Friday, November 30, 2012

Canada will issue 35,000 parents and grandparents visas in 2013

Jason Kenney, the Canadian immigration minister, has announced that Canada intends to grant visas to 35,000 parents and grandparents of immigrants in 2013. This is the same number as were granted visas in 2012 and, Mr Kenney told reporters in Mississauga, Ontario on November 5th 2012, it is the highest number for 20 years. Mr Kenney said that this figure is 60% higher than the number for 2010.

The Canadian government instigated the Action Plan for Faster Family reunification in late 2011. Its intention was to process new applications from parents and grandparents of citizens and residents who wanted to visit Canada faster and to wipe out the backlog of historic applications in a reasonable time period. The backlog at that time stood at 165,000 applications and there was a waiting list of nearly eight years.

To that end, Mr Kenney announced that no new applications from citizens or residents to sponsor their parents or grandparents would be accepted for 24 months at least. CIC staff were then able to concentrate on reducing the backlog. Citizenship and Immigration Canada says that it hopes to have reduced that by more than 30,000 (around 20%) in the 13 months to the end of 2012.

Mr Kenney told reporters at his press conference on Tuesday 5th November that he was also continuing to work on creating a new system so that the system would operate more quickly in future and prevent the backlog from building up again.

CIC launched a national consultation in March 2012 and continued to run online consultations until May 25th 2012. The results of these consultations will be published soon on the CIC website, according to a statement released by CIC.

Mr Kenney told reporters that, on top of the 25,000 visas granted to parents on the PGP applications backlog, CIC also expects to issue around 10,000 Parent and Grandparent Super Visas by the end of the year. These visas were first issued in December 2011 and entitle the parents and grandparents of Canadian residents or citizens to come to visit their relative in Canada providing the relative has an income above a modest amount (the amount of income required varies depending on the number of children the relative has).

The parent or grandparent must also complete a medical examination and purchase health insurance for one year. They must also pay a fee. The advantage for grandparents and parents is that they can stay for up to two years in Canada, rather than and will therefore pay fewer fees. They will also find that the waiting time for a super visa should be eight weeks, rather than the eight years some people still have to wait on the PGP list.

Mr Kenney said that 10,000 super visas should be granted in 2013 as well.

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

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Canada to cut Federal Skilled Worker Program Numbers

Canada's immigration minister Jason Kenney announced further changes to Canadian immigration policy on 2nd November 2012. Mr Kenney said that the Canadian immigration system would be transformed by the end of 2013.

His headline announcement was that, by the end of 2013, the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) backlog would be eliminated well ahead of schedule. Mr Kenney had previously announced that the backlog would be cleared by the end of 2017.

Thereafter, Federal Skilled Worker Program applications will be considered as they are received and should be processed in under a year. 55,300 people will be admitted under the FSWP in 2013, a slight reduction on the 2012 figure. At the same time, the Canadian Experience Class will be expanded to include 10,000 people, compared to only 6,000 in 2012. The overall immigration figure will remain unchanged at around 260,000.

The Canadian Experience Class allows skilled workers from overseas who have been working in Canada in a skilled occupation to apply for permanent resident status.

Mr Kenney says that the changes he had announced would help Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), his governmental department, to eliminate the backlog in the Federal Skilled Worker Class completely by the end of 2014 and allow the introduction of an 'Expression of Interest' system similar to that which is operated by the Australian immigration authorities. It is expected to be known as the Federal Skilled Worker Pool. Mr Kenney said 'the government's number one priority remains the economy and job growth. Immigration backlogs are detrimental to our ability to attract the world's top talent.

The Expression of Interest system would allow those considering emigrating to Canada to register their interest at a central database, the Federal Skilled Worker Pool. Details of their skills, qualifications and so forth would be held on the database. The database would be accessible by Canadian regional governments and by businesses who could then cherry pick the applicants whose skills best matched their requirements. Those people who were selected would then be invited to apply for a Canadian visa.

