a student had been sponsored by a licenced sponsor, mandatory until February 2010'.

Mrs Hodge said that since its catastrophic error in 2009, 'the Agency has been playing catch-up, continually adjusting the rules and procedures in order to try to tackle abuse.' She continued 'The result has been to create a huge amount of bureaucracy for universities and an increasingly complex system for students to navigate. A bad situation has been made worse by poor customer support being provided by the Agency.'

Last week, on 29th August 2012, the UKBA removed the Highly Trusted Sponsor status from London Metropolitan University (LMU). The UKBA claimed that LMU had not put systems in place to ensure that its students;
• Had visas,
• Were able to speak English adequately
• Attended lectures.

The UKBA decision means that LMU can no longer teach students from outside the European Economic Area and 2,600 international students currently studying there will have to leave the UK within 60 days of receiving notification to do so, unless they can find other institutions to teach them.

Yesterday, 3rd September 2012, the chairman of LMU's board of governors, Clive Jones CBE, announced that it intends to take legal action against the UKBA to make it reverse its decision. Mr Jones released a statement on the university's website blaming the UKBA for LMU's difficulties. He said 'the university has been conducting checks on its international students…specifically in relation to English language and educational ability, that not only meet UKBA's published requirements but exceed those requirements in a number of key areas'. He said that the UKBA had failed to respond to LMU's questions about correct procedures despite repeated requests and said that 'UKBA's requirements have changed substantially at least 14 times in the last three years'.

Yesterday, 3rd September, the Westminster Parliament held a debate on the subject of London Metropolitan University. The debate was initiated by Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, whose Islington North constituency is home to the main LMU site.

During the debate, Mr Corbyn asked Damian Green, the UK immigration minister, to allow international students already studying at LMU to finish their courses in the UK. He also asked to be told the number of students found to be in contravention of the rules.

Mr Green said he would not allow affected students to continue with their studies but said that the government was establishing a taskforce to help them find courses elsewhere. He said that a UKBA audit in August had found that the university's poor systems did not allow him to say exactly how many students were genuine but he said that, of a sample of 600 students checked in August 2012, there were found to be problems with 60%.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East and the chairman of the Westminster parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee, said that even if students can find another course, they would have to repeat a year of study, pay another set of fees and pay for another visa from UKBA. He said that, although the government had promised help for those affected, none had yet been given and the taskforce had not yet arrived.

Speaking this morning at Westminster, Mrs Hodge said that the Commons Public Accounts Committee had found that the UKBA had failed to take 'sufficient action to deal with migrants abusing the student route'. She said the UKBA 'should not be ignoring such large numbers of people living and working in the UK illegally.' However, she also said that students usually left within 5 years and it would be more informative to report net migration figures excluding students as well as including them in future.

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Australian immigration predicted to hit 209,000 in 2014-2015

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) predicts that annual net overseas immigration will rise slowly to about 208,000 in the year ending in June 2016 from its current level of around 198,000 in the year ending in June 2012.

DIAC predicts that there will be 490,400 arrivals of foreign nationals who expect to be present for 12 of the 16 months in Australia prior to the year's end in June 2016 and 282,000 departures of Australians intending to be absent over the same period. The findings are to be found in DIAC's latest publication on the matter, The Outlook for Net Overseas Migration, June 2012

The report states that, of the arrivals in the country in the year to June 2016, around 90,200 will be permanent arrivals. These entrants will fall into three categories. Around 45,900 will be skilled workers. Around 36,400 will be family members of Australian permanent residents and citizens.

DIAC predicts that there will also be 7,900 who settle permanently in Australia under the country's Humanitarian Program.

The report predicts that, of the 220,900 temporary arrivals, 89,200 will be students. The number of workers granted temporary residency under a 457 visa will rise from around 29,900 in 2011 to around 37,200 in the year to June 2016. There will also be 56,000 visitors with Working Holiday Visas and 38,500 tourists.

Analysis of historical net overseas migration shows that in 2009-10, 28.6% of net migration comprised UK citizens. 23.7% were from China or Taiwan and 21.2% came from India. Most students fame from China (30%), India (16.4%) and Malaysia (5.4%). The most working visa visitors came from South Korea, the UK and Ireland. Most 457 visas were granted to applicants from South Africa, India and the UK.

