Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Anti-immigration laws in Arizona 'have damaged state economy'

A new report from the right-wing think tank The Cato Institute has found that anti-immigrant legislation introduced in Arizona in 2007 and 2010 has damaged the state economy. The report, The Economic Case against Arizona's Immigration Laws, was written by Cato Institute immigration policy analyst Alex Nowrasteh.

Nowrasteh analysed Arizona's economic performance after it passed two pieces of legislation designed to make life so uncomfortable for illegal immigrants that they would 'self-deport'. In 2007 the state passed the Legal Arizona Workers Act (LAWA). This law was designed to drive illegal immigrants out of the state by making life economically difficult for them.

LAWA introduced the 'business death penalty' which would force a business to close down if it knowingly employed illegal immigrant labour on two occasions. It also made it compulsory for businesses to check all new staff against the E-Verify electronic database of US workers to ensure that they had the right to work in the US. These provisions, Nowrasteh says, made it expensive and risky for businesses to hire new staff.

Speaking to Alyona Minkovski on her discussion show on Huff Post Live, Nowrasteh said that, after LAWA was introduced in 2007, the number of businesses formed and registered over the next year in Arizona fell by 15% from the number the previous year.

He denied that the slowdown in Arizona was caused by the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market. He said that, in other, similar, states nearby, where there were no anti-immigrant laws enacted, business registrations remained at broadly the same level over the same period.

The problem was made even worse, he said, in 2010 when Arizona introduced Senate Bill 1070. This law attempted to force illegal immigrants out of the state by using police powers to make life as difficult as possible for them.

The two laws led to many illegal immigrants leaving the state. This, in turn, led to a collapse in property prices as property lay vacant, says Nowrasteh.

Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation, another right wing, free-trade think tank told Alyona Minkovski, 'the most vibrant cities are ones where there is a large immigrant presence. It is not smart for cities and states to drive these people out.' She added 'there is an undeniable correlation between immigration and economic vibrancy.'

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

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Economist attacks UK immigration policy

The world-renowned Economist magazine has published a scathing attack on the UK government's immigration policy. It says that the government's policies on legal skilled migration and on international students coming to the UK are damaging the UK's prospects in a competitive world.

When it came to power in 2010, the Coalition government headed by the Conservative Party leader David Cameron pledged to reduce net inward migration from around 260,000 per annum in 2010 to 'tens of thousands' annually by 2015. So far, it has had little success.

However, it has introduced a series of measures that are, The Economist claims, having a negative impact on British business.

The Economist says that the government's policies are having the "desired effect" at least to a certain extent – there were 7% fewer Tier 2 work-related visas issued in the year to June and 21% fewer Tier 4 student visas - but says that the costs are unacceptable.

The magazine concedes that the Tier 2 (General) visa cap, set at 20,700, has never been reached. However, it says that this may be because firms are dissuaded from applying for visas by the amount of bureaucracy that an application entails. Multinational businesses are able to avoid the cap by using the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer visa (the number of these visas issued is up by a third since 2008) but those who cannot use this option have greater difficulties in obtaining Tier 2 visas.

'Business folk complain about the expense and wrangling involved in securing work visas. Firms apply and hear nothing for months. There are tales of annoying rule changes at short notice' according to The Economist.

This is particularly true for the technology start-ups at 'Silicon Roundabout' London's IT hub. Charles Delingpole of Market Invoice, one such firm, says 'we can't spend months and thousands of pounds on something that might not work.'

And the best candidates, who are generally to be found in America, have so many offers that they are not going to commit to a British firm and then wait for a visa. 'Good candidates have better options than waiting five months for a British work visa,' says Dan Crow of SongKick, another Silicon Roundabout start-up.

Other businesses find that they need overseas staff for different reasons. One London architect told The Economist that he lost business in Russia because he was unable to bring talented Russian staff to the UK. 'If you are trying to work overseas, you need to present yourself as an international practice,' he said.

Firms in The City, London's financial centre, are also frustrated by the restrictions on bringing in foreign workers. Chris Cummings of TheCityUK, a financial sector pressure group, says 'The attitude of Singapore is "How can we help you to move here?"'. He warns the government against a complacent trust that finance will not move elsewhere if pushed.