Mr Kenney said last year 'Employers are best positioned to decide who can best fill the open jobs rather than a passive and bureaucratic system. 'it's not about privatising the immigration system. It's more about a more active role of recruitment for people so they have jobs when they show up.'
The Canadian government has struggled with the Federal Skilled Worker Program backlog for many years. In June 2012, Mr Kenney took the dramatic decision to annul all applications made before 2008 and to refund application fees to all applicants. 280,000 people were affected. This was a controversial move. Some applicants had been waiting for seven years for their cases to be considered.

Many of the pre-2008 applicants have refused to accept Mr Kenney's decision to annul their claims. They are hoping to bring a class action against the Canadian government in order to have their claims reinstated. A preliminary hearing in their case will be heard in the Canadian courts later in November. Solicitors for the applicants will ask the Canadian courts for permission to bring the action against the government.

A lawyer representing the applicants, Lorne Waldman, told Postmedia News last year that Mr Kenney's decision had been unconstitutional and should be reversed, 'These applicants applied in good faith, some as long as seven years ago. They paid their fees and were told that their applications would be processed. We are arguing that it (the decision) is inconsistent with our charter and our Bill of Rights,' he said.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oxford University report warns of problems with immigration target

A report prepared at a leading UK university addresses 'key questions surrounding migration and population growth in the UK'. The Report, Britain's '70 million' debate, has been prepared in the wake of a call to take 'all reasonable steps' to limit the UK's population to 70 million.

The Migration Observatory, which is part of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford, prepared the report to inform policy makers and to encourage a wider debate in the UK about immigration policy.

In September, Migrationwatch UK, a UK think tank opposed to mass migration, sponsored a debate in the House of Commons on a proposal that the government should 'take all reasonable steps to reduce immigration to stabilize the UK's population as close to present levels as possible' and certainly below 70 million. MPs voted in favour of the motion though the government later said that it did not intend to set a target figure for the UK's population.

The report states that the Office for National Statistics has estimated that, if net immigration continues at around 200,000 a year, the UK population will reach 73.2 million by 2035.

Net immigration is calculated by taking the total number of people coming to live in the country every year, which has been about 600,000 every year since 2004, and subtracting the number of UK residents who leave the country to live elsewhere. Net immigration was about 250,000 in 2010.

The government has set a target of reducing net immigration to 'tens of thousands' by 2015. Even if it succeeded in doing this, the report says, the population would be close to 70 million by 2035 and would pass 70 million soon afterwards. Therefore, in order to stabilize the population below 70 million, the government would have to take yet further measures to cut immigration.

All the efforts that the government has made to cut immigration so far such as
• reducing international student numbers by as much as 56,000
• putting a cap on the numbers of skilled workers who can work in the UK and
• reducing the numbers of family members eligible to settle in the UK
have consequences, the report warns.

The report says that it is vital that policy makers should consider, before setting any target, why they are doing so. After they have done this, they can consider how it should be done.
The report says that students constitute the majority, about 60%, of non-EU immigrants into the UK. Therefore, in order to cut the headline immigration figure, the government will have to cut the number of international students studying in the UK.

It says that, while UK public opinion is in favour of cuts in immigration and also of slowing population growth by reducing immigration levels, two thirds of Britons do not object to foreign students coming to the UK. Most Britons object to asylum seekers and extended family members from outside the EU, both of whom are, statistically, a small proportion of total migrants. Only around 19,000 asylum seekers settled in the UK last year. They also object to unskilled migration from within the EU. The government is not actually able to do very much to stop this as they have signed treaties guaranteeing the free movement of workers within the EU.

However, most students leave at the end of their studies. Students are less likely to stay in the UK than other migrants such as those who come to the UK to work and those that come as family members of previous immigrants.
This, the report says, means that it will be very difficult for the government to create a policy that would both address public concerns about immigration and substantially reduce the total immigration figure. Any cut in immigration numbers would be bound to impact the nation in other ways. The report says that the debate should consider 'not only the top-line objective but also the feasibility and desirability of the available 'means' to further reduce net migration…while there is broad support for reducing immigration overall, there is no majority support for reducing the category that contributes most to rising net migration students.'

