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Tyson granted New Zealand visa

by Dominic 27/09/2012 15:23:00

Mike Tyson will now be allowed to
speak in Auckland in November.

Former boxing champion Mike Tyson has finally been granted a New Zealand visa after his trip to the country was thrown into doubt due to a criminal charge dating back to the early 1990s.

Tyson is due to speak as a motivational speaker at an event in Auckland in November but whether he would be able to attend looked unlikely due to a 1992 charge for rape.

Current New Zealand visa policy stipulates that anyone who has served more than five years in prison excludes them from obtaining a visa; Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for the 1992 rape of Desiree Washington but he only served three years of his sentence.

Upon his release Tyson went on to capture many of boxing's best records but his career was marred by further incidents, including the infamous biting of Evander Holyfield's ear. The former world heavyweight champion's career came to a disappointing end in 2005, leaving Tyson bankrupt and struggling with drug dependencies.

However, since then the former prize-fighter has turned his life around and now performs a critically acclaimed motivational show which he was hoping to bring to Australia and New Zealand this year.

Tyson's criminal conviction originally placed his trip in doubt but the company promoting Mike Tyson's Day of the Champions at the Vector Arena in November, Markson Sparks, has confirmed Tyson will be granted a New Zealand visa.

"Mike Tyson, youngest ever world heavy weight boxing champion and star of The Hangover movies has been granted a visa to visit New Zealand," read a statement from the promotions company.


- 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.

Apple Co-Founder heads Down Under

by Dominic 26/09/2012 12:24:00

Mr Wozniak co-founded Apple with
Steve Jobs in a garage in 1970.

Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1970, has joined the hoards of people who want to move to Australia after the multi-millionaire applied for an Australia visa.

Mr Wozniak, who left Apple in 1987 to start his own enterprises but remained a close advisor and friend of Steve Jobs until his death, has applied for an Australia visa after admitting it had been a 'goal for 30 years'.

"Right now I want to live in some coolish, sort of cool temperature place, I'm actually thinking Melbourne although I'm applying right now for New South Wales just because I don't know yet," Mr Wozniak told the Herald Sun.

"I've been to a lot of places in Australia but the cooler the better for me."

Despite being one of the richest men in the world at one point, Mr Wozniak taught in public schools for several years and the country's exceptional education system has proved to be one of the biggest enticements.

The multi-millionaire now has his
sights set on Melbourne.

"I think you guys have a lot better schools and education than [the US] and I hear that directly from my wife, who works for Apple education with a lot of the top schools here in Australia.

"Her opinion is that you put a lot more money into schools than into military, and I go along with that."

When rumours first surfaced that Mr Wozniak was considering moving to Australia, some speculated that it could be because of the country's National Broadband Network (NBN), but Mr Wozniak disputes that.

"It is not a reason at all. It has absolutely nothing to do with it," he said.

"I'm a proponent of technology, I'm a proponent of bandwidth, of the changes in our life, of the NBN, I'm a proponent of taking care of every citizen in a country with broadband, considering it a right.

"It is such a tiny thing compared to where I want to live in my life. Right now I live in a home that does not have broadband. I have not had broadband for 10 years and I could move but I don't, it's not a consideration, it's not a reason."

While Australia's connectivity might not appeal to the technology magnate, there is plenty about Australia that does.

"It's mostly the attitudes of the people, the friendliness and how easy it is. I always enjoy my times in Australia and it's been a dream, a goal of mine for 30 years, and I'm one of those people that can have a long-term goal and if a crack opens up and I see a way to get to do it I do."

Mr Wozniak says that while he has no intentions of renouncing his American citizenship, he will refer to himself as an Australian.


- 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.

SkillSelect second round revealed

by Dominic 25/09/2012 17:06:00

SkillSelect, the Australian immigration authorities' new system for processing Australia visa applications has released details of its second round of invitations.

The new system opened for access on 1 July, 2012 but, despite having as many as 190,000 potential Australia visa grants to issue in the 2012/13 program year, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) is using controlled samples to gauge how well the system can respond.

The first round of invitations was issued in August and as the system responded as intended, the second was released in September: 450 initiations for Skilled - Independent (Subclass 189) visas were issued and 50 for Skilled - Regional Provisional - Family (Subclass 489). 