But The Economist says that the most damaging prong of the government's attack on immigration may be the assault on 'export education'. The sector generated £3bn in fees alone in 2010-11.
80% of students have gone within five years of arriving, says The Economist, and those that remain are usually the best qualified of all. They are also more likely to be post-graduate students in science and engineering than European Union ones. . Dan Crow of SongKick told The Economist that half of his staff was from the UK but all the others came to the UK as students.

The Economist warns that recent changes mean that students now have to leave the UK within 60 days of the expiry of their student visa. Under the old rules they were entitled to stay for two years after graduation. This means that the UK is pushing talented people away. These people have many options and Britain should be welcoming them, it says.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2012

New Zealand 'Hub' will match immigrants with job vacancies

The New Zealand Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has joined his cabinet colleague, Social Development Minister Paula Bennett, in announcing the establishment of the Christchurch Skills and Employment Hub.

The Hub will be based in Christchurch. Four 'skills brokers' will help to match job vacancies with workers seeking employment. Where there are no New Zealand citizens who are able and willing to fill any vacancy, Hub staff will help international talent to step in. the Hub is expected to 'go live' in November 2012.

The New Zealand government is accelerating the process of rebuilding the city of Christchurch after the devastating earthquake of February 2011. Much of the city was devastated and the rebuild will be by far the biggest infrastructure project in New Zealand history.

The rebuild has already been hampered by a lack of available skilled tradesmen. Employers have complained of a lack of skilled workers available in many trades. Many residents left the city after the earthquake so reducing the number of available workers who can help with the rebuilding. In addition, the sheer scale of the project means that there are not enough workers available.

The Hub will match available workers with job vacancies. Four 'skills brokers' will be based in Christchurch. A website will also advertise positions and there will be coordination between government departments and agencies. For example, the Hub will liaise with Work and Income, the New Zealand unemployment agency. Where there are no available and suitable New Zealand workers able to fill a role, the skills brokers will assist overseas applicants in finding positions and in completing visa applications.

Mr Guy said 'this will give New Zealanders the first crack at jobs in the rebuild and save employers' time if they have to apply to Immigration for a work visa for new staff'.

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Record number of visitors to Australia outstay their visas

Figures released by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) show that a record number of travellers remained in Australia illegally after their visas had expired last year.

In the 12 months to June 2012 19,570 people outstayed their leave to remain in Australia. This is double the number who did so in 2007 (9330). In the month of April 2012 alone, 4,300 people outstayed their permission to remain. The figures show that a lower percentage of overstayers were deported from Australia last year than five years ago. 8,320 of the 19,570 were deported at a cost of around AUS$35-40m.

A DIAC spokesman told The Australian newspaper that this was partly because many of those who overstayed were holidaymakers who did so by mere days and often by mistake. The fact that they had not been removed did not therefore mean that they were still in the country.

The spokesman said 'In 2011-12, more than 99% of more than 4.8m temporary entrants complied with the requirement to leave Australia prior to their visa expiring.'

He added Immigration compliance operations have actually led to about a 25% increase in the number of visa overstayers and other unlawful non-citizens being detected and either removed from Australia or having their status regularised.'

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ontario advisory body recommends increase in immigration

The Ontario Expert Round Table on Immigration, a committee established to advise the Ontario provincial government on immigration policy, has issued a report saying that Ontario should increase its immigration level to 1% of its population (or 135,000 people) annually.

The Expert Round Table comprised businesspeople, academics and representatives of the not-for-profit sector and the province's settlement services. Its report is titled Expanding Our Routes To Success. The report states that the numbers of immigrants settling in Ontario fell from 89,079 in 2001 to 36,939 in 2011. Because Ontario has never had an immigration strategy, it is not attracting those with the greatest skills, the Round Table says.

Because of its ageing population, a workforce forecast to shrink in the near future and a severe skills shortage, the report recommends that the province should establish an active immigration policy to attract highly skilled workers. 'Immigration is key to Ontario's future prosperity and the development of an immigration strategy should be an integral part of the province's overall economic strategy.'