Thus, the report says, it is important for policy makers 'to explicitly ask what the objectives of any population limit should be and why.' Why, for example, the report asks, would it be any better for the population to be stabilised at 70 million rather than 65 or 75 million. The report says that there is a danger that setting an arbitrary population target 'reduces a complex series of issues that affect almost every area of social and economic policy in the UK to an arbitrary round number'.

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

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obama makes immigration reform a priority - again

President Obama has said that there is 'a window' of opportunity when the US can achieve comprehensive immigration reform. At his first press conference after the election he said 'My expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration.' He said that his administration was considering the best way of going about it and said that he was 'very confident' that he would succeed. The President's inauguration will take place on 21st January 2013. At this ceremony, he will swear an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States.

President Obama promised to reform immigration in the 2008 presidential campaign too. He failed to do so. He has since said that this is because the global financial crisis engulfed the US economy and he spent all his time dealing with that. Critics of the President say that he failed to use his strong mandate to reform the system. The President's Democratic Party won control of Congress at the 2008 elections too. They say that the president could have forced reform through Congress but was not prepared to take a lead on the issue. In 2010, after mid-term elections, the President's Democratic Party lost control of Congress and it became much harder for him to pass legislation.

The 2010 elections saw the Democrats' main rivals, the Republicans, take control of one of the two chambers of Congress, the House of Representatives, while the Democrats kept control of the Senate. This meant that some measure of bipartisan support was required for any act to be passed because, for a proposed law to be passed, it must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President. Sadly, the atmosphere in Congress was bitterly confrontational and there was no cooperation to speak of. Congress was said to be 'gridlocked' because no laws could be passed as the two sides blocked each other's every move.

At the same time as the Presidential election of 2012, many seats in the Senate and all seats in the House of Representatives were up for election. After the election, the Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives and the Democrats kept control of the Senate so Congress is still gridlocked.

The senior Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, said last week that the US immigration system needed to be reformed as it was 'broken'. He hinted at Republican cooperation in reforming the system. One Republican Senator Lyndsay Graham said that he would cooperate with Democrat Charles Schumer to introduce the Schumer Graham Act which would reform the system. But the mood in much of the Republican Party remains angry and obstructive. The Republican Party has moved to the right in recent years since the rise of the Tea Party, an activist pressure group that supports right-wing candidates and lobbies to have centrist candidates deselected. The Tea Party opposes cooperation in Congress so it is possible that it will remain gridlocked.

However, Washington commentators say that there is an opportunity for reform. Many Republican analysts and politicians blame the defeat for the Republican candidate Mitt Romney at the election on November 6th on his failure to connect with Hispanic voters. President Obama won about 66% of the Hispanic vote at the election. Most pollsters say that this heavy voting among the US's 24m Hispanic voters was enough to win the election for Mr Obama. Mr Romney promised that he would reform the country's immigration system but also promised that he would do all he could to ensure that illegal immigrants, most of whom are Hispanic, were expelled from the US.

Demographic experts say that Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the US and that there will be nearly 40m Hispanic voters by 2030. Most mainstream Republicans believe that their party will have to agree to reform if it is to have any chance of taking a greater percentage of the Hispanic vote.
This may force them to support reform.

Comprehensive reform of immigration will have to involve
• strengthening the US/Mexico border to prevent further illegal immigration
• preventing illegal immigrants from working in the US
• Providing a path to citizenship for illegal migrants already in the country

President Obama told his press conference 'This has not historically been a partisan issue, so we need to seize the moment.'

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

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Australia consults on abolishing upper age limit for skilled migrants

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) is currently holding a consultation on whether to recommend raising the maximum age limit for skilled migrants who can apply for visas.

The current age limit for applicants for skilled migrants under the SkillSelect scheme, formerly known as the General Skilled Migrant program, is 50 years. Fears have been raised that the current age restriction may be illegal because it clashes with Australia's Age Discrimination Act.

However, there are also fears that, if Australia were to raise the age threshold, then older migrants would contribute less to Australia. They would be in work for less time before they retire and then become a burden on the Australian state.

The ALRC released an issues paper titled Grey Areas: Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws on 1st May 2012. It is currently holding its second consultation period. On 24th October 2012, it took evidence from various contributors.

