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Visa Bureau responds to the UK immigration cap and the closure of the skilled visa programme

by Tom 4/28/2011 3:45:00 PM

The UK immigration cap is set to
slash the number of new skilled
migrants coming to the UK.

As of 5 April, 2011, a UK immigration cap was put into effect and the Tier 1 (General) skilled visa programme was closed. As a result, the only remaining visa for independent skilled migrants to apply for is Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent); a visa which is all but impossible to obtain and has been capped at being for just 1,000 people a year.

It's a devastating move, and has already been lambasted as being poorly thought-out and potentially damaging to the UK economy. The move also seems to disregard any benefit that skilled migration has had on helping the UK economy in the past.

How has the skilled visa programme helped the UK?

Both Tier 1 (General) and its predecessor the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) have proved highly beneficial to the UK. Since 2002, the HSMP and Tier 1 helped ensure that highly skilled workers attracted to working in the UK had a clear route to arrive independently.

This allowed UK companies to recruit the cream of the international workforce, helping the British economy grow to unprecedented heights in the boom years of the early and mid 2000s.

Why has the Government closed the UK skilled visa programme?

UK immigration has long been a contentious issue. While public opinion polls reveal that up to three quarters of the UK population favour a reduction in the number of migrants coming to the UK, there has been a lack of understanding as to the various different migration pathways and visa types, and even on the definition of who classifies as a migrant. A fascinating research paper on the issue from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford can be found here, which highlights how much confusion there is regarding the issue.

As a result, even though it's clear that the majority of the UK public favoured that migration be reduced, the Conservative Party's response of declaring a target to reduce net immigration to the UK to 'tens, rather than hundreds of thousands' is the wrong move to make. By focussing only on statistics and numbers and make such a sweeping change to simply appease public opinion, the Government seems set to keep out the highly-skilled migrants who contribute the most to the UK economy.

What other changes have been made as a result of the UK immigration cap?

Even beyond the independent route of the Tier 1 (General) route being closed, further changes have been made to drastically change the UK immigration landscape. A cap has also been placed on the Tier 2 visa which limits the number of non-EU migrant workers that all UK employers can hire to just 20,700 a year.

There will be no limit on the number of entrepreneurs and investors that can come to the UK, and Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visas will also be outside the cap, but intra-company transfer arrivals will ONLY be permitted to stay in the UK for longer than 12 months if they are earning £40,000 a year or more. 

In addition, intra-company transfer visas will be restricted to five years and no longer lead to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).

Will there be a UK skilled visa programme again?

While it's almost inevitable that there will be a new skilled visa programme in the future, it seems like this is only likely to happen when the UK economy has risen to a level where UK skills shortages will demand that more skilled migrants be brought in.

However, given how instrumental skilled migrants have been in driving economic growth in the past, the immigration cap seems counter-productive to helping the UK economy grow. While the situation might seem impossible at the moment, we still hope that the Government will see sense and make new allowances for as many of the best and brightest international workers to come to work in the UK as possible.

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the UK Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

South Australia sponsorship application under current Australian points test closing

by Lauren 4/27/2011 1:42:00 PM

 

The deadline for South Australia
sponsorship applications under
the current points test is 2 May.

A quick update today for anyone applying for a South Australia sponsorship application - the deadline for sponsorship applications under the current Australian points test is 2 May, 2011.

See below for the official announcement from the South Australian website:

ATTENTION ALL APPLICANTS

Deadline for Sponsorship Applications - 2 May 2011

Under current Points Test

To enable all applicants sufficient time to lodge their visa applications with DIAC under the current Points Test, Immigration SA will require all complete applications to be received before 5pm Monday 2 May 2011. (Note - Our understanding is that this will be 9am UK time, due to the time difference with Australia.)

This means that all online sponsorship applications AND supporting documents must be submitted to and registered by Immigration SA before 5pm Monday 2 May 2011.

The Online Application System will be shut off at 5pm Adelaide local time on Monday 2 May 2011.

Any applications/documents received after the 5pm on the 2 May 2011 will not be processed.

Please note that every effort will be made to finalise applications received by the deadline before 1 July 2011 to enable applicants to lodge visa application with DIAC under the current Points Test. Check the Online Tracking System for results which will be posted as soon as a decision is made on the application.