The report says that immigration policy must be integrated across all ministries of the provincial government. The report comes up with 32 recommendations, the first of which is to increase annual immigration to 135,000.

Other recommendations include:
• Immigration policy should be fair and foster diversity
• Most immigration should come via the Federal Skilled Worker Program
• The cap on immigration via Ontario Provincial Nominee Program should be raised from 1,000 to 5,000
• The Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program should be used to recruit highly skilled temporary foreign workers in the skilled trades
• Greater efforts to be made to attract entrepreneurs to the province
• Employers and communities must help immigrants to become integrated members of Ontario society
• The government must continue to honour its traditional commitment to refugees'

Provincial immigration minister Charles Sousa said 'I would like to thank the expert roundtable for their work; It will help us develop Ontario's first immigration strategy that will support economic development in the province.'

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

Monday, October 22, 2012

UK immigration squad arrests eight in London visa fraud raid

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has reported that it has made eight arrests in London as part of a major investigation of a suspected visa fraud ring.

UKBA investigators along with officers seconded from the Metropolitan Police carried out raids on five houses in Harrow, Brent, Southall, Hayes and Kilburn and four business premises in Harrow and Park Royal. Eight people were arrested. Two of the business addresses were the offices of immigration advisory firms.

The UKBA released a statement saying that 'the raids were the culmination of a year-long investigation into a criminal network suspected of assisting hundreds of clients mainly Indian, Pakistani and Nepali nationals to fraudulently apply for UK visas. Clients would typically pay thousands of pounds each.'

Andy Shortland of the West London Criminal and Financial Investigation Team of the UK Border Agency said 'our investigation is targeting an organised network suspected of being involved in a complex and systematic attempt to evade the UK's immigration controls. That investigation will continue with the evidence we have seized today.'

All those arrested were male British citizens aged between 30 and 35. They were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. All are being held at a London police station.

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Immigration reform law would create 1.4m jobs in US says report

A report published by the left-of-centre Washington think tank The Center for American Progress says that passing the DREAM Act would add US$329bn to the US economy by 2030. 1.4m jobs would also be created, the report finds. The report was released in collaboration with the Partnership for a New American Economy, an organisation founded by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and the media magnate Rupert Murdoch.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act was first introduced to Congress in 2001 but has never become law. If passed, the law would provide that certain illegal immigrants who were brought to the US as children would be granted permanent residency. To qualify illegal residents would have to
• Be of good character
• Have lived in the US for at least five years and
• Have completed two years in the military or two years of a four year higher education course.
They would then be granted residency for six years. They might then qualify for permanent residency providing they completed their university course or receive an honourable discharge from the armed forces.

At present, the potential beneficiaries of the DREAM Act have no right to remain in the US. If they become known to the authorities, they may be deported. As a result, they find it hard to find jobs or to attend universities. Consequently, many are poor and, work for low wages in the shadow economy.

The report, titled The Economic Benefits of Passing the DREAM Act, states that there are 2.1m people who would benefit from the passing of the DREAM Act. It says that their earnings would increase because they would have legal status and because they would pursue higher education. Their earnings would thereby increase by an average 19% or a total of US$148bn. This money would be recycled throughout the economy and create a total benefit of US$329bn, 1.4m jobs and US$10bn of extra tax revenue.

However, Steven Camarotta of the right-wing think tank Center of Immigration Studies which is broadly opposed to the DREAM Act, says that the economic argument in favour of the DREAM Act is weak. 'Even their own study shows that the effect on the economy is trivial. It's so tiny relative to the size of the US economy that you can't even measure it. That's why they do it over 20 years' he said.

Mr Camarotta said that the stronger argument in favour of DREAM legislation is a 'moral' one which focuses on the unfortunate consequences of illegal status for illegal immigrants.

He said that, by focussing on the economic arguments, the report's author drew attention to the fact that, if the law is passed, there will be many educated immigrants competing for jobs with US citizens.

But Angela Kelley of the Center for American Progress said that immigrants could create jobs. She cited the example of Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, who was born in the former Soviet Union. He has created many jobs for American citizens.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2012

UK's National Union of Students calls for end to police registration

The National Union of Students has called for an end to the requirement for students to register with police before they begin their courses.