Among them was Professor Simon Biggs, Professor of Gerontology at the University of Melbourne, who told the consultation panel that his research shows that older immigrants tend to be more productive than Australians of the same age because migrants to Australia tend, in general, to be better qualified than native Australians of the same age. 'Older migrants bring skills and often financial resources to their host country from their country of origin so it isn't that they are coming with a blank slate. They often come with skills that have been paid for elsewhere or they are bringing earnings and savings that they have accumulated abroad,' he said.

Professor Biggs told the consultation that a failure to abolish the upper age limit, or at least to raise it to 55, would be an opportunity missed. He pointed out that the US and the EU have no upper age limit for skilled migrants. 'If there is going to be competition for older workers globally, in a globalised market, then we are at a significant disadvantage,' he said.

Susan Ryan, Age Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, said 'with the age 50 cut-off there are a variety of views. Some people would argue that if a person is coming in as a skilled migrant, we want more than 15 years out of them.

Ian Yates, the chief executive of COTA, the Australian Council on the Aging, said all limits on the grounds of age should be abolished; 'We take the view that an arbitrary age barrier is discriminatory and should be removed,' he said.

The state government of South Australia argued that the upper age limit ought to be increased. Its position is that Australians are living longer and retiring later and so older migrants will offer more for longer.

The ALRC's current position is that it need not recommend an abolition of the maximum age on discrimination grounds. Its position is that, while the age limit seems to be, on the face of it, discriminatory, as applicants are not, at the time of their application, members of the Australian workforce, they are not covered by the Age Discrimination Act. It also recognises that there is no upper age limit for applicants for temporary work or '457' visas.

The ALRC continues to take submissions until November 26th 2012. It is due to issue its report in March 2013.

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


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Business chief and mayor criticise UK immigration policy

The Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, John Cridland has spoken out against the UK government's commitment to cut net inward immigration into the UK from outside the EU to 'tens of thousands' per year by 2015. He says that the government should drop the target. London Mayor Boris Johnson also attacked the government for damaging the UK's higher education sector.

When it came to power in 2010, the Coalition government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, a Conservative, and Nick Clegg, a Liberal Democrat, promised to cut net immigration into the UK to 'tens of thousands' per year. This has always been taken to mean less than 100,000. Under the previous Labour government, led by Gordon Brown, the annual net immigration figure had been around 250,000 per year. Net immigration is calculated by taking the total number of immigrants and subtracting the number of people who have emigrated over the same period. This will give the increase in population caused by immigration over that period.

Mr Cridland, interviewed by The Financial Times, said that the commitment to limit immigration to a set number was problematic for many reasons. He said firstly that the government cannot make such a commitment because it cannot control the net migration figure because it has no control over the number of people emigrating. If no one emigrated in any given year, the net immigration figure would rise.

He said that the focus on a given target figure forces the government to attack all immigration when, the public is not concerned about all immigration and some immigration is beneficial to the country. For example, the public does not object to foreign students coming to the UK. Foreign students contribute a great deal of money to the economy. And yet, in order to reach the 'tens of thousands' target, the government has taken action to cut their numbers. The public does not object to skilled workers and yet the government has introduced a cap on their numbers too. This is damaging to UK business. Many small businesses now say that they cannot afford to bring in skilled workers from outside the European Union because of the bureaucracy involved. The number of student visas granted in the last year is down by 21%.

Mr Cridland said that the higher education market was worth £15bn per annum and was being badly affected by the government's policies. He said 'It's partly a perception issue. There's been so much rhetoric that it's creating its own reality. It's putting people off.'

Boris Johnson, the maverick Mayor of London, also criticised the government for damaging the export education sector. Speaking before an official visit to India, the mayor said that the UK's export education sector was being damaged by government policy to limit student numbers.

The UK Border Agency revoked London Metropolitan's Highly Trusted Sponsor status in August 2012 which meant that it was no longer entitled to admit students from outside the European Economic Area. Mr Johnson said 'We are losing a massive business opportunity here, which is completely crazy for the UK market, which is brilliant at education, to be closing itself off from some of the best and brightest students from around the world'.