All applications will be processed in order of receipt of complete applications, subject to the volume of applications, Immigration SA cannot guarantee that all applications will be finalised before 1 July 2011.

Note also that PLANNING LEVELS exist for all occupations on the current State Sponsored Migration List, once the planning level has been reached, the occupation will no longer be available for sponsorship and applications already submitted (and registered) will not proceed.

You will need to lodge your visa application with DIAC before 1 July 2011 or your visa application will be assessed against the new Points Test and criteria.

Once details of South Australia's Sponsorship criteria for 2011-2012 have been finalised, the Online Application system will be re-instated. Monitor this website for updated information.

Just as some further guidance, we're trying to make sure that all documents have left our offices by Friday, 29 April via courier in order to ensure that they will be received by 2 May.

Please understand that this doesn't mean that South Australia won't be accepting any further sponsorship applications, but it DOES mean that if you're still hoping to apply for your Australian visa with sponsorship from South Australia under the current points test (as opposed to the new points test which is set to be introduced on 1 July, 2011), you need to make sure you meet this deadline.

- Lauren Mennie is Casework Department Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Visa Bureau Reviews - Christopher Hart shares his experiences as a successful Australian visa applicant!

by Tom 4/11/2011 2:20:00 PM

Christopher plans on emigrating to
Adelaide later this year.

With approved applications for Australian General Skilled Migration (GSM) steadily coming through, we've recently had another testimonial come through from a client of ours.

Christopher Hart is a wall and floor tiler, and his application for a skilled Australian Visa was granted in the middle of March. He's now planning on moving to Adelaide later this year.

Christopher had Joseph Tindle as his caseworker (who's proving to be a popular member of the Visa Bureau team!), and he passed on the following message to share his experiences:

"Hi, 

I would just like to thank Joseph Tindle and Visa Bureau for guiding me through the process of gaining my visa for an exciting new beginning in Australia.
 
From the very beginning I was given clear and detailed instructions and advice on what was needed for each stage of the process. Joe made what seemed like a daunting process very simple. Joe was on hand to talk on the phone about any worries or concerns I had at any time and nothing was too much trouble.

I would, without hesitation, recommend Joe and the Visa Bureau team.

Once again, thank you very much.

Christopher"

So, thank you Christopher! If you've recently used the Australian Visa Bureau to emigrate to Australia and would like to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! Just send an email directly to your caseworker or send it through to us using the contact form and we'll be in touch shortly to gather more information from you.

- Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.

Visa Bureau Reviews - the Saunders family praise our casework department!

by Tom 4/1/2011 1:25:00 PM

The Saunders family are set to
make Adelaide their new home.

We always love hearing from clients we've had the privilege of helping through the skilled Australia visa process, with Clare and Tim Saunders being the latest people to let us know how they found applying for skilled migration with the help of the Visa Bureau Casework Department.

Tim works as an electrician, and his application for a skilled Australian Visa was granted just a couple of weeks ago, and he and his wife Clare are now planning to move to Adelaide with their three children.

They had Joseph Tindle as their caseworker, and they passed on the following message to tell us how they felt about their experiences working with him to get through the visa application process: 

"Hi, 

I would just like to say a massive, massive thank you to Visa Bureau for getting us through this long and tiring process. We feel that we wouldn't have got through it without all your help.

Joseph Tindle was on speed dial on our phone and helped us with all our questions and problems - he has been our rock through it all.

Anyone reading this who is thinking of using this company, I would say a huge yes and would recommend them all the way.

 Thank you so, so much - we are just sending our passports off today to have our visas added at last so g'day to you all!

Love,

Clare, Tim, Katie, Harvey and Joshua Saunders"

We'd like to thank Clare and Tim for their kind comments and wish them all the best in their new life Down Under!

Additionally, if you've recently used the Australian Visa Bureau to emigrate to Australia and would like to get in touch, we'd love to hear from you! Just send an email through to us using the contact form and we'll be in touch shortly to gather more information from you.

- Tom Blackett is Marketing Manager for the Australian Visa Bureau.

Visa Bureau takes no responsibility and cannot be held accountable for action taken as a result of any information or comment provided on this blog, and we recommend that you always seek a number of opinions before making a decision regarding your migration or visa application. Please refer to the Visa Bureau terms of use for more information.