It is the start of the academic year in the UK and the new intake of students who have come from outside the European Economic Area are required to register with the police before they are allowed to start their courses.

All students in London are required to register at;

The Overseas Visitors Registration Office
Brandon House
180 Borough High Street

There are over 30,000 new students in London who need to register this year. The office is not able to cope and this has caused lengthy queues and has resulted in students missing the beginning of their courses.

Mariella Nihabi from Brazil told The Guardian that she had been to Brandon House on three occasions but had been turned away. 'I cannot attend class until I have registered but this is the third time I have tried queuing. Today I have been here since 6am, There are people who got here earlier. It's horrible. We have to wait for hours and pay for the travel each time. If they want us to register, they could at least ask us to do it at a police station nearer to where we live.'

Daniel Stevens of the NUS said 'it is absolutely unacceptable that students be asked to queue for hours, often in terrible weather, and be expected to arrive before 6.30am to have any chance of being seen.' He said 'There are numerous ways to avoid the distress being faced by these students including increasing staff numbers, adjusting the amount of time being given to students to register or creating a ticket system so that students have defined times to register.'

Mr Stevens said that it was unclear why students have to register in any event as all their information is already held by the UK Border Agency.

However, the Metropolitan police website merely advises students to arrive early but not too early. It asks those queuing not to spend the night outside the office. It says 'queues are currently starting as early as 12.00am. In the interests of health and safety we would kindly request that you do not start queuing at this time as it forces us to close our queues as early as 6.30m'.

An unnamed law student at the London School of Economics told The Guardian that he had been queuing for four days without success; 'Obviously, this will damage British universities' reputation. This isn't the only country that offers international education – the US and Canada do not treat foreign students like this.'

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


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

US Republican presidential team at odds on immigration policy

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, told The Denver Post newspaper in an interview on Monday 1st October 2012 that he would not allow the deportation of illegal immigrants who have paid for a deferral of any action to deport them. This promise seems to put Mr Romney at odds with his running mate, Paul Ryan.

Mr Romney was asked by Denver Post journalist Allison Sherry whether he would overturn President Obama's Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This program, introduced by the President earlier this year, allowed certain young illegal immigrants to apply for immunity from deportation for a two year period upon payment of a fee. Mr Romney said 'the people who have received the special visa that the president has put in place, which is a two-year visa, should expect that the visa would continue to be valid. I'm not going to take something that they've purchased.'

Mr Romney added, 'Before those visas have expired, we will have the full immigration reform plan that I've proposed.'

However, on 24th September 2012, Mr Ryan, the Vice-Presidential Candidate and Mr Romney's running mate told voters in Lima, Ohio that they were planning to 'undo' President Obama's executive order that set up the DACA program. This appears to contradict what Mr Romney has said on this issue.

Mr Romney's words have been interpreted by many commentators as an effort to soften his previous position and appeal to swing voters, particularly to voters of Hispanic heritage. Mr Romney is trailing Mr Obama in the polls among Hispanic voters. The Huffington Post on 1st October 2012 reported that a national poll showed that only 21% of Hispanic voters support Mr Romney against 73% who say that they would back President Obama. In addition to the apparent softening of his line on illegal immigration, he was also photographed eating a Burrito Bowl at a Denver Mexican fast food restaurant.

The new policy is a significant departure for the Republicans. At the Republican National Convention, Mr Romney and Mr Ryan took a very hard line on immigration. Mr Romney supported legislation that would encourage the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the US, many of them Mexicans, to 'self-deport' by making their lives difficult. He has also said that, if elected, he would veto the DREAM Act, a bill which would see some illegal immigrants given legal residency.

Mr Romney also told The Denver Post that he would introduce immigration reform legislation in the first year of his term. 'I will propose a piece of legislation which will reform our immigration system to improve legal immigration so people don't have to hire lawyers to figure out how to get here legally', he said, adding 'The president promised in his first year, his highest priority that he would reform immigration and he didn't. And I will.'

However, Mr Romney was not clear on the details of his reform legislation. He has previously suggested that illegal immigrants who have served in the US armed forces might be allowed permanent residency.