On the separate assessments to determine applications, which include skills and language assessments, an applicant need only score 60 to receive an invitation for the Skilled – Nominated (Subclass 190) visa or a Skilled Regional Provisional (Subclass 489) visa but the applicant does requires a nomination from an eligible state or territory. Invitations were issued to some who had expressed an interest in the Independent (Subclass 189) visa or a Skilled Regional Provisional (Subclass 489) visa with family sponsorship, in September but these applicants who had a points score of 70 or higher.

In the SkillSelect system, Australian visas are not issued; instead, selected applications are given the opportunity to apply for a visa.

Who is offered an application depends on the applicants' occupation skills and the number of similar applications already in the system.

In the current second round of invitations, the following occupations received the most invitations, with Skilled Independent (Subclass 189) visas accounting for a substantial majority.

  • Software and Applications Programmers
  • Accountants
  • ICT Business and Systems Analysts
  • Generalist Medical Practitioners
  • Civil Engineering Professionals
  • Secondary School Teachers
  • Registered Nurses
  • Other Engineering Professionals
  • Other Medical practitioners 
  • Computer Netowkr Professionals
  • Industrial, Mechanical and production Engineers
  • Dental Practitioners

A further 40 occupations were issued at least one invite in the current round.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says that the number of inviitations issued next month will be a substantial increase.

"There was already a 500% increase in the number of invitations issued between this month and last and as there are almost 200,000 general skilled migration places available for the 2012/13 program year, it's 

 anticipates the number of invitations issued on a monthly basis are expected to increase as the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship have indicated that 190,000 general skilled migration places are available for the 2012/13 program year. 

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.

Changing attitudes to UK immigration

by Dominic 20/09/2012 15:21:00

The latest publication from the National centre for Social Research shows a declining attitude in the public consensus of UK immigration.

The British Social Attitudes Survey is conducted on an annual basis and involves in-depth interviews with approximately 3,000 respondents. The study covers a range of issues including politics, the environment, the European Union, crime and many others. It is however, the study's findings on UK immigration that are the most notable.

The survey is the first to be conducted after many of the coalition Government's much publicised attempts to reduce net migration to the UK to the 'tens of thousands' have come into effect and, combined with a still sluggish economy, the survey's findings reflect a toughening attitude towards immigration.

What did the study find?

51% of people would like
to see immigration levels
'reduce a lot' according to
the study.
 

The survey's findings included:

  • 51% of respondents would like to see immigration levels 'reduce a lot' - up from 39% in 1995 but down from a 55% peak in 2008.
  • A further 24% of respondents would like see immigration 'reduce a little'
  • 21% of respondents thought the economic impact of immigration is 'very bad' - up from 11% in 2002
  • 21% of respondents thought the cultural impact of immigration is 'very bad' - up from 9% in 2002

The study also reported far fewer neutral views on the effects of immigration compared to past studies and according to Robert Ford, a politics lecturer at the University of Manchester who led the study, says the results are unsurprising given trends in immigration.

"The flow of migrants into Britain over the past 15 years has been the largest in British history," said Mr Ford.

"The public has reacted to this with strengthened demands for a reduction in migration and increasingly negative views about the cultural and economic impact of migrants on Britain."

Why do people feel so strongly?

Since the turn of the century and the freedom of movement directive within the UK, large numbers of people have been able to enter the UK without scrutiny, regardless of their intentions. This fact was compounded when eight Eastern European countries acceded to the EU in 2004.

The then-Labour government predicted 12,000 people a year would enter the country; net migration levels have reached approximately 250,000 since then.

However, while the number of migrants has given many cause for concern, it is the quality of immigrants that is the more prominent issue.

"What sways British voters in favour of migration is the perception that migrants are highly qualified," said Mr Ford.

The Government has made several changes to UK visa and immigration policies in recent months including introducing application caps and salary thresholds. The changes culminated in the revocation of London Metropolitan University's (LMU) ability to sponsor foreign students, forcing over 2,000 international students to find alternative institutions to study at or return home.

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the public opinion is to be expected, but often unjustified.

