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US Immigration Update - 31 July, 2012

by Dominic 31/07/2012 16:00:00
Microsoft leads demand for US visa

A recent US immigration report has shown that IT giant Microsoft has filed more US visa applications in the past two years than any other company...read more.

New York outlines plan to stop US immigration abuse

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration has said it will implement measures to ensure that people taking advantage of President Obama's recent US immigration directive will not be exploited....read more.

People falling victim to US immigration scams

With US President Obama's executive order putting a halt to the deportation of as many as 1.4 million people still to take effect, reports of people falling victim to US immigration scams are rife...read more.




Microsoft leads demand for US visa

Microsoft maintains more US
visas are needed to bring in top
talent.

A recent US immigration report has shown that IT giant Microsoft has filed more US visa applications in the past two years than any other company.

Between 2010 and 2011, Microsoft submitted approximately 4,100 US visa applications, 1.26% of all applications submitted for the H-1B class of visa which allows foreign citizens to live and work in the US in speciality occupations for up to three years.

Fellow IT giant IBM filed the second most applications with approximately 3,300 while tech firms dominated the top 25 companies filing over 12% of all applications.

"A small number of companies were very heavy users of the program," said the author of the study. "The employers requesting the most H-1Bs are large private companies specializing in information technology, consulting, and electronics manufacturing."

The H-1B visa is subject to an annual cap of 65,000 places which has proved extremely controversial in the past; employers claim foreign skills in greater numbers to continue innovative technology developments while critics argue that with unemployment so high - currently at 8.2% - employers should be giving preference to domestic workers.

Microsoft has been one of the loudest voices in the fight to abolish the cap altogether and with the company posting its first ever quarterly loss in the three months to the end of the June, it is likely the calls will only grow.

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New York outlines plan to stop US immigration abuse

Governor Cuomo wants to make
sure no one falls foul of scams.
 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration has said it will implement measures to ensure that people taking advantage of President Obama's recent US immigration directive will not be exploited.

Last month President Obama used his executive powers to put a stop to the deportation of all illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the US before they were 16, have graduated high school or served in the military and have no criminal record.

Instead, they will be permitted to apply for a two work permit which can be renewed indefinitely; the directive is thought to affect as many as 1.4 million people.

The move has angered many anti-immigration advocates as well as Republican politicians who see the move as rewarding people who gained entry to the country illegally. However, some criticism has come from immigration advisers who claim the president's directive leaves plenty of potential for scams.

As the directive is aimed at people who have been in the country illegally, many remain extremely cautious when it comes to discussing their immigration status therefore are liable to talk to manipulative advisers who charge for unqualified advice.

Governor Cuomo is eager to avoid these hazards and has set about installing several safeguards to limit abuse when the system opens for applications in mid-August.

“I think there is going to be a great deal of fraud, and these young people are going to need a great deal of help responding with the kinds of documents the federal government is going to require of them,” said New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales. “It became clear to us that this was going to be a golden opportunity for scammers.”

The governor's measures include multilingual advertisements, community outreach programmes and $600,000 (£380,000) for legal counsel.

“It’s not enough to say to people, ‘Be careful; some people want to take your money,’ ” Mr. Perales said. “What we’re saying is we’re also providing an alternative mechanism. That is what distinguishes what New York State wants to do from others who just warn you.” 

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People falling victim to US immigration scams

Applications for the president's
directive will begin being received
in mid-August.
 

With US President Obama's executive order putting a halt to the deportation of as many as 1.4 million people still to take effect, reports of people falling victim to US immigration scams are rife.

President Obama in June used his executive powers to stop deportations and start issuing a US visa to all illegal immigrants under the age of 30, who were brought to the US as children, have no criminal record and have served in the military or graduated high school.

The directive is set to begin receiving applications in mid August but unscrupulous immigration advisers are reportedly charging as much as $4,000 (£2,546) to move ahead with claims.

Concerned voices have previously warned against such scams springing from the president's move, particularly as illegal immigrants have an intrinsic fear of their illegal status being discovered and are therefore unlikely to report being a victim of a crime to the authorities.

Illinois Representative Luis Gutierrez, a renowned immigration advocate, has posted a warning on social networking sites advising those affected, known as 'DREAMers' due to the DREAM Act which aims to achieve many of the same things the president's directive does, to beware of unscrupulous advisers looking to exploit the vulnerability and uncertainty of potential applicants. 

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the American 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.

US immigration fuels America's Olympic success

by Dominic 31/07/2012 11:00:00

Aside from 1980 Moscow Games in which the US did not compete, America has never finished outside the top three in medals tables of the Summer Games since its inception in 1896, and has topped the table more times than any other nation.

The US briefly lost its crown in 2008 to host country China, although it did win more medals, just fewer gold medals, but America is expected to comfortably regain the top spot during the 2012 Summer Games. While China's emergence as a global economic superpower combined with its massive population has been credited for its surge up the rankings, America has had genuine challengers to its supremacy before and prevailed.

During the Cold War both the Soviet Union and East Germany secured more medals than America but eventually fell away while the US maintained top spot. China may represent a more significant challenge but despite its economic success and its 1.3 billion strong population, it does not have the diversity of the US, and that could be its downfall.

American Success at the Summer Olympics 

Year 

City 

Medals
Won
 

Medal Table
Rank
 

Second Place 

Second Place
Medals
 

Notes 

2008

Beijing

110

2

 

 

Second behind China, won more medals, less golds

2004

Athens 

102

1

China

63

 

2000

Sydney 

92

1

Russia

88

 

1996

Atlanta

101

1

Russia

63

 

1992

Barcelona

108

2

 

 

Second behind unified team of 12 countries

1988

Seoul

94

3

 

 

Third behind Soviet Union and East Germany

1984

Los Angeles

174

1

Romania

53

 

1980

Moscow

 

 

 

 

Did not compete due to boycott

1976

Montreal

94

3

 

 

Third behind Soviet Union and East Germany

1972

Munich

94

2

 

 

Second behind Soviet Union

Meanwhile America has withstood all challengers and always quickly regained top spot. This can be attributed to many things, a strong economy and great infrastructure or a widespread passion for sport but one factor whose overwhelming influence cannot be discounted is immigration.