However the immigration minister Mark Harper said yesterday that it was 'wrong to suggest that controlling mass immigration did anything but help the economy. We actively encourage the brightest and the best migrants but businesses must wean themselves off their addiction to immigration.'

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Australia announces commitment to attracting Asian immigrants

On 28th October 2012, Australia's Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, launched the Australian government white paper Australia in the Asian Century. The white paper lays out a comprehensive plan for Australian development in the next 13 years to see Australia take advantage of its position at the edge of Asia.

The Prime Minister's office released a statement which said 'in this century, the region in which we live will become home to most of the world's middle class and will be the world's largest producer of goods and services and the largest consumer of them'. 'There are significant opportunities and challenges for all Australians', it continues.

Australia's Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen MP, said that Australia intended to attract highly skilled Asian immigrants in order to boost the economy. He said 'we need migrants who bring their specialist skills to Australia.'

Mr Bowen said that seven of the top ten source countries for immigrants to Australia are in Asia. India provided Australia with 23% of its immigrants last year. China, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam are also in the top ten.

Mr Bowen said that nearly a quarter of first generation Australians were born in an Asian country and there are 1.5 million Australian citizens who are fluent in an Asian language such as Cantonese, Vietnamese, Hindi, Punjabi, Indonesian, Korean, Tagalog, or Japanese. 'This means that Australia is uniquely placed to strengthen ties with Asian nations,' Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bowen did not announce any increase in targets for immigration from Asian countries but Australia is already engaged in an active immigration programme and the government predicts that 209,000 people will settle in Australia in 2014/15.

Mr Bowen said that the government would also be taking steps to encourage more tourism from Asian countries. It will focus particularly on China.

He said that Australia will also take steps to increase the numbers of international students at Australian universities by streamlining the student visa assessment process and by improving the standards of education at Australian universities.

Mr Bowen said 'The rise of Australia's close neighbours has the potential to greatly benefit our nation over the coming century.'

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

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Canadian immigration minister announces 2013 immigration target

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has issued a report in which it states its intention to admit between 240,000 and 265,000 permanent residents in 2013, as it has done every year for the last seven years.

Jason Kenney, the Canadian Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister said 'newcomers bring their skills and talents, contribute to our economy and help renew our workforce so that Canada remains competitive on the world stage'.

Today, CIC presented its Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration 2012 in the Canadian parliament. The report has not yet been released. CIC states that the main change from previous years is an expansion of the Canadian Experience Class (CEC).

The CEC was established in 2008. Its purpose is to offer a pathway from temporary resident status to permanent resident status for highly skilled migrants including students and skilled workers.

The programme has grown steadily since it was established. In 2009, 2,500 people gained permanent residence. This grew to around 6,000 in 2011. CIC hopes to offer permanent status to 10,000 people.

The admissions targets for other immigration programs have not been announced.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Economist calls for complete reform of US immigration system

An economist has advised the United States government to increase immigration quotas in order to revive the economy.

Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development and the New America Foundation, says that the US needs more unskilled migrants to work in agriculture and other sectors. It also needs more skilled immigrants to work in high tech industries. It should also encourage foreign investors to immigrate to the US and encourage students who graduate from US universities to stay in the country.

However, he states that current US policies on immigration are unwelcoming and are hampering economic recovery. Policies designed to counter illegal immigration pursued by several US states have already damaged the agricultural sector by scaring away lowly-paid illegal immigrants who worked in the fields. Limits on the numbers of H-1B visas are adversely affecting industry, particularly the high-tech sector. At the same time, the US is making it difficult for students graduating from US universities to stay in the country.

Writing in Business Week magazine, Mr Kenny says that research performed by Carl Lin of Rutgers University showed that when the number of H-1B visas available was doubled in 1998, this had an immediate positive effect on the share price of high-tech industries. The high-tech sector typically accounts for about 80% of H-1B visas that are granted. There is a cap on the number of H-1B visas that can be granted in any one year. 85,000 H-1B visas are granted each year.. Every year, the processing of H-1B visas begins at the beginning of the financial year on 1st April. This year, the cap was reached after only two months in early June.

Mr Kenny notes that 20% of nurses taking the licensure exam in US hospitals are now foreign born. Nurses from the Philippines earn, on average, 4% more than US-born nurses because, it seems, they are better nurses.

