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Skilled Occupation List Updated

by Dominic 04/06/2013 15:36:00

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced this week that as of 1 July, 2013, the Skilled Occupations List (SOL) which prioritises Australian visa applicants with the skills in demand will be updated. We take a look at what the changes are and what this means for those that are affected.

Skilled Occupations List

The Skilled Occupations List is a core part of the Australian immigration system. An applicant applying for an Australian visa must obtain a sufficient points score on the Points System for their application to progress. If an applicant has at least 3, 5 or 8 years of overseas experience in one of the occupations on the Skilled Occupations List (SOL), they may be eligible to claim additional points to boost their total points score.

Occupations listed on the SOL are determined by those occupations and skill sets currently in demand in Australia, this could be due to shortages, economic needs or future expectations; the list is usually updated in line with the new year's migration program each July.

The Changes

The most recent update will take place at the start of next month when the following five occupations will be removed from the list:

What does this mean?

If you had the required number of points and were intending to lodge a general skilled migration application nominating one of the five occupations listed above, this could affect your visa options as you will no longer be eligible for a Skilled Independent (subclass 189) Visa.

You will be required to change the visa class which you initially applied for.

While the Skilled Independent subclass of visa is one of the most popular courses of migration to Australia, having to change to either the Skilled Nominated (subclass 190) or the Skilled Nominated (subclass 489) visas is not as bad as it may sound.

An applicant for either of these classes of visas will typically be required to live and work within a specified state or territory for the first two years of their residence in Australia, and although the Skilled Nominated (subclass 489) visa is a provisional visa it does provide a pathway to permanent residency.

Both visas also offer a pathway to permanent residency.

Visa Bureau clients

Immigration legislation can be difficult to understand and even harder to predict, especially when the Department of Immigration and Citizenship introduce changes such as these. However, Visa Bureau is committed to working will all clients to find alternative routes to Australia should any change adversely affect their application.


- 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.

Migration Council recommends Australian 457 visa price increase

by Dominic 13/05/2013 17:21:00

The Migration Council Australia
says the cost of a 457 visa should
be increased.

The Migration Council of Australia has published a report recommending the cost of a 457 visa - which allows holders to live and work temporarily in Australia - should be increased.

The 457 visa has dominated Australian immigration news of late, with the governing Labor Party claiming abuse of the system - known as 'rorting' - is rife and needs to be clamped down upon.

The 457 visa is intended to allow Australian employers to bring in foreign workers to fill labour gaps if a suitable Australian cannot be found. However, the government and other critics claim these checks are often overlooked or manipulated.

Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor has said he will introduce legislation to make the program's guidelines tighter, prioritising language skills and ensuring local labour checks are carried out first.

However, workers' unions and opposition politicians have defended the scheme, claiming it is vital to the country's economic growth - particularly in areas such as Western Australia where industrial development rates far exceed those of population growth in the areas.

The argument has steadily grown in intensity and last week Mr O'Connor found himself being forced to retract comments he made that there were tens of thousands of cases of spurious 457 visa holders, admitting that they were not based on solid research.

While the debate looks set to continue through to the federal elections later this year, the Migration Council Australia has published its own opinion on the situation, recommending the cost of a 457 visa be increased.

The council claims the cost should be increased 'to ensure that more businesses look to hire Australian workers where available' while the program itself should be better scrutinised to limit abuse.

Lauren Mennie, migration consultant at the Australian Visa Bureau, said any cost increase of the 457 visa would bring it closer to the cost of other skilled migration visa streams, but without any of the benefits.

"The 457 visa system, for all its faults, allows skills gaps in Australia to be filled where necessary," said Ms Mennie.

"Yet the holder's options for bringing family members with them or long term planning are severely limited compared to other visa streams as the holder's immigration status is dependent on continuous employment.

"Other visas for Australia can take longer to obtain but allow holders to bring dependent family members with them and remain in Australia on a permanent basis.

"Increasing the cost of the 457 visa should encourage more people to consider other means of moving to Australia."


- 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.

Australia and New Zealand to jointly manage panel doctors

by Dominic 08/05/2013 13:06:00

 

New Zealand and Australia will
jointly manage panel doctors for
visa applicants.

Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) have agreed to jointly manage the team of overseas doctors used to assess New Zealand and Australian visa applicants' health.

As part of a visa application for both Australia and New Zealand, applicants are typically required to meet certain health criteria to ensure they do not pose a significant risk to either country's healthcare systems.

In order to meet these criteria, applicants are required to undertake a medical exam with a 'panel doctor' - a doctor approved by either INZ or DIAC.