US immigration between the mid-19th and 20th centuries occurred on a never before seen scale and one which is unlikely to ever be seen again. Waves upon waves of people arrived to attempt 'the American Dream' and as a result created one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse countries in the world, all of which fuelled its march to economic, cultural, scientific and sporting dominance.

America has fought to bring immigration under control for decades, increasing border security, tightening US visa restrictions and deporting more people than ever. However, its greatest strength lies in the new migrants of the past.

The current US Olympic team looks set to be challenged only by the powerhouse that is China and indeed, both countries currently sit atop the medal table after just three days of competition. Yet while China can handpick its talent from a larger pool than the US, America's selection offers much more variety.

America's women's gymnastics team presents the best example of the power of multiculturalism; three of the five members are of European descent, one African-American and one mixed race gymnast. The team qualified in first place in the team event while three finished in the top four of the all-around event, meaning one had to be disqualified as rules only allow for two per country to compete in the finals.

While other countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia and many other Western European nations have similar levels of diversity as the US, they are dwarfed by America's 315 million strong population.

China may be the new kid on the superpower block and be backing up its claims on the medal table but a century of immigration to the US combined with its own economic success and population size means its dominance at the top of the medal podium is unlikely to be challenged for long.


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the American 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.

Australia Immigration Update - 30 July, 2012

by Dominic 30/07/2012 11:44:00
Five arrested in Christchurch over Australia visa fraud

Five Chinese nationals have been arrested in New Zealand and charged with Australia visa fraud...read more.

Thousands of Britons overstaying their Australia visa

A recent Australian immigration report shows that as many as 60,000 people are in Australia illegally, including over 3,500 British people who remain in the country despite their Australia visa having expired...read more.

Sri Lankan navy urges for tougher Australian immigration enforcement

The Sri Lankan navy has requested Australian immigration authorities to begin turning back asylum seeking boats in order to deter more asylum seekers from risking the journey...read more.

Australia visa scheme not helping asylum seeker situation

While the asylum seeking issue in Australia continues to spiral with record numbers of arrivals and Prime Minister Julia Gillard's position seemingly under threat, the Australia visa scheme intended to ease the system's pressure is also beginning to fail with more than half of all applications being rejected...read more.




Five arrested in Christchurch over Australia visa fraud

Australia and New Zealand are
keen to portray a strong front
when it comes to immigration.

Five Chinese nationals have been arrested in New Zealand and charged with Australia visa fraud.

The five, Yu Ren Lin, 37, Jia Ma, 35, Le Tan, 28, Hao Tan, 34, and Lin Sang, 29, allegedly used their own genuine Chinese passports to fly to Australia where they would then report their passports as missing. While they were provided with temporary documentation which would allow them to return to New Zealand, others would use their passports to enter Australia.

Police say the scam, which reportedly took place between 2007 and 2010, involved at least 17 Australia visa applications made two of the five men which have been found to be fraudulent.

"The principals have now been arrested along with associates and other people who were involved in the operation," said Detective Inspector Tom Fitzgerald.

"We believe all have been part of an organised criminal group which has been operating for some time."

The five accused face charges of immigration fraud, dishonestly using applications for Australian transit visas and making a false statement; they could also face charges related to people smuggling.

All but one of the five, Yu Ren Lin, who faces 23 charges, have been granted bail before they are due to appear in court in August.

Both Australia and New Zealand are especially keen to appear to be making a dent in abuse of their respective immigration systems after it was revealed almost 300 Chinese students had received fraudulent visas while Australia has been continuously plagued by asylum seekers.

"People smuggling is an international crime that strikes at the heart of border security," said Immigration New Zealand Intelligence, Risk and Integrity General Manager Peter Elms.

"We will continue to work with the police and our international partners to bring those involved to justice."

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Thousands of Britons overstaying their Australia visa

Over 3,500 Britons in Australia
do not have a valid visa.

A recent Australian immigration report shows that as many as 60,000 people are in Australia illegally, including over 3,500 British people who remain in the country despite their Australia visa having expired.

While national politics continues to rage about the ongoing asylum seeker situation, the 59,430 people in the country who entered legally and failed to leave when their Australia visa expired dwarves the 13,613 asylum seekers who have arrived since Julia Gillard became prime minister.

Chinese nationals accounted for the largest proportion of overstayers with 7,930; 3,650 British people were found to be in the country without a valid visa.

The number of overstayers has increased 6% on last year and by almost 10,000 in just five years, representing a worrying trend for Australian immigration authorities.

The number of visa overstayers is calculated twice a year but do not show how long each overstayer has been in the country illegally and immigration officials have played down the significance of the growing trend.

"Many people who overstay their visas in Australia depart voluntarily without the need for departmental involvement," said an immigration department spokesperson. 

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Sri Lankan navy urges for tougher Australian immigration enforcement

The Sri Lankan navy has urged
its Australian counterpart to
begin turning asylum seeking
boats around.

The Sri Lankan navy has requested Australian immigration authorities to begin turning back asylum seeking boats in order to deter more asylum seekers from risking the journey.

Australia has been plagued by asylum seekers since late last year when the government's deterrent, the Malaysia Solution, was struck down by the High Court. Since then, boat arrivals have rapidly increased, finally reaching record levels earlier this month.

The Australian opposition have touted the policy of turning asylum seeker boats around and escorting them out of Australian waters. The government has ruled the proposal out, calling it cruel and life endangering.

However, the Sri Lankan navy has urged its Australian counterpart to consider the policy as a suitable deterrent.