Mr Kenny says that, until the global credit crunch in 2008, the US had a fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman. The rate has now fallen below 2 which means that the US population is now not only ageing but also shrinking. It is therefore economically vital that more immigration occurs, he argues. He states that, by 2030, almost 70% of Hispanic immigrants to the US will own their own home. This is vital, he argues because, if this didn't happen, as the US population falls, there will be reduced demand for housing and the price of property will collapse yet further. At the same time, there would not be enough unskilled labour to cater for the ageing population's health needs.
Meanwhile, Mr Kenny says, countries around the world including the Singapore, Australia and Canada are taking steps to encourage bright young graduates and entrepreneurs to make a life there. Indian and Chinese students are also choosing to return to their native countries after graduation.

Mr Kenny recommends several steps for US leaders to take which would revive the economy and ensure that there are sufficient workers in the US to care for the elderly and to service industry's needs:

• The cap on the number of H-1B visas that can be granted to citizens of any one country should be removed. At present, no more than 7% of the total of H-1B visas can be granted to citizens of one country. This means that only about 10,000 H-1B visas can be granted to Chinese or Indian citizens in any year when many times more than that apply.
• The cap of 85,000 on the number of H-1B visas that can be granted in any year should be greatly raised.
• The EB-5 visa program for entrepreneurs should be reformed. At present, when applying, applicants must pledge that they will create 10 jobs and invest $500,000. However, if the jobs are not created in exactly the way predicted, Mr Kenny states, the EB-5 holder is liable to be deported. The process is too rigid, he states, and this is why only 13,719 people applied between 2000 and 2010 and of these, only 3,127 were granted a US residence permit or green card.
• Pass the Schumer-Lee Bill which would grant residency to anyone who buys a house for $500,000 or more.
• Grant green cards to all foreign graduates of US universities as soon as they graduate.
• Pass the DREAM Act which would provide a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants who came to the US as children, providing that they have not committed any serious crimes and they have graduated from college or served in the military
• Raise the number of green cards distributed in the green card lottery, which allows residents of certain countries to apply for a green card
• Raise the number of H2 unskilled work visas issued each year
• Grant green cards to all 1,000,000 workers who have temporary visas and who are waiting for permanent resident status.

Mr Kenny says that the need for reform is urgent. He says that the US's leaders can no longer afford to delay.

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

Friday, November 9, 2012

Canada seeking to attract more IT professionals

The Canadian IT sector is thriving. Montreal is a global centre for video game companies for example. Last year (2011) alone, the sector grew by 21% creating 8,000 new jobs.

However, the Information Technology Association of Canada has warned that Canada must attract the best global talent in order to thrive. In a recent report, it said 'For knowledge-based industries, access to a rich and diverse talent pool is as vital as a sustainable supply of trees is to forestry.

Finding these people is a growing and chronic challenge due to the coming demographic crunch and an increasing labour market imbalance. Our industry currently runs at virtually full employment and [we expect] that we will be dealing with 106,000 unfilled jobs over the next four years.'
Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian government department with responsibility for immigration, says that there are various paths which would enable skilled IT workers to work in Canada.

CIC recommends that IT professionals should apply for permanent resident status via one of the following routes

• The Quebec Skilled Workers Program
This program was largely suspended in June 2012. However, if you are
• Are a temporary resident in Quebec
• Have recently obtained a diploma from a Quebec teaching institution
• You hold a qualification recognised by Quebec
You may still be eligible to apply. According to the Quebec provincial government's Immigration et Communaut├ęs Culturelles website, 'Knowledge of French is an important asset'. The site recommends 'If in doubt, we strongly recommend that you check your level of knowledge of French with a recognized organization.