However, now the list of doctors will be greatly expanded as panel doctors for either country will be jointly managed, meaning they can approve patients applying to move to Australia or New Zealand.

A joint statement issued INZ head Nigel Bickle and DIAC secretary Martin Bowles said the move was intended to improve customer service and communication between the two countries.

It is also hoped better levels of participation between the two countries will help to detect and limit the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis.

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, said the move should mean visa applicants for either country will have greater access to panel doctors.

"Getting an appointment with a panel-certified doctor can be a tricky part of the application process, given the relatively small number of them," said Ms Cotton.

"Combining both Australia and New Zealand's resources however should help to expedite the process and ensure more visa applicants progress through their applications quicker."


- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Australian Visa Bureau and 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.

Visa Bureau featured in Australia & New Zealand Magazine

by Dominic 29/04/2013 15:43:00

Australia and New Zealand Magazine

Rebecca and Duncan Camilleri explained their move
to Perth in the April issue of Australia & New Zealand
Magazine.

Moving to Australia is such a popular daydream in the UK and Ireland that few people don't know at least a couple of people who've done it and made the move Down Under. While the Australian Visa Bureau is on hand to help anyone and everyone with the process once they've made the decision, the Australia & New Zealand Magazine is there to help people to make the decision.

Published every month, the Australia & New Zealand Magazine is the only UK-based magazine dedicated to helping people organise their move to Australia or New Zealand. Every issue, the magazine runs a 'Real Life' section, in which fresh arrivals in Australia or New Zealand explain their decision to move around the world, how they did it and how they are finding their new lives.

In the April, 2013 issue, Rebecca and Duncan Camilleri explained why they love their new lives in Perth, and we at the Visa Bureau could not be more happy for the couple, given that they were Visa Bureau clients!

The couple decided to make the move after visiting Australia a few years ago and decided they wanted to head back:

We visited Australia’s East Coast for a holiday five years ago. We hired a camper van and drove from Cairns to Sydney and just loved Australia, but had never been to Perth. We had read about Perth in books though and fell in love with the place!

We were living in Ferndown, Dorset when we decided to make the move. We enlisted the help of Sue Tempany from Visa Bureau – she was excellent! We wanted to get our visa application in before the new system came in place, and because of this we were limited on time. Sue was brilliant as she made sure no details were missed and would let us know when things had to be done. Her assistance was priceless, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone do it on their own!

Now Rebecca and Duncan are there, they're taking advantage of every opportunity and are loving their new lifestyle:

In the past couple of months we have had maybe two rainy days and three or four quick showers. The rest of the time it is glorious sunshine and just so lovely!

The move has changed our lives dramatically as we live such a healthy lifestyle now! In the UK we were always hoping for a sunny day to plan something that would end up being ruined by the rain. We also watched TV a lot! Now we are out in the sun every day after work. I commute to work by cycling through two beautiful parks, with ducks, swans, turtles. We make sure that we see the beach every weekend, even if we are really busy.

We look for outdoor activities to do rather than indoor ones and find that there is no time for TV! We are both always home by 5pm and then either go to the beach, play tennis, go for a swim or go and see friends. During our weekends, we are spending more time out in parks, beaches and doing touristy things.

To read more about Rebecca and Duncan's new life in Perth, as well as their experience with the Visa Bureau, you can read the full article here.


- 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 mix up puts marriage in jeopardy

by Dominic 21/03/2013 12:23:00

The Colvilles could be faced with
the prospect of leaving the UK
following a series of blunders.

A married couple from Chester's life has been turned upside down following a mix-up by UK immigration authorities, threatening to either force them apart or to leave the UK.

When Briton Craig Colville, 31, married his Canadian wife Crystal, 29, in July last year, the couple pictured little other than a straight forward UK visa application for married partners.

The couple earned enough to meet the £18,600 salary requirement required to be eligible for a UK visa and had enough evidence to prove their marriage was genuine; they had little reason to think their application would be anything but straightforward.

First bad news

"You have to change your visa if you are a married couple so Crystal applied because she was now married to a British citizen," said Craig.

"We applied in September and then got a letter on February 4. You have to sign for it so they know you've received it. Crystal was at work so I asked her permission to open it.

"I was expecting it to be a happy result and that we'd all go out for a drink later, but the first I saw was 'REFUSED' in big black letter.

"It was a shock."

While UK visa applications can often be a complicated process and, particularly in the case of partner visas - which are open to abuse due to the subjective nature of a 'genuine relationship' - the Colvilles could not have expected to be rejected in this manner.