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

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

UK opposition leader says immigration is 'too high'

The leader of the United Kingdom's Labour Party Ed Miliband has given an interview to the BBC's lunchtime news programme The World at One. In an interview on Thursday 4th October 2012, the opposition leader told BBC journalist Martha Kearney that he thought that immigration into the UK, particularly low-skilled immigration was 'too high'.

Mr Miliband was a member of the last Labour government which was voted out in 2010. He has previously admitted that that government did not do enough to address public concerns on immigration. Census records suggest that there was net inward immigration of 3.2 million people during the 13 years of the last Labour administration. Some of that immigration comprises people who came from Central and Eastern European countries that joined the European Union in 2004; Poland, Hungary, The Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Because there is a single labour market in Europe, a citizen of an EU country can in general work easily in another EU Country. However, EU countries were entitled to place temporary restrictions on immigration from the new member states that joined in 2004. Most existing European member states put suchBulgaria controls in place. In particular, France and Germany did so. However, the Labour government of the UK did not do so. It said that such controls were not necessary and said that it had estimated that only 13,000 Eastern Europeans would come to Britain each year. Over 250,000 came in 2010 alone. Official estimates suggest that there are now approximately 775,000 eastern Europeans resident in the UK. The Labour government was criticised for this failure to limit their numbers in 2004. When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU in 2007, the UK put restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens working in the UK.

Mr Miliband said that he was concerned about immigration but said that the coalition's policy of attempting to put a cap on immigrant numbers would not work. He said that most immigration came from within the European Union and that the government had no control over that because of the free movement of labour throughout the EU.

Mr Miliband said that it was important to ensure that, when people came to the country, they came in a way that delivered economic benefits for all rather than in a way that saw immigrants undercutting people in the UK by working for less.

He said that he was now 'less sanguine' that he had been when he was in government 'about the effects when people come in. If there is an open Europe, we must have the highest standards at work.' Mr Miliband said that jt would be necessary to police firms to ensure that unscrupulous employers did not pay low-skilled immigrants less than the minimum wage and to ensure that gangmasters did not exploit immigrants on building sites.

Ms Kearney pressed Mr Miliband to say whether he thought immigration was 'at a good level'. Mr Miliband said 'in terms of low-skilled migration, it is too high and I want to do something about it.'

On 3rd October 2012, Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, told the Labour Party Conference that the government should take 'much stronger action' on illegal immigration.

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Australia cancels 10,000 student visas

Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship has revoked over 10,000 student visas in the last financial year. The majority of these visas were cancelled because students failed to comply with the requirements of their courses.

A DIAC spokesman told The Age newspaper that over 3,000 visas were cancelled because the holders were not genuine students. Two were cancelled on character grounds and 15 were cancelled because the holder provided bogus evidence in support of their claim. The remaining 7,000 visas were cancelled because students failed to comply with the requirements of their course.

Australia, like the UK, Canada, and the US has a large 'export education' industry. DIAC says that 461,477 international students enrolled in Australian educational establishments in the year to August. This figure includes universities, language schools and high school. Though the figure is high, it is a reduction of 7.6% on the previous year's figure.

The Australian export education market was worth AUS$16.3bn per annum in 2011/12. However, the secretary general of the International Association of Universities, Eva Egron-Polak, said that Australia is facing increasing competition for students not only from the established export education providers such as the UK, the US and Canada but also from Asian countries such as China and Malaysia.

Ms Egron-Polak said that there are now as many non-Chinese students studying in China as there are Chinese students studying abroad.

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

Friday, October 12, 2012

US firms finding it harder to get L-1B 'specialized knowledge' visas

US firms are concerned that it is getting harder to transfer skilled staff from offices outside the US using the L-1B visa.

Fifty leading US companies, including Microsoft and Oracle, wrote an open letter to President Obama in March 2012 complaining about the increasing difficulties they were facing in importing staff to the US using the L-1B 'specialized knowledge' visa. The letter dated that 'American jobs and the US economy are being harmed'.