The vast majority of asylum seekers arriving in Australia leave from Indonesia and attempt to reach Christmas Island, an Australian territory closer to Indonesia than the Australian mainland. However, boats from Sri Lanka have also begun to make the trip in recent weeks, leaving the Indian subcontinent heading for the Cocos Islands, another Australian territory approximately halfway between Sri Lanka and Australia.

The policing of the issue is a controversial topic in Australia, even going so far as to threaten Ms Gillard's position yet few external countries offer their opinion; earlier this month the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia, Thisara Samarasinghe, was reported to have recommended the policy of turning back the boats but this was quickly denied by the high commissioner, saying it is not for Sri Lanka to comment on Australian policy.

It would appear as though the Sri Lankan navy does not agree with the high commissioner though as a navy spokesperson, Commander Kosala Warnakulasuriya, has said his country's navy has frequently requested Sri Lankan boats headed to Australia should be turned back.

"Whenever the boats get to Australia they are taken ashore and are not sent back. If this keeps happening they will keep encouraging the boat people to try and get to Australia," said the commander.

The Sri Lankan navy has intercepted over 500 people attempting to reach Australia in July alone but Commander Warnakulasuriya said they would be increasing patrols to prevent even more people attempting the journey.

"One of the reasons the number of illegal asylum seekers has increased is the reduction in patrols. We are increasing them to combat this.

"The Sri Lankan navy is responsible for its own waters. We can only hope that the Australian navy will turn them back."

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Australia visa scheme not helping asylum seeker situation

Three times more bridging visas
have been issued than originally
planned.

While the asylum seeking issue in Australia continues to spiral with record numbers of arrivals and Prime Minister Julia Gillard's position seemingly under threat, the Australia visa scheme intended to ease the system's pressure is also beginning to fail with more than half of all applications being rejected.

The controversial Australia visa scheme, known as bridging visas, was introduced last October by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen to ease the pressure on the country's detention systems.

A bridging visa provides an alternative to mandatory detention and allows holders to live and work in the community and claim benefits.

However, the latest report from the Immigration Department showed 60% of the 1,988 people who applied for a bridging visa were rejected. Many appealed their decision and were successfully granted refugee status but opposition politicians claim appeals only further clog the legal system and give incentive to asylum seekers to extend their stay in Australia by chasing lengthy appeals.

"There's a great incentive if you're already living in the community and your asylum claim has been rejected to seek to prolong your stay by pursuing further appeals made possible by the government's changes," said opposition immigration spokesperson Scott Morrison.

Mr Bowen said he had anticipated issuing approximately 100 bridging visas a month when the scheme was implemented but with almost 3,200 visas granted in less than 10 months, that target has been easily surpassed.

This record, combined with several Australian detention centres either approaching or surpassing their capacities, presents yet more worrying information for the minister.

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor 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.

UK Immigration Update - 27 July, 2012

by Dominic 27/07/2012 14:13:00
Home Affairs Committee recommends international students' exclusion from net migration figures

Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee has recommended the Government remove international student figures from net migration totals in order to help both the Government achieve their UK immigration goals and the British education industry benefit from international students...read more.

Damian Green rebuts UK immigration job promises

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has denied claims made by the PCS Union that 1,100 new jobs would be created in exchange for calling off a much publicised strike by UK Border Agency Staff...read more.

Home Affairs Committee calls for relaxed UK visa checks

The influential Home Affairs Committee has said that UK immigration checks should be relaxed again to prevent extensive queues forming at border security when staff levels return to normal following the Olympic Games...read more.

MigrationWatch makes startling UK visa claims

UK immigration watchdog MigrationWatch UK has said that as many as 60% of UK visa applications from Asian and African foreign students should have been refused in 2011...read more.




Home Affairs Committee recommends international students' exclusion from net migration figures

Story 1 Picture.

Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee has recommended the Government remove international student figures from net migration totals in order to help both the Government achieve their UK immigration goals and the British education industry benefit from international students.

The debate whether to remove students from net migration figures has been ongoing for some time; the Conservative Party promised to reduce net migration to the 'tens of thousands' by the next general election and has made changes to UK visa and immigration policies in line with that.

However, the decision to remove post study work rights for graduating international students and the addition of a salary threshold has made it harder for many students to study in the UK. This has resulted in a drop in student visa application rate but some have accused the Government of 'gaming' immigration figures to make it look like they are in line with their goals.

The UK is a world leader in the international education industry - worth up to £8 billion a year - yet unlike its competitors, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is the only country to count international students as long term migrants.

Reports emerged recently that Prime Minister David Cameron was considering removing the students, despite insistence from Immigration Minister Damian Green that this would not happen. However, now the Home Affairs Committee has weighed in, Mr Cameron might be more persuaded.

The committee said reducing the 260,000 strong international student population in the UK by 25% as the Government has pledged to do would not benefit the country while discouraging genuine students from coming would not improve the Government's efforts to tackle abuse of the immigration system.

"[Excluding student figures from net migration totals] will enable the Government to encourage students to come to the UK whilst maintaining their position on curbing immigration," said Keith Vaz, chair of the committee.

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Damian Green rebuts UK immigration job promises

Damian Green dismissed PCS's
claim that 1,100 new jobs are to
be created.

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has denied claims made by the PCS Union that 1,100 new jobs would be created in exchange for calling off a much publicised strike by UK Border Agency Staff.

Speaking to ITV News, Mr Green said there were just 319 vacancies advertised for border security staff but that these were 'just the normal replacement of jobs you get in all big organisations'.

The PCS Union had threatened strike action over cuts to the border staff and intended to call a 24 hour strike on Thursday 25 July, the eve of the Olympic Games when arrivals at British airports are expected to reach record levels but cancelled the plan at the 11th hour after urgent talks.

PCS head Mark Serwotka credited the creation of over 1,000 new jobs as one of the main reasons for cancelling the strike action but Mr Green quickly dismissed these claims.

"There were no new promises made [during negotiations] yesterday," said the minister. "No promises of the creation of new jobs.