• the Federal Skilled Worker Class
This program was suspended in July 2012. However skilled workers who achieve the required score as measured by the Canadian points-based grid system will be able to apply for permanent residency when the Class re-opens, probably in January 2013. In order to qualify for permanent residence in this class an applicant must either
• have an offer of employment in Canada or
• be skilled in one of a list of 29 trades and skills listed on the CIC website

There are also three routes to apply for a temporary work visa
• The Quebec Facilitated Labour Market Opinion (LMO) Process
(Before an employer can employ overseas staff, it must acquire a Labour Market Opinion (LMO). A positive LMO will show that there is a need for the foreign worker to fill the job you offer and that there is no Canadian worker available to do the job.)
Employers in IT, along with various other sectors, will be able to receive a positive LMO which will entitle them to employ a skilled foreign worker, without having to advertise jobs locally.

• Temporary Work Permit
Any skilled worker who has a job offer from a Canadian employer will be allowed to apply for a Canadian Temporary Work Permit, providing that that employer has received an LMO.

• NAFTA Professionals
US citizens can take advantage of the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Area) Professionals program and may receive a Temporary Work Permit if offered a job by a Canadian employer. There is no need for the employer to receive an LMO first. These NAFTA citizens must have experience in IT.

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

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New rules for UK nationality applications

As of summer 2012, those applying for British nationality from outside the UK must send their applications to the UK Border Agency in Liverpool, England for processing. It is no longer possible to submit applications in British High Commissions or Consulates in countries around the world.

The only exception to this rule is in Hong Kong where applications will continue to be accepted as before.

All documents provided in support of applications must be originals where possible. You should make every effort to ensure that they are sent by a secure route. If the correct documentation is not provided, your application will be delayed and may fail.

Citizens of various countries are not permitted to send their passports abroad by post.

These countries are

• Afghanistan
• Albania
• Armenia
• Azerbaijan
• Belarus
• Georgia
• Iran
• Kazakhstan
• Kyrgyzstan
• Libya
• North Korea
• Morocco
• Pakistan
• Russia
• Tajikistan
• Tunisia
• Turkmenistan
• Ukraine
• Uzbekistan
• Western Sahara

Citizens of these countries should obtain a copy and have it certified by a notary or solicitor.

Once the decision has been made, your local British High Commission or British Consulate will contact you. If successful, you may be required to attend a citizenship ceremony when your documentation will be returned to you.

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

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Canadian immigration minister says he will reform student visa system

Jason Kenney, the Canadian immigration minister, has said that he approves of measures taken by the British government to reform its student visa system and intends to reform the Canadian visa system along similar lines.

Mr Kenney was speaking to a UK newspaper while on a visit to the UK this week. He was asked what he thought about the UK Border Agency's decision to remove the Highly Trusted Sponsor status from London Metropolitan University in August 2012. The decision caused great controversy at the time and caused business and higher education bodies to warn that the attendant bad publicity would damage the UK's reputation as a destination for overseas students to take their degrees. However, Mr Kenney disagreed. He said that, in his view, the decision would, in fact, strengthen the UK's reputation.

The UKBA made the decision on three grounds;
• LMU did not have systems in place to check that students had adequate ability in English to understand a university course
• LMU did not have systems in place to check that students attended their courses
• LMU did not have systems in place to check that students had the right visa to entitle them to study in the UK.

Mr Kenney told Chris Parr of the Times Higher Education supplement that he believed that the decision had been the right one. 'I read the London Met controversy as sending a strong message to that the UK is going to maintain the integrity of its post-secondary brand to international students,' he said.

And he added 'we are intending to go in the same direction. We need to facilitate student study visas for bona fide students going to bona fide institutions. There are many sub-par institutions that are not providing quality programmes and which are mostly facilitating various forms of legal migration'.

Mr Kenney's department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) is responsible for the Canadian government's policy on immigration. Canada has the most active immigration policy of any G8 country. Among the policies it has in place is Canadian Experience Class, a visa programme which sees permanent residence status being granted to graduates of Canadian universities. So far, over 20,000 students have been granted permanent residence.

Canada is keen to attract overseas students but Mr Kenney said that he did not want to sacrifice quality for the sake of quantity; 'If universities just want to go for the fast track and bring in unlimited numbers of foreign students without any regard for the quality of their student life, then I think that's a mistake,' he said.

Many Canadian universities have told the minister that they would approve of similar measures in Canada, he said. 'Some of the more responsible universities in Canada have said to me that they should be careful. Yes, they want to attract foreign students – they enrich campus life and they certainly bring fees – but [universities] want to make sure that they don't end up with parallel communities online.