L1-B visas are temporary work permit visas which allow companies with offices in the US and elsewhere to transfer staff from foreign offices providing they have 'specialized knowledge' of a particular area of expertise which makes them invaluable to their company. They must also have worked for the firm for at least one year. L-1B visa holders are entitled to bring their family with them and are entitled to stay in the US for five years.

After the expiry of the five year period, visa holders must leave the US for at least 1 year (and continue working for the same company) before applying again. Firms are concerned that US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials are rejecting applications on spurious grounds.

Denise Rahmani is director of the Oracle US immigration program. She has responsibility for preparing Oracle's L-1B visa applications. If Oracle wants to bring a worker to the US from another part of the company elsewhere, she will submit the paperwork to USCIS. She told Businessweek magazine in June 2012 'it used to be that none of them got rejected [whereas today] it feels like the roll of the dice every time.'

Oracle says that, in 2011, 38% of L-1B visa applications were rejected. US government figures show that 27% of all 20,000 L-1B applications made in 2011 were rejected. Companies believe that the decisions are random and ill-informed.

Ms Rahmani says that one Oracle employee was refused entry on the grounds that he did not possess 'specialized knowledge' of a certain Oracle programme despite the fact that he had written the guidebook on it. She said 'They [USCIS staff] don't seem qualified to judge and assess what we deem as the right resource to do a job or deliver a project.'

US lawyers and companies complain that USCIS is under-resourced. It has only 250 case workers to cope with 423,000 applications for temporary work visas which are filed annually. Reports suggest that USCIS staff carry out hasty internet research in support of their decisions to approve or reject applications.

The USCIS understaffing problem is also affecting applications for L-1A management visas and H-1B specialty occupation visas.

USCIS director Alejandro Mayorkas has accepted that there are problems with USCIS's ability to make consistent decisions but also suggests that companies cannot 'transfer without limitations' when there are US workers who can do the job.

Glen Matthews, a dual qualified Canadian and US immigration lawyer says 'America is now losing the race for highly skilled workers and foreign corporate expansion to Canada.'

Mr Matthews says 'in the 18 years I have practiced US immigration law, I have never experienced such resistance to L1 visa petitions.' He says 'USCIS are denying…petitions and challenging even the strongest of cases. What message does that send? America does not want you!'

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Obama tells Hispanic TV station that biggest failure was on immigration

President Obama gave an interview to Univision, a Spanish language broadcaster on Wednesday 19th September 2012 and said 'my biggest failure so far is we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done.' However, he said that his failure was largely caused by the Republicans in Congress; particularly the 20 Congressmen who were on the record as supporters of reform but who had refused to cooperate with Democrats to change the law.

Mr Obama made a commitment to reform the immigration system in 2008 when he was the Democratic candidate for the presidency. Jorge Ramos, the Univision news presenter, said 'At the beginning of your government you had control of both chambers of Congress and yet you did not introduce immigration reform.'

The President replied that, in his first year as President, he had concentrated purely on the economy. He added that he had been unable to persuade any Republicans to support his government's plans for immigration reform. He admitted that he had found it difficult to get legislation passed through Congress and expressed frustration with the US Congress, which is described by commentators as 'gridlocked'.

The two main parties in Congress, the Democrats and the Republicans, are evenly balanced in both houses of Congress; The House of Representatives and The Senate. Since elections were held in 2010, the Republicans have a small majority in the House of Representatives, while the Democrats retain a small majority in the Senate. In both chambers, the numbers of Democrats and Republicans are fairly evenly balanced but the DREAM Act would need to gain majorities in both houses in order to become law. Therefore, without bipartisan support, it will be very difficult for the proposed Act to become law. Commentators say that political divisions in America are becoming more entrenched and Congressmen are less and less willing to work with their opponents to pass compromise legislation that contains elements that please both parties.

Many Americans feel a growing frustration with 'Washington'. President Obama told Mr Ramos 'you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change Washington from the outside. That's how the big accomplishments got done, because we mobilised the American people to speak out.'

The Republican candidate for the upcoming presidential election, Mitt Romney, jumped on President Obama's words yesterday and said they were an admission of defeat. 'The President threw up the white flag of surrender again,' he said; 'His slogan was 'Yes we can'. His slogan now is 'No we can't'.'