"There are 319 vacancies at the moment in the passport service; this is just the normal replacement of jobs you get in all big organisations."

The prospect of a strike at the country's border represented a large threat to the smooth progress of the Games and was roundly condemned by many, a criticism Mr Green echoed, although he also expressed his relief that the action had since been cancelled.

"I'm glad that after a week of militant posturing the union has seen sense. There was clearly not a shred of public support for this strike.

"It makes sense for them to carry on as normal, work as normal and we can all get on with the job we've been doing very well at the borders of welcoming people to the Olympics."

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Home Affairs Committee calls for relaxed UK visa checks

Keith Vaz, chair of the committee
says UK immigration checks 
should be relaxed when the Games
finish.
 

The influential Home Affairs Committee has said that UK immigration checks should be relaxed again to prevent extensive queues forming at border security when staff levels return to normal following the Olympic Games.

British airports are expecting record arrivals during the Games and following damning reports of wait times up to three hours during the usual summer peak period, extra staff have been brought in to deal with record levels of arrivals during the Games.

However, the Home Affairs Committee has said UK immigration checks should be relaxed following the Games to avoid a return to the problems seen earlier this summer.

The Home Office ordered a pilot programme last summer which permitted border staff to relax checks for passengers judged to be low risk yet when it emerged border staff went beyond their remit, a scandal ensued which eventually cost UK Border Agency (UKBA) chief Brodie Clark his job.

Mr Clark was accused of relaxing checks beyond his ministerial permission although he contended he did no such thing; the case was eventually settled after an unfair dismissal claim in which Mr Clark was reportedly awarded £250,000.

The extensive delays were attributed to Governmental cuts to border staff combined with a tightening of checks following Mr Clark's dismissal but now the Home Affairs Committee says the pilot programme had been a success despite the scandal and the relaxations should resume.

"I think [ministers] would all like to forget about this episode taking place," said Keith Vaz MP, chair of the committee. "The taxpayer has ended up paying the bill for what happened with Brodie Clark. What we just need to make is that the lessons are going to be learned."

Mr Vaz said the committee was recommending the Government reinstate the 'risk-based' approach to security checks which was suspended in the wake of Mr Clark’s dismissal.

"We think the home secretary's decision to suspend the risk-based approached was wrong and we felt that the pilot was successful.

"I think we need to leave it to experienced officers to decide whether or not they need to check everybody 100%. The school party coming from Calais, for example, of under 13s, we don't believe they should be given the same kind of priority as someone who is profiled as being a cause for concern."

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MigrationWatch makes startling UK visa claims

MigrationWatch are outspoken
critics of UK immigration policies.
 

UK immigration watchdog MigrationWatch UK has said that as many as 60% of UK visa applications from Asian and African foreign students should have been refused in 2011.

In total, MigrationWatch UK said 44% of the 141,700 UK visa applications granted in 2011 to international students went to people who had no intention of studying and should never have been allowed entry to the country.

"Bogus students come here to work illegally and thus take jobs from British workers. We now have clear evidence of abuse on a major scale," said Sir Andrew Green, chairman of MigrationWatch.

The controversial watchdog said it had found over 63,000 applications which ought to have been refused last year and weren't while rejection rates should have been as high as 59% for Indian, Bangladeshi and Nigerian students and even 62% for Burmese students.

The Government is clamping down on UK immigration and despite protests from many within the education industry, the tough new measures are also affecting student visa policy. The Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a pilot scheme to interview visa applicants and question their intentions within the country.

The international education industry is worth £8 billion a year to the British economy and universities have pleaded with the Government to separate the immigration and education systems.

MigrationWatch says these checks are insufficient to genuinely tackle the issue.

"These half measures simply will not do. The Government have bottled out on bogus students. If they are serious about immigration they must face down the self-interested demands of the high education sector and pursue the public interest." 

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the 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.

UK Immigration Update - Olympic Special - 27 July, 2012

by Dominic 27/07/2012 11:33:00
The Olympic Games has technically already started with several events underway and records already having been broken. However, no event of such a large scale could possibly start without issues and the Olympics have had a few, both in the run up to the Games, and during the events.

With so many people coming from all over the world, it was inevitable that many of the main concerns surrounding the Games would centre on UK immigration. Here is a look at some of the Games' issues in the past week.

UK immigration strike called off

A strike by UK immigration staff set to go ahead on the eve of the Olympic Games has been called off after talks...read more.

UK immigration staff: Smooth Olympic queues more important than security

Staff at the country's borders have claimed that the smooth progress of queues through UK immigration checks during the Olympics is being given greater precedence over proper security...read more.

Pakistan promises to sue over UK visa allegations

The Pakistani government has announced its intention to sue British newspaper The Sun over allegations that criminals within the country were offering a UK visa to smuggle illegal immigrants, or possibly terrorists, into the UK as part of the Pakistan Olympic contingent...read more.




UK immigration strike called off

PCS union, which represents staff
including the UK Border Agency
has confirmed it will not strike.

A strike by UK immigration staff set to go ahead on the eve of the Olympic Games has been called off after talks.

The PCS union had planned the strike in response to planned job cuts of frontline UK immigration staff but with so much riding on the smooth progress of the Games, the PCS said they had made 'major progress' in urgent discussions with the Home Office.

PCS said that the Government's cuts meant that as many as 8,500 Home Office jobs were at risk and the union balloted approximately 16,000 of its 250,000 members earlier this month. Of those polled more than half favoured industrial action with the day before the Games chosen as the time which would carry the most impact.

The decision was widely criticised with Prime Minister David Cameron saying any strike action would not be 'right or justified' and urgent talks were entered into.

The Home Office even sought a last minute High Court injunction to block the 24 hour strike but an injunction became unnecessary when PCS agreed to call off the strike just 45 minutes before the High Court session was due to begin.

The Home Office has since agreed to invest in 1,100 new jobs but PCS leader Mark Serwotka promised this would not be the end of the issue.