He said that universities should not take on so many overseas students and that, 'If you're coming from an upper-middle class Chinese family to study in Britain or Canada, your primary focus is to learn English. You shouldn't want to end up in a university where 30 or 40% of the students are Mandarin speakers.'

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A quarter of UK children born to immigrant mothers

New figures released by the UK's Office for National Statistics show that 24% of babies born in the UK last year (2011) were born to women who were born outside the UK.

The ONS said that 'the increase in the proportion of foreign births to non-UK born mothers living in the UK illustrates how the demographic make-up of the UK is changing.' It added that understanding the patterns of childbearing among migrant populations was 'essential for planning services such as maternity provision and schools'.

The figures show that in London, where most immigrants live, 57% of children were born to non-UK born mothers. The five countries from where the most mothers came were
• Poland, (from where 23,000 mothers came)
• Pakistan (19,000)
• India (15,500)
• Bangladesh (8,500)
• Nigeria (8,000)
• Germany (7,000 – though these were predominantly born in Germany to UK service personal stationed in military bases there)

The ONS found that the number of births to UK born mothers remained virtually static between 2007 and 2011. In 2007, there were 603,000 births to UK-born mothers compared to 612,000 in 2011.

However, the number of children born to non-UK born mothers rose by 16% from 169,000 to 196,000. Part of this is explained by the numbers of UK-born and non-UK born women living in the UK. Between 2007 and 2011 there has been a 24% rise in the number of women of child-bearing age living in the UK whereas the number of such UK born women has actually fallen by 5%.

The survey found that fertility rates are much higher among non-UK born than among UK-born populations. The general fertility rate measures the annual number of live births per 1,000 women of childbearing age (often taken to be from 15 to 49 years old. That figure is 60 for UK born women. The figure is nearly 150 for Pakistani-born women and nearly 140 for Nigerian born women. For Bangladeshi-born women the figure is around 110, for Indian-born women around 95 and for Polish-born women around 90.

The survey found that, on average, foreign born mothers have 2.28 children each while UK born mothers have only 1.89 children.

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

Monday, November 5, 2012

Census statistics show Canada is changing due to immigration

Canadian government census figures show that there are now 200 languages spoken in Canada.

The first Canadian census was held in 1871. Since 1956, censuses have been held every five years. The most recent was held in 2011. Analysis of the census data shows that there are now more than 200 languages spoken. 20% of the population (6.6m people) mainly speak a language other than French or English at home. Of these, 6.4m speak 'immigrant languages' and 213,000 speak aboriginal Canadian languages.

90% of those who speak 'immigrant languages' at home live in Canada's cities. 80% live in the six largest cities in Canada.
• 1.7m live in Toronto. This is 32.4% of the city population. The most commonly spoken immigrant languages spoken there are Chinese languages and Punjabi
• 626,045 live in Montreal (16.5%) Most common languages: Arabic, Spanish, Italian
• 711,515 live in Vancouver (31%) Chinese, Punjabi
• Calgary 227,515 (18.9%) Punjabi, Tagalog, Chinese
• Edmonton 165,145 (14.5%) Tagalog, Punjabi, Chinese
• Ottawa-Gatineau 140,675 (11.5%) Arabic, Chinese, Spanish

The census found that a majority of the population (58%, 19.2m people) speak English at home. 18.2% of the population (6m people) speak French at home. The majority of these live in Quebec. However, the percentage of the population of Quebec which speaks French at home is declining. In 2001, 77% of Quebecois spoke French at home. In 2011, this figure had fallen to 72.8%.

A statement issued by Statistics Canada which conducted the census said that English and French 'exert a strong pull as languages of convergence and integration into Canadian society, especially as languages of work, education and the provision of government services.'

Doug Norris of Environics Analysis told the Montreal Gazette 'the immigration patterns we have seen evolve over the last two or three decades that shift away from the European immigration and toward Asia and Latin America….The fact that we ourselves are becoming more diverse…is a real asset to us as a country…I think it strengthens us as a nation.'

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