In 2009-2010 most skilled permanent migrants to Australia came from India. 6,800 permanent residency visas were granted to Indian citizens. UK citizens were granted 6,700 such visas. In every other year from 2003 to 2009, the only period for which figures were collected, there were more successful applicants from the UK than from any other country. DIAC predicts that, while British applicants will continue to make up a sizeable proportion of the total in future, there will be a growing proportion of successful applicants from India.

In order to qualify as a skilled migrant, applicants must be skilled at one of 192 occupations to be found on the Skilled Occupations List. This list can be found on the DIAC website. The following occupations are among those to be found on the list:

• Doctors (surgeons, dermatologists, etc.)
• Therapists (physiotherapist, occupational, etc.)
• Nurse (community health, disability and rehabilitation, etc.)
• Lawyer (barrister and solicitor)
• Accountant (management and taxation, etc.)
• Engineer (geotechnical, electronics, industrial, etc.)
• Tradesmen (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc.)

As of 1st July 2012, skilled workers who wish to apply for an Australian skilled migration visa may submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) for one of three new classes of visa

• Subclass 189 (skilled independent – permanent)
• Subclass 190 (skilled nominated – permanent) or
• Subclass 489 (skilled regional – provisional)

Applicants will need to pass a points test to be invited to apply for a visa. Among the factors for which points are awarded are age, fluency in English and educational qualifications. A full list can be found on our website.

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Canada announces proposals for skilled immigration reform

Jason Kenney, the Canadian minister responsible for immigration, announced a series of reforms to the Canadian Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) on 17th August 2012. Mr Kenney said that he hoped that the changes would enable skilled immigrants to 'hit the ground running'.

The FSWP enables applicants to progress towards permanent residence in Canada. Applicants are assessed on a points 'grid' that measures their 'overall capacity to adapt to Canada's labour market.' The grid measures factors including education, work experience and knowledge of English or French.
Mr Kenney said that his department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), had accumulated 'a large body of data and evidence over the years showing what skills and qualifications are most likely to lead to success for skilled immigrants.' After assessing the evidence, CIC proposes the following changes to the program.

• Making language the most important selection factor. The minister proposes introducing minimum language fluency thresholds and increasing the number of points awarded for linguistic ability.
• Skewing the system in favour of younger immigrants. Younger immigrants are more likely to 'gain valuable Canadian experience' and will remain in the workforce for longer.
• Increasing points for Canadian work experience and reducing the points awarded for foreign work experience.
• Simplifying the arranged employment process. It is hoped that this will prevent fraud and, at the same time, enable employers to fill vacancies quickly.
• Awarding points for spousal language ability and Canadian experience.

CIC also proposes introducing the Educational Credential Assessment scheme (ECA). This scheme is designed to ensure that immigrants with foreign qualifications are properly trained to work in their chosen field. The ECA will require that, where an applicant under the FSWP has acquired educational credentials abroad, those qualifications should be reviewed by a designated organisation and compared to their Canadian equivalent. After the comparison is made, points will be awarded to applicants who may, or may not, then be licensed to practice in a regulated occupation. CIC has issued a Call for Service Proposals today, 20th August 2012, inviting applications from organisations wishing to conduct the reviews of qualifications. These proposals must be submitted by September 21st 2012. The new arrangements are expected to come into force in January 2013.

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Immigration policy moves to centre stage in US election campaign

An advisor to Mitt Romney has launched a lawsuit attacking President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme, thereby making illegal immigration a hot election issue.

Kris Kobach, an advisor to the Romney campaign on immigration, is the lawyer for ten government employees, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention and Removal Unit agents, who have filed a lawsuit against the Obama Administration claiming that DACA has made it impossible for them to do their jobs. Mr Kobach is also the Secretary of State for Kansas and a lawyer for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, an organisation opposed to illegal immigration.