"We are not ending our dispute today... what we have done is not call action in the next few weeks," said Mr Serwotka.

"These are professional frontline staff who want to be able to serve the public and have the resources to do so."

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the decision but said that so close to the Olympics was 'the wrong time to pursue a grievance'.

"If Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats can work together to make the Olympics a success, then even our most militant unions can recognise that this is not the right moment," said Mr Hunt.

"For an immigration officer - and I'm sure the vast majority of immigration officers feel this way - Thursday is one of the biggest days in their professional career.

"It is the day when the eyes of the world will be upon them and then welcome we are giving to the rest of the world. The vast majority of them will want to do a really good job and show what they are capable of."

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UK immigration staff: Smooth Olympic queues more important than security

Heathrow staff say smooth
progress of queues at British
has been given preference over
proper security checks.

Staff at the country's borders have claimed that the smooth progress of queues through UK immigration checks during the Olympics is being given greater precedence over proper security.

Speaking anonymously to the BBC, several Heathrow workers said Government cuts combined with overwhelming pressure to keep queues moving smoothly during the Games meant that requested checks of suspicious passengers were often foregone.

"We have a watch-list of passengers whose profile identifies them as people who might be bringing prohibited substances into the country," one Heathrow staff member said.

"On several occasions we've rung customs control to report a passenger, but they have not had anyone to follow it up.

"The priority is queue-busting."

With the Olympics starting today, British airports are expecting record numbers of arrivals and with reports earlier this summer of queuing times reaching three hours or more, the Government and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) are desperate to avoid a repeat but staff claim smooth progress is coming at the cost of security.

"The customs operation has virtually ceased," said another staff member. "Customs officers are being deployed on the queues. It's just queue-bust queue-bust. We're focused so heavily on 100% [passport checking] desk occupancy, everything else has stopped.

"If I were a drugs baron, it will be a free-for-all during the Olympics."

The Home Office maintains all proper checks are being carried out and security will not be compromised during the Games; the Home Office has reportedly spent £6 million on drafting extra staff to cope with increased demand. 

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Pakistan promises to sue over UK visa allegations

The Sun said scammers
were selling UK visas.

The Pakistani government has announced its intention to sue British newspaper The Sun over allegations that criminals within the country were offering to smuggle illegal immigrants, or possibly terrorists, into the UK as part of the Pakistan Olympic contingent.

The Sun claimed it had uncovered a scam in the country's second largest city Lahore which offered access to the London Olympics as part of the country's athletic squad for as little as £7,000.

The Pakistan government originally promised to investigate and prosecute anyone involved in such a scheme but has now changed its approach and promised to take legal action against The Sun over the 'dirty propaganda unleashed against Pakistan'.

Four Pakistani officials and three travel agents had been arrested in connection with the newspaper's allegations but have since been released.

The Sun has denied receiving any notice of legal action but defended its reputation for investigative journalism and promised to 'vigorously defend' themselves against any claims.

Meanwhile the British high commissioner to Pakistan, Adam Thompson says there is no evidence to support The Sun's claims and that 'Britain is satisfied with Pakistan's visa and passport issuance mechanisms'.

Mr Thompson said that while the visa system in the UK is not perfect, much like any, it would be impossible for anyone to sneak into an Olympic squad illegally.

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the 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.

Canada Immigration Update - 26 July, 2012

by Dominic 26/07/2012 10:18:00
Toronto asks for Canada immigration laws to clampdown on gangs

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he intends to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper to enact Canada immigration laws which will banish convicted gang members from the country's largest city...read more.

Strip clubs look to schools after Canada visa ban

Strip clubs in Canada are reportedly looking to recruit strippers from Canadian high schools and colleges after the government preventing companies related to sex industry from bringing in foreign workers on a Canada visa...read more.




Toronto asks for Canada immigration laws to clampdown on gangs

Toronto wants to deal with its
crime problems by removing
offenders.
 

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he intends to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper to enact Canada immigration laws which will banish convicted gang members from the country's largest city.

Mayor Ford has said that government-funded outreach programmes have had little effect on tackling the harmful effects of gang culture in the city and that Canada immigration laws would offer a better solution.

"It's a proven fact that when we had the most murders in the city, it was the same time we had the most [outreach] grants. I think we handed out over CA$50 million [£31.5 million] that year in grants," said the mayor.

"Throwing money at the problem and having these, I call 'hug-a-thug programmes'; they just do not work."

Mayor Ford said that he does not know the specifics of how he could keep foreign nationals convicted of gang-related crimes out of Toronto, but that he would speak with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to "find out how our immigration laws work".

Critics of the mayor's proposal have laughed off suggestions that simply moving the problem from one location to another would stop the problem.

"If there is a significant risk, aren't we just shifting it to other places?" said Bruce Ryder, a constitutional lawyer professor from Toronto's York University.

"Will gangs just decide to no longer engage in criminal activity if they can't be in certain places, or will they just shift to smaller centres?

"I mean, is this a kind of urban NIMBYism [Not In My Back Yard] on a grand scale?"

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Strip clubs look to schools after Canada visa ban

Adult entertainment businesses
are looking to schools and
colleges for new talent.

Strip clubs in Canada are reportedly looking to recruit strippers from Canadian high schools and colleges after the government preventing companies related to sex industry from bringing in foreign workers on a Canada visa.

The ban was announced by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney who said the Canada visa ban was to prevent exploitation of foreign workers in the country.

The minister's move prompted an outcry of protest from those within the industry who claim their businesses will suffer if domestic workers have to perform exotic dances.

"This is nothing more than political brownie points for their western, ultraconservative base," said the executive director of the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada, Tim Lambrinos.

Further criticism was levelled at Mr Kenney from researchers who said that if the prevention of exploitation was the intention, Mr Kenney would be better served bringing the industry 'out of the shadows'.