"Everyone everywhere interacts with immigrants on a daily basis without incident and often without notice, yet when attention is drawn to the issue, it's often in the form of newspapers sensationalising a fraction of the country's immigrant population," said Ms Murdock.

"This only serves to incite negative opinion towards migrants, many of whom contribute in many ways to this country."

The Government's policy changes are sure to go some way to reducing the number of immigrants who neglect to contribute in taxes or burden public services, but policies such as that which saw thousands of LMU, many of whom were legitimate fee paying students, faced with the prospect of being deported have already hit harder than perhaps necessary.

A further study published this week by the General Medical Council showed the number of foreign trained doctors coming to the UK was down by almost 90% in 2012 compared to a decade ago.


- 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.

Russell Brand now in New Zealand visa doubt

by Dominic 14/09/2012 11:31:00

Comedian Russell Brand
could be prevented from
entering New Zealand.

Comedian Russell Brand has become the latest celebrity to face uncertainty over whether he will be granted a New Zealand visa due to past criminal convictions.

Brand is supposed to be performing a one off show at Auckland's Vector Arena in November but due to past drug convictions, doubts have been raised as to whether he will receive a New Zealand visa.

The controversial comedian had a much publicised battle with drug addiction in his early rise to fame but has since advocated the use of abstinence-led drug rehabilitation program as a combatant to drug and alcohol dependencies.

Brand has appeared on several TV and radio programs detailing his struggle with substance abuse and even addressed Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee on the topic earlier this year.

However, during his own time as a self confessed addict, Brand was arrested several times and it is these convictions that have hindered his travel arrangements in the past.

Brand was deported from Japan last year for the same reason when he tried to visit his then-wife Katy Perry during her international tour.

And while British citizens typically do not require a visa to enter New Zealand, Brand's history could jeopardise his performance.

"Russell Brand will have to apply for a visa to enter New Zealand and make full disclosure of his previous convictions," said an Immigration New Zealand (INZ) spokesperson.

"There is never a guarantee that any visa application will be approved."

Brand follows hot on the heels of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson who also faces the prospect of cancelling an already scheduled performance in New Zealand. Tyson's 1991 conviction for rape has threatened the former prize-fighter’s trip.

A decision on both cases is still to be made.

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.

Petition triggers UK immigration debate in Commons

by Dominic 10/09/2012 15:13:00

An online petition which garnered over 100,000 signatures prompted a debate in the House of Commons over the current state of UK immigration.

Upon taking office, the Conservatives promised to reduce net migration to the UK from the 250,000 level to the 'tens of thousands' by the end of the current parliament. As part of their efforts, the Conservative-led coalition Government have made sweeping changes to UK visa and immigration policy such as salary thresholds and visa application caps.

However, official figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed little impact on overall figures, and even included an increase at one point. The latest batch revealed a drop to 216,000 but the ONS said the drop was 'not statistically significant'.

MigrationWatch Petition

MigrationWatch UK advocates
tougher immigration control.
 

Nevertheless, the drop was lauded by Conservatives as proof changes to the immigration system were beginning to take effect but Sir Andrew Green of MigrationWatch UK, an independent think-tank which favours tougher immigration control, said the figures proved more had to be done.

"The Government must ensure that they pursue the national interest ahead of vested interests," said Sir Andrew.

"They now need a blitz on bogus students and much tougher action on enforcement and removal. For too many years we have had only a token effort at tackling illegal immigration."

Following the figures' release, MigrationWatch launched an online petition which urged the Government to curb UK immigration. The petition claims the Government needs to reduce net migration to approximately 40,000 to prevent the population from reaching 70 million; it currently stands at approximately 63 million.

The petition, which calls for 'all necessary measures' to keep the population down, gained more than 100,000 signatures within a week, bringing national attention to the watchdog's cause.

House of Commons

Senior Conservative MP Nicholas Soames opened a debate in the House of Commons over the issue, urging the Government to continue making changes to the immigration system to ensure the country's population does not exceed 70 million, which predictions expect to happen at some point in the next two decades.

Mr Soames blamed the previous Labour government for its 'chaotic, ill-thought out and deeply irresponsible approach to immigration' which led to an uncontrolled influx of migrants; a factor current Labour leader Ed Miliband has since acknowledged.