The DACA programme, which was eventually introduced last week, enables illegal immigrants who
• have no convictions for serious offences,
• have lived in the US for five years,
• are under 30 and
• have a degree, have served in the military or are in school,
to apply for a determination that grants them an effective immunity from deportation for two years. Successful applicants can then apply for a work permit.

The agents claim in their suit that the DACA programme has made it impossible for them to do their jobs. They claim that they are duty-bound, by federal law, to detain and investigate illegal immigrants but they are being ordered by federal government appointees not to do so.

They also argue that the DACA programme 'unconstitutionally usurps and encroaches upon the legislative powers of Congress.' By this they mean that the policy violates the US doctrine of separation of powers between the legislature and the executive. President Obama introduced the DACA programme by making an executive order. The lawsuit claims that this is unconstitutional and that Congress should make laws in the US, not the President. The Defendants in the suit are Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton. President Obama's name does not appear on the suit.

The Republicans have long claimed that President Obama introduced the programme for political reasons. They say he hopes to attract votes from the Hispanic community. Many of the people who will be eligible to apply for a deferral, the Republicans point out, will be of Hispanic ethnicity. Mr Kobach says that he informed the Romney campaign that he would be bringing the lawsuit on behalf of his clients but did not discuss the case with anyone on Mr Romney's staff.

Mr Kobach is well-known for his anti-immigration stance in the US. He is best known in the US as the author of Senate Bill 1070, an Arizona law governing the treatment of suspected illegal immigrants. The law contains provisions that require state law enforcement officers to check the papers of anyone that they have stopped if they have reason to believe he may be an illegal immigrant. Mr Kobach is an advocate of a policy of 'attrition through enforcement'. This means that the state should enforce all laws strictly to make life as hard as possible for illegal immigrants so that they will leave voluntarily. The policy is also sometimes referred to as 'self-deportation'.

On Tuesday 21st August 2012 Mr Kobach persuaded the Romney campaign to adopt a hard-line anti-immigrant stance to put before Republican Party delegates at the party's National Congress which will begin in Tampa, Florida on Monday 27th August. In particular, Mr Kobach has persuaded Romney to support the efforts of state governments to deal with illegal immigrants; that is, to support Senate Bill 1070.

Mr Kobach told Fox News yesterday that 'the Obama administration has ordered federal law enforcement agents to break the law, to ignore the laws that they're supposed to enforce and, in the case of the ICE officers, to actually break federal laws that say you're supposed to deport certain people. And in each case, the Obama administration seems to be doing so for political reasons.'

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Romney campaign said that the Romney camp was hoping to attract 38% of Hispanic votes in the election in November. At present, polling suggests that Romney's Republicans have 28% Hispanic support compared to President Obama's 63%.

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

Monday, September 3, 2012

UK Border Agency to set up database

The United Kingdom's immigration authority, the UK Border Agency, has announced that it intends to launch a database of information about immigrants to the UK in September. The UKBA has been working on the National Allegation Database for some time. It is intended to store information about foreign nationals residing in the UK and to prevent people from staying in the country illegally. The UKBA hopes that the database will enable it to clear the backlog of 276,000 immigration cases currently on its books.

The UKBA intends to keep records of all those coming to Britain from outside the European Union, particularly those with UK Tier 4 student visas. Personal details will be taken from various sources including flight records. The UKBA will write to those on the database at the point when their visa is about to expire. The letter will warn that, if the recipient does not leave within 28 days, he will be deported and barred from returning to the UK.

The United Kingdom's Immigration Minister, Damian Green, said earlier this week 'From debrief interviews, we have found that a third of people decide to overstay at the point their visa expires. If we can send these people letters warning of the consequences of illegally overstaying then I'm sure we can reduce the total number deciding to remain.'

The database will also contain details of allegations made by members of the public about suspected illegal immigrants. A Home Affairs Select Committee report in July complained that the UKBA was failing to act on tip-offs received from the public. It said that the UKBA received 25,600 communications about suspected illegal immigrants between December 2011 and March 2012. Only 900 of these contacts were followed up.

Keith Vaz MP, the Labour chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, welcomed the news of the launch but said that there had been unacceptable delays. He said that the UKBA must take steps to find 'bogus migrants' and 'remove them quickly'

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