"This is creating more of an illicit market, closing the legal door is just going to make the [illegal] door more attractive," said Chris Bruckert, a sex industry researcher from the University of Ottawa.

But Mr Kenney said the government "cannot in good conscience continue to admit temporary foreign workers to work in businesses in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation".

Mr Lambrinos' promise to 'challenge this is in some way' was most likely expected but it is unlikely Mr Kenney expected the adult entertainment industry to begin advertising in Canadian high schools and colleges.

'If you are visually appealing and comfortable with your naked body and are comfortable about taking all your clothes off, you can be working right now as an exotic dancer and earn your tuition fees for university or college,' read one flyer obtained by the QMI Agency.

"We already doing some outreach work in some areas," said Mr Lambrinos, "we will be taking a strippers' dance pole with us to the schools."

Whether Mr Lambrinos' move is simply retaliation in the hope of having Mr Kenney reinstate the policy or not remains to be seen but it is likely to enrage both government and education institutions.

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Canada 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.

New Zealand Immigration Update - 25 July, 2012

by Dominic 25/07/2012 10:19:00
Refugee organisation joins critics of New Zealand immigration law

Refugees as Survivors Organisation has joined the growing number of concerned voices against the government's controversial New Zealand immigration plan to tackle asylum seekers...read more.

New Zealand visa relaxations blamed for Chinese fraud

A staff member at Immigration New Zealand's Beijing office has said relaxations to New Zealand visa rules were to blame for a scam which saw almost 300 students receive fraudulent visas...read more.

New Zealand immigration minister forced to deny corruption claims

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has dismissed claims that New Zealand visa applications from foreign fishing crews had been processed improperly...read more.




Refugee organisation joins critics of New Zealand immigration law

Critics say New Zealand's
immigration law is not
necessary.
 

Refugees as Survivors Organisation has joined the growing number of concerned voices against the government's controversial New Zealand immigration plan to tackle asylum seekers.

Wellington has been taking steps to prepare for a mass arrival of asylum seekers, even going so far as to simulate a mass arrival in Auckland with over a hundred actors taking part. However, it is been the proposal of a New Zealand immigration law which has attracted the most criticism.

The government's Immigration Amendment Bill, which is currently making its way through the parliament, grants immigration authorities the power to detain a 'mass' arrival, defined as 11 people or more, under a single warrant for up to six months.

Criticism for the measures has been condemning and frequent as no asylum seeking boat has ever made it to New Zealand and the country has been able to operate an oft praised refugee programme. Critics maintain therefore that the measure is cruel and unnecessary.

Gary Poole, chief executive of the Refugees as Survivors Organisation, has addressed a parliamentary committee currently reviewing the law.

Mr Poole told the Transport and Industrial Relations Committee that the country's immigration policy already permitted the detention of asylum seekers while Mr Poole's deputy, former cabinet minister Aussie Malcolm, said detention centres were very expensive and created mental health issues among detainees.

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New Zealand visa relaxations blamed for Chinese fraud

Almost 300 Chinese students were
found to have obtained a fake
New Zealand visa.

A staff member at Immigration New Zealand's Beijing office has said relaxations to New Zealand visa rules were to blame for a scam which saw almost 300 students receive fraudulent visas.

An investigation into possible fraud identified 279 Chinese students, many still in the country at the time, who had inaccuracies in their New Zealand visa applications.

Since then, New Zealand immigration authorities have apprehended more than 40 of the students, including five who are being prepared for deportation proceedings while a further 30 remain liable for deportation.

Authorities have provided 172 of the Chinese students whose fraudulent visas remain current with a new, valid visa but the scandal is unlikely to die down.

Several politicians have called for an inquiry into how the fraud managed to continue so unabated but one staff member at Beijing INZ said they had been ordered to 'go easy' on applications.

"Our orders have been to go easy on students applications because we have to keep up the numbers," said the staff member, who asked not to be named when speaking to the New Zealand Herald.

"This was so that New Zealand can double the amount they earn from foreign students.

"New Zealand became a magnet for agents wanting to put through fraudulent students because they know we have stopped checking if supporting documents are fake."

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New Zealand immigration minister forced to deny corruption claims

Immigration Minister
Nathan Guy.
 

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has dismissed claims that New Zealand visa applications from foreign fishing crews had been processed improperly.

In an anonymous letter from a 'concerned' staff member at Immigration New Zealand (INZ), allegations were made that the Christchurch branch of INZ had ignored claims of employee abuse and poor rates of pay by failing to carry out the proper audits on fishing companies which had received at least one New Zealand visa.

The letter claimed more than 500 visas had been granted in the past two years yet no audits had taken place, despite being required to by New Zealand immigration law and several complaints that foreign staff members onboard fishing ships had reported being mistreated and not paid.

"Immigration NZ Christchurch branch undertakes this work. However, no such audits have ever taken place despite the fact that the department has been well aware of these issues."

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has brushed off the claims, saying the 'widespread corruption' the anonymous letter alluded to is rubbish, although Mr Guy admitted he is yet to read the letter.

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the New Zealand 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.

US Immigration Update - 24 July, 2012

by Dominic 24/07/2012 14:25:00
Obama's US immigration directive paying off with voters
Polling data of likely voters show President Obama's US immigration directive last month is keeping him ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the race for the White House...read more.
Homeland Security Secretary defends Obama over US immigration changes

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has defended President Obama's US immigration directive to spare illegal immigrants from the threat of deportation...read more.

US senators move forward on green card relaxations

US Senators Chuck Grassley and Charles Schumer have struck a deal which will allow more green card applications from individual countries to be granted...read more.




Obama's US immigration directive paying off with voters

Barack Obama is enjoying a
comfortable lead among Hispanic
voters over his rival Mitt Romney.

Polling data of likely voters show President Obama's US immigration directive last month is keeping him ahead of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the race for the White House.

Last month President Obama issued an executive order which put a stop to the deportations of all illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to America as children, have no criminal record and have either graduated high school or served in the military.