Immigration has become a major area of difference between Democrats and Republicans in the election, which will be held on November 6th 2012. The President has again committed himself to reforming the system in the first year of his second term. Mr Romney told an audience of Hispanic businessmen in Los Angeles last week that he wants to see reform too.

Mr Romney supports states like Arizona that have taken a hard line on illegal immigration. He has said he supports the deportation of illegal immigrants. He says the US must 'regain control of our borders'. He has accused President Obama of making reforms to the immigration system in order to win votes from Hispanic voters.

The President supports 'The DREAM Act' which would grant permanent residency to many illegal immigrants who came to the US as children. Mr Romney has said that, if he becomes President, he will veto the DREAM Act if Congress passes it.

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Australian Prime Minister says immigrants have duty to integrate

Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard attended the first Australian Multicultural Council lecture in Canberra on Wednesday 19th September 2012 and gave a speech in which she said that immigrants to Australia have a duty to abide by the law and to learn English. Ms Gillard spoke before the main speaker, Frank Lowy, the founder and chairman of the Westfield shopping mall group.

Ms Gillard spoke days after violent demonstrations in Sydney involving Muslims protesting against the creation of a Youtube film in the USA which is said to insult the Islamic prophet Mohammed. The demonstrations became violent and 400 demonstrators were involved in violence with the police outside the US consulate in the Sydney district of Hyde Park.

Eight protestors were arrested and charged with public order offences and two policemen were taken to hospital. Police Superintendent Mark Walton said that more arrests were likely once video footage of the riots have been examined.

Since the unrest, Muslim community leaders have condemned the violence as did politicians from all major political parties. However, fundamentalist pressure groups such as Hisb-ut-Tahrir condemned those who condemned the violence as 'anti-Islamic'.

The group issued a statement which said "the major issue with events in Sydney is not the violence, but the anti-Islamic agenda peddled by media and politicians, We encourage Muslims to continue in their noble work of resisting Western attacks, accounting the political establishment and media, and redoubling efforts to establish Islam and the Caliphate in the Muslim World."

Speaking at the inaugural Australian Multicultural Council Lecture event, Ms Gillard, who migrated to Australia from Wales as a child, said 'Multiculturalism is not just the ability to maintain our diverse backgrounds and cultures. It is the meeting-place of rights and responsibilities where the right to maintain one's customs, language and religion is balanced by an equal responsibility to learn English, find work, respect our culture and heritage and accept women as full equals.'

She added 'What we saw in Sydney at the weekend was not multiculturalism but extremism'.

The deliverer of the inaugural AMC lecture was Frank Lowy, a Jewish émigré from what is now the Czech Republic who arrived in Australia in 1952. He went on to establish the hugely successful Westfield property company. He spoke of 'a great unwritten deal' which migrants to Australia entered into. The deal enabled them to honour their cultures and religions while conforming to the values and norms of Australian society. He said 'with privileges come obligations,' saying that migrants must learn about the Australian system of government, respect the law and participate in civic institutions.

Mr Lowy said that the riots showed that that multiculturalism was 'a work in progress'. He added that the fact that many Muslim leaders had condemned the violent protests showed the strength of Australian multiculturalism.

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

US Congress unable to agree on technology work visas

Republicans and Democrats are unable to reach agreement in the United States Congress over legislation that would allow more foreign-born graduates from US universities to get visas allowing them to work in the US. There are currently two bills before Congress which would grant more visas to science and technology graduates. One was sponsored by the Republicans and the other by the Democrats. Because they will not support each other's laws, it seems that neither bill will be passed. This situation is called 'gridlock' and commentators say that, because of hardening attitudes among Congressmen and women, Congress is becoming gridlocked increasingly frequently.

Earlier this year, the Republicans introduced the STEM Jobs Act 2012. The act proposes the reallocation of 55,000 visas currently issued under the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. These visas would be issued instead to graduates from US universities in the STEM subjects; Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Republican member of the House of Representatives Lamar Smith said 'We could boost and spur job creation by allowing American employers more easily to hire some of the most qualified foreign graduates of US universities'. Mr Smith said that any of the graduates might come up with a technological innovation which, in turn, might create 'a whole new industry'.