"In the coming 15 years we will have to build, just for new immigrants and their families, the equivalent of eight of the largest cities outside London, together with all their associated infrastructure, of schools, roads, hospitals, railways and all the rest," said Mr Soames.

The Conservative's position was backed by Labour's Frank Field, who said the issue was becoming such a concern that it took precedence over partisanship.

Mr Soames and Mr Field, along with the support of eight other members, tabled a motion to implement some of the measures outlined in MigrationWatch's petition.

Heated Debate

The immigration debate in the UK has proved extremely divisive in the past and this motion proved no different. SNP MP Pete Wishart called the Commons motion a 'nasty little motion' while Labour MP Dianne Abbott took exception to Mr Field's argument when he claimed there were some second generation immigrants who 'harbour such terrible thoughts in their hearts about us'.

Mr Wishart also said the language used in the watchdog's petition, particularly the phrase 'all necessary steps' was worryingly authoritarian, a sentinment shared by Lib Dem MP Martin Horwood, who criticised the motion's tone as inflammatory:

"Would [Mr Field] agree that actually immigrants can make a very positive contribution to our economy, and to our culture, and we need to take a balanced, evidence-based approach to this whole debate, and not use language that will inflame fears amongst minority ethnic communities in this country?"

The Government's goal of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by 2015 has widely been dismissed as impossible and Shadow Immigration Minister Chris Bryant claimed in the Commons that the rise in population was inevitable.

"The fact is that if net migration were zero in every category for the next 25 years, the population would grow to 66 million," said Mr Bryant.

"And if it were tens of thousands, the population would be 70 million just after 2035."

Future measures 

Martin Ruhs, director of the Migration Observatory at Oxford University, said MPs needed to 'move beyond rhetoric and into substance' when it came to controlling immigration.

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says a more measured approach to immigration is required.

"There is almost no debate that immigration, properly managed, can benefit a country, particularly the UK. There are thousands of people who want to move to the UK for no other reason than to work hard, contribute and lead a better life," said Ms Murdock.

"Abuse of the system is common and does need to be dealt with but an absolute approach like those some have suggested will only serve to damage the UK's reputation abroad of, and foster resentment within, an enviable multicultural society."



- 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.

Mining boom not over says Australian PM

by Dominic 05/09/2012 12:57:00

Julia Gillard says the mining
boom, and all the opportunities
that come along with that, has
decades left to run.

Last week we wrote about Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson's comments that the country's mining boom is 'over' and what that would mean for people hoping to move to Australia. The mining boom has created abundant, high paid opportunities for a range of professonals but the minister's comments  caused some to reconsider their options.

However, in a speech to the Association of Mining and Exploration Convention in Perth this week, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said 'reports of the mining boom's death are exaggerated'.

The mining and resources boom in Australia has allowed the country's economy to grow healthily while much of the rest of the world sank into recession.

However, with the recovery well on the way in other countries, growth has begun to stabilise in Australia and prompted some to declare boom times as over.

Minister Ferguson's original statement came after two of Australia's biggest mining companies, BHP Bilton and Rio Tinto, both scaled back their projects in Australia, they have since been joined by Fortescue Metals Group but Ms Gillard dismissed claims this meant the boom is dead.

"There is no question about whether we have a boom," said the prime minister, "the issue is whether we make it last."

Ms Gillard said she recognised that falling commodity prices needed a different approach but said that management of current projects and coordination with emerging and urbanising markets such as India, China and South East Asia meant the boom was simply changing phase.

The prime minister told the conference there was three distinct phases - a prices boom, an investment boom and a production boom. With falling commodity prices, Ms Gillard says the prices boom is ending now but that the investment phase is still to peak and the final stage has years to run 'as all that effort comes to fruition in the years and decades ahead'.

"I talk of decades because the Asian Century stands firmly behind the peaks and troughs of the business cycle," said Ms Gillard.

"It's a transformation of scale of the industrial revolution and it's happening on our doorstep."

The prime minister said the lack of skilled workers that has plagued the mining industry 'angered' her and while in the future Ms Gillard hopes the mining industry won't 'hire a single foreign worker if there is an Australian who can do the job', the prime minister said that right now 'migration has a place' when it comes to ensuring the continued progress of the mining boom.


- 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.