Both candidates are attempting to strengthen their appeal to Hispanic voters but it would appear Mr Romney's Spanish language ads aren't a match for the incumbent's directive as polls show the president leading his challenger 59% to 30% among Hispanic voters.

While the economic recovery is likely to remain the most important issue to all voters including Hispanics in November's election, Latino voters' obvious ties to South and Central America make US immigration policy an important issue.

A Miami Herald poll of likely Hispanic voters in the state of Florida, a critical battleground state with 29 electoral votes at stake, showed 53% of voters in support of the president's executive order and 66% in favour of whole scale immigration reform which would allow illegal immigrants to remain in the country.

For his part, Mr Romney has said if he is elected president he will introduce bipartisan immigration reform which will address the issue. What measures he would take though are yet to be seen as the Republican nominee has remained particularly vague in his comments on the issue although during the primary he promised to veto the DREAM Act, which achieves similar things to the president's directive, and labelled Arizona's strict immigration law SB 1070 a 'model for the nation'.

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Homeland Security Secretary defends Obama over US immigration changes

Homeland Security Secretary Janet
Napolitano refused to rescind President
Obama's executive order.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has defended President Obama's US immigration directive to spare illegal immigrants from the threat of deportation.

President Obama's patience in his efforts to get the DREAM Act, which allows illegal immigrants the chance to earn US citizenship, through the Houses of Congress finally wore out in June when he issued an executive order to bypass Congress and enact similar policies.

The president's directive allows illegal immigrants under the age of 30 who were brought to the US before they were 16, have graduated high school, earned a General Educational Development (GED) diploma or served in the military, and have no criminal record to apply for a two year work permit.

The president's move has attracted significant criticism, not least from Republicans but Secretary Napolitano has defended the directive.

"Our nation's immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner," the homeland security secretary told the House Judiciary Committee.

"But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case."

The secretary referenced the ongoing US immigration debate in Arizona, a state she was previously governor of, for its emphasis on law enforcement agents' use of discretion in deportation cases.

"Indeed as the Supreme Court noted in its recent decision on the Arizona immigration law, 'a special feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials'."

Critics of the president's action have labelled the move as amnesty for illegal immigrants, Republic Representative Lamar Smith, who heads the committee Secretary Napolitano was addressing, said "the [Obama] administration's amnesty agenda is a win for undocumented immigrants but a loss for Americans".

Meanwhile, Mr Smith's fellow Republican Representative Steve King, who is planning a lawsuit against the president accusing him of exceeding his authority in even issuing the directive, called on Secretary Napolitano to rescind the policy.

"I will not rescind it; it's right under the law," the secretary responded. 

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US senators move forward on green card relaxations

New York Senator Charles Schumer

US Senators Chuck Grassley and Charles Schumer have struck a deal which will allow more green card applications from individual countries to be granted.

Under current legislation, no one country is allowed to receive more than 7%, or 9,800, of the 140,000 green card allocations granted each year.

However, as many feel that current legislation limits the country's ability to give preference to highly skilled migrants in occupations which the US is currently lacking, Democratic New York Senator Charles Schumer proposed a bill known as the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act.

The bill aims to eliminate the national quota and reduce the often decades long waiting period for highly skilled applicants from countries with high rates of application such as India and China.

Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley had placed a 'hold' on the bill which prevented its progress thruogh the Senate. However, after Senator Schumer agreed to add an amendment which gives 'greater authority to program overseers to to investigate visa fraud and abuse', Senator Grassley removed his objection and the bill will now move forward in the Senate.

The amendment allows the American Department of Labor (DOL) audit US visa applications before they have been granted, unlike under current legislation which permits audits of applications only after they have been processed and a complaint has been raised.

While many saw Senator Schumer's proposal as a positive step in permitting more people the opportunity to move to America, critics say Senator Grassley's amendment will create an unnecessary burden for the companies, particularly small companies without legal departments, that submit the applications.

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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the American 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.

Britain falls behind India and China as source of Australian immigration

by Dominic 24/07/2012 12:19:00

Australian immigration figures for 2011-12 were released recently and showed India as the most common source of migrants heading to Australia, surpassing China and keeping the UK off the top spot for the second year running.

So what does this mean for British people considering applying for an Australia visa? Are there less places, more competition?

Immigration figures 2011-12

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' latest immigration report showed that all but two of the 185,000 places for immigrants were filled. While this number consists of humanitarian intake, family visas and other categories, skilled migration accounted for almost 70%, 125,755, of the total.

"Today's skill stream is highly targeted towards employer sponsorship, the regions and high value occupations with over 60% of skilled migration visas going to employer, government and regional sponsored places to help fill critical skills needs," said Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

Asia dominated the source countries for migrants in 2011-12 with just the UK, Ireland and South Africa being the only source countries from outside Asia in the top 10:

 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012.

India has been a major source of migrants to Australia for several years but 2012 marks the first time it has topped the table.

"The scale of recent Indian migration is striking," said Lesleyanne Hawthorn of the University of Melbourne.

"We can assume large numbers were former international students who had qualified onshore."

Upon the release of the figures, Mr Bowen said the government's first priority 'is always jobs for Australians' but that skilled migration was needed to help Australia 'overcome the challenges of an ageing population'.

India's surge in Australian immigration is being attributed to its economic growth, its language compatibility and Australia's education industry but it is India's population that offers the most logical explanation.

While Australia, like much of the Western World, prepares to deal with the challenges of the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age, India's 1.2 billion strong population includes 500 million people under the age of 25 - more than the entire populations of the US, the UK and Australia combined.

What does this mean for Britain?

British people have ranked top of the immigration table since current records began in 1996-97 and thousands of people each year still move to Australia and it is only the rise of Asian economies that have seen the UK surpassed by both China and India.

At the turn of the century, immigration rules were relaxed which saw an influx of non-English speaking students to Australia, many of which chose to remain in Australia and apply for a permanent visa onshore after studying courses in accountancy, cookery and hairdressing.