However, Democrats oppose the Republican act because of the commitment to cut the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. This program was introduced in 1990 to encourage citizens from countries with lower rates of immigration to the US to apply for visas. More Democrats supported the STEM Jobs Act until the clause reallocating the visas from the Diversity Immigration Visa program was introduced to the Act.

Since the introduction of that clause, Democrats have withdrawn their support for the STEM Jobs Act and introduced an alternative act; The Attracting the Best and the Brightest Act 2012. The Democrats' act would enable some technology graduates to get a two year work visa. The academic requirements would be stricter than under the STEM Jobs Act. It would not see jobs cut from the Diversity Immigrant Program and would guarantee equal pay with equivalent American workers for visa holders.

Congress is now split almost entirely on party lines with Republicans and one or two Democrats supporting the STEM Jobs Act and the majority of Democrats supporting the Attracting the Brightest and The Best Act. Despite the fact that both parties say they want to increase the number of visas granted to able technology graduates, because they will not compromise, it seems that neither bill will be passed and no new visas will be granted.

The STEM Jobs Act will be voted on in the House of Representatives on Tuesday but, because it would require a two thirds majority to pass, without support from the Democrats, it has no chance of becoming law. US political commentators have noted that recently elected members of Congress are increasingly strident and less willing to compromise and, as a result, it is increasingly difficult for any legislation to pass.

American industry bodies The Information Technology Industry Council, The Consumer Electronics Association are both backing the STEM Jobs Act. In a joint statement they said 'Hiring advanced degree STEM professionals is a key to creating and retaining jobs in a variety of sectors in our innovation economy.

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Younger Britons less likely to oppose immigration

A survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Extremis Project suggests that younger Britons of all political persuasions are less likely to support anti-immigration or anti-Islamic policies than older ones. The Extremis Project describes itself as 'a platform for independent, objective and evidence-based research on extremism and terrorism'

YouGov questioned 1,725 British adults in an online survey. They were asked to say whether they would be more or less likely to support a party that supported various policies that have been supported by right wing parties throughout Europe. The four policies were
• To stand up to political and business elites
• To stop all immigration into the UK
• To prioritise British values over other cultures and
• To reduce the numbers of Muslims/presence of Islam

The survey found that 41% of the sample would be more likely to vote for a party that promised to stop all immigration into the UK against only 28% who said that they would be less likely to support such a party. 37% of people would be more likely to support a party that promised to reduce the numbers of Muslims in society against only 23% who said they would be less likely to do so.

The poll asked those taking part to reveal what party they had voted for at the last general election and their ages. The different reactions to each policy by voters of different ages and political affiliations was then calculated.

The survey found that 74% of those that said that they had voted Conservative in the last general election said they would be more likely to support parties that prioritised British values. Over half of Conservative voters would support a party that promised to stop all immigration and 49% said that they would favour a party that promised to reduce the numbers of Muslims in the UK. Large numbers of Labour and Liberal Democrats also favoured these policies but the greatest numbers were found among Conservative voters.

However, Matthew Goodwin, who instigated the research and is an Associate Professor at Nottingham University, says that the generational difference between older and younger Conservative voters means that, despite the fact that many of their voters seem to favour anti-immigration and anti-Muslim policies, it would not provide the Conservatives with a lasting political advantage to adopt them as part of the party's manifesto. This is because of the sharp generational difference of opinion between younger and older Conservative voters.

While 66% of Conservatives aged over 60 would favour a party that promised to halt immigration, only 28% of Conservatives aged 18-24 would be. In fact, 71% of Conservatives aged 18-24 said that they would be less likely to support such a party, if they expressed a preference. Similarly while 63% of Conservatives over 60 would favour a party that said it would reduce the numbers of Muslims in the country, only 28% of 18-24 year old Conservatives felt the same.

Professor Goodwin, who is also a Fellow of the Chatham House says that 60% of all 18-24 year olds declare themselves to be less likely to support any party that espoused policies opposed to Islam or committed to ending immigration.

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