However, poor language skills combined with the Australian economy's rapid growth has seen an increasing need for migrant workers with English language proficiency in skilled occupations such as construction, engineering and mining and new rules came into effect at the start of July to reflect these changing needs.

Under the new rules, language skills have been given greater prominence for applicants from non-native English speaking countries.

The new rules will make it harder for non-English speaking migrants to qualify under the skilled migration programme while the lowering of the assessment's pass mark means many British and Irish applicants will not have to sit the English test at all, making it easier for more Brits to move Down Under.

Both Indian and Chinese applicants have been aware of the upcoming changes and it is likely many submitted their applications for a permanent Australia visa as soon as possible in order to avoid the stricter rules. While the new rules have only just come into effect, we at the Australian Visa Bureau expect Britain and Ireland to rank higher in next year's migration statistics.

British applicants

Australia has been steadily expanding its immigration programmes in recent years and the fact that the number of British applicants has been exceeded by China and then India reflects a misleading picture.

Britain's proportion of the total number of visas granted has indeed been smaller but the actual number in itself has remained relatively constant, even increasing in 2011-12:

 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012.

So while both China and India have been granted more visas in the past year, the potential for British applicants to move to Australia has remained largely the same and, with the changes only now taking effect, it is likely that more and more British people will take advantage of the abundant opportunities Down Under.

Economies and further opportunities

While the global financial crisis still takes its toll on sluggish recoveries in the European and American economies, the Australian and Chinese economies have gone from strength to strength.

This affects not just the modern perception of a superpower and global influence, it also has plenty of positive effects on a domestic stage: more jobs mean lower unemployment, better state benefits and education systems; the benefits of a healthily growing economy are rarely debated.

However, Australia's growing economy has its downsides too.

Australia's economy has traditionally depended on soft services such as the financial sector and the IT industry but China's emergence as the world's fastest growing economy has ushered in a period of demand for resources unlike no other ever seen before.

As Australia is home to some of the world's largest deposits of many resources including uranium, coal and natural gas as well as gold, copper and zinc, this sudden Chinese demand has created highly paid job opportunities for a variety of occupations, particularly in mining and engineering.

The opportunities on offer have meant that Australians from across the country have flocked to the centre of the boom in Western Australia, leaving job opportunities in a number of other industries.

These growing shortages have created a new demand for overseas workers in industries such as hospitality, tourism and agriculture, industries which have traditionally relied on a combination of locally sourced labour and temporary foreign workers.

The sudden lack of permanent Australian workers have left many employers struggling to adequately train overseas workers before the requirements of their temporary visas mean they have to leave.

One New South Wales farmer said the investment in training new workers was quickly becoming a loss and the few permanent staff members he has have to shoulder an unfair burden:

"My son, recently during our sowing operation, went for three days without sleep largely because we didn't have and couldn't get all the men that were needed to do the various jobs associated with the sowing operation."

As a proposed solution, the Australian government is reportedly considering allowing more countries access to the Working Holiday Visa programme to address shortages but industries have called for stronger measures.

With the labour gap in the hospitality industry alone predicted to grow to as many as 55,000 occupations in the next four years, it looks inevitable that Australia will turn to immigration as a solution to the shortages and, with the new Australian immigration rules favouring native English speakers with desired skills, the prospect of the UK and Ireland continuing to slide down the rankings is an unlikely one.

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is Online Editor 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.

12 out of 24 - Work requirement removed from Australian immigration requirements

by Leonie 23/07/2012 15:15:00

As part of the changes which came into place at the beginning of the month, the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has removed the requirement for skilled workers to have 12 months work experience in their nominated occupation in the last 24 months.

The Requirement

While applicants have always had to earn points by meeting certain requirements in order to reach a threshold which would allow them to move to Australia, the ’12 out of 24’ requirement did not earn an applicant any points and was simply an eligibility requirement which was needed regardless of how many points an applicant had earned.

The requirement was defined as an applicant being employed for at least 20 hours a week in their nominated occupation or another occupation on the Skilled Occupations List for at least 12 months at any time during the past two years.

The work undertaken in their nominated occupation could not be undertaken whilst studying for any required qualifications to meet the specified skill level and the work also had to have involved duties or tasks at the Australian standard of the occupation.

The Removal

DIAC have not specified their reasons for the change in policy but there are several advantages to applicants. For instance, a UK applicant in the struggling British economy could have the necessary skills, qualifications and experience for their nominated application but either because they have not been able to find employment or have been forced to work temporarily in another industry, the applicant faced the prospect of their relevant work experiencing ceasing to count toward their Australia visa application.

The same issue also applied to new mothers who were often pressured to rush back from maternity leave in order to avoid their experience becoming redundant.

What this means

This is less likely to apply to any applicant requiring state or territory nomination as applicants still have to meet any state specific and/or occupation specific requirements, which can relate to professional experience. This is likely to benefit some clients.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s assessment currently requires no professional experience while the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council requires just three months’ of professional experience in the past five years for accreditation, meaning nurses and teachers with little or no professional experience can meet the pass mark.

Barriers

If an applicant requires state or territory nomination to move to Australia, the Australian Visa Bureau advises them to check with the individual state or territory government’s own list of requirements for any that may differ from the national level. While most states and territories amend their immigration requirements in line with the federal level, it can take time for changes at the state or territory level to reflect those national changes.

Western Australia’s current level of requirements is designed to follow those stipulated at national level. However, if the Australian economy continues to slow down in its rapid growth rate as seen in the past quarter, the resources boom may begin to stabilise and competition for jobs may increase.

South Australia is a popular choice for applicants requiring state sponsorship and they continue to require applicants to have 12 months experience in the last two years. While this may change in time, applicants hoping to move to Adelaide or anywhere else in South Australia are advised to folllow old guidelines to be safe.

- Leonie Cotton is the Casework Department Manager at 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.