Mistakes

The letter did not so much concentrate on Crystal's application but on Craig, going so far as to claim he is not a British Citizen:

'You [Crystal] have not demonstrated any insurmountable obstacles that would prevent you from continuing your family life outside the UK, given that your spouse [Craig] does not hold settled status, is not a British Citizen and is not a person with refugee leave/humanitarian protection,' read the letter.

Craig was born and has lived most of his life in Wales, before moving to Chester a year ago.

"That was when I knew they had made a mistake, I just stood there reading it over and over for about 15 minutes in the post office not understanding how it had happened," he said.

"It was utter disbelief. I have deep family roots in the area. I have an identical twin brother whose citizenship has never been questioned. He was born nine minutes before me...that wouldn't have given my mother any time to cross a national border!"

A worsening situation

To make matters worse, the couple were given a deadline to appeal the decision and resubmit their documents, including the required financial evidence which was missing in the original application but mistook the stated deadline.

"Between us we earn well in excess of [the £18,600 threshold], we provided our employer details but didn't send them any bank statements or pay slips," Craig said.

"So we appealed and sent them the information. We were given a deadline of 10 working days by a letter signed on behalf of Theresa May, the Home Secretary. It arrived on February 4, so we had until February 18. It said so in black and white!

"We put everything together carefully and double checked it and then we sent it off."

However, the reply was further bad news, with the Home Office informing the couple the 10 working days had included weekends - putting the deadline at 14 February.

"The whole situation is extremely stressful," said Craig. "It goes from being ridiculous, hilarious, a big joke, to really upsetting.

"If we could have a chat with someone for just 10 minutes it would save time, effort and public money."

The UKBA has retained Crystal's passport, preventing her from leaving the country and the couple now fear the UKBA will revoke her right to work in the UK.

Should this happen, the couple will fall below the £18,600 threshold, making them ineligible for a UK visa in any fresh application.

"The Border Agency are still holding Crystal's passport, which means she can't return home to see her family. She can't leave the country, she can't update her name on her bank account, she can't sign up for a doctor though she's been working here and paying tax."

Crystal Colville shared her husband's frustrations:

"When I asked for an appointment to speak to someone face to face I was told that wasn't possible," she said.

"I know they have a backlog of cases, but these mistakes were avoidable and we did nothing wrong.

"We're just hoping everything will work out right."

Avoiding disaster

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the Colville's case is an extremely unfortunate situation but one which highlights the need for qualified migration agents.

"The Border Agency is one of the most overworked and busiest Government departments in the UK and the constant heavy caseload they have to deal with can lead to mistakes occurring," said Ms Murdock.

"While the Colvilles have been incredibly unlucky to fall victim to what is likely to have been a clerical error in mistaking Craig Colville's citizenship status, it does prove how vital it is to ensure all documents and pay slips etc. are properly prepared and sent in time.

"With such an incredible caseload, many applicants have just one chance to submit their applications to the UKBA and if it isn't done correctly, any error or slip up on either the applicants' or the UKBA's part can result in disaster."


- 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.

Changes to Australian visitor visa and how they affect you

by Dominic 15/03/2013 12:38:00

Visitor visa

Changes to visitor visa policy
take effect on 23 March.
 

Several different classes of Australian visitor visa will be superseded by new classes next week but if you're already in Australia, or already have your visa, how will they affect you?

The Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) announced recently that their nine classes of visitor visa will be simplified into just five classes, in order to draw greater distinction between work and business visitor activities.

The existing nine categories:

  • Tourist visa (subclass 676)
  • Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679)
  • Business (short Stay) visa (Subclass 456)
  • Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (subclass 459)
  • Medical Treatment (short stay) visa (subclass 675)
  • Medical Treatment (long stay) visa (subclass 685)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – long validity) (subclass 956)

These will be consolidated into the following five visa classes as of 23 March:

  • Temporary Work (Short Stay Activity) (subclass 400) visa
  • Visitor (subclass 600) visa
  • Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601) visa
  • Medical Treatment (subclass 602) visa
  • eVisitor (subclass 651) visa
I already have my visa; do I need to apply for another?

No. Any visas granted before 23 March will remain valid until the original expiration date provided when your visa was granted.

For example, if you were granted an Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976) visa on 15 March, 2013, the last date of entry would be 15 March, 2014 or the expiry date of your passport (whichever is sooner). 

This will still be the case following the changes.

The changes are intended to streamline and simplify the application process. We will continue to update our clients as more info is released.

However, it is important to remember that all visas which have already been issued, or will be issued before 23 March, will be honoured for their entire validity period.

I will be applying for my visa soon, what does this mean?

If you know which visa you require under the current system, applying for an Australian visa under the new changes should be easier and quicker. If you are unsure which visa you will require, use our online travel advisor to find out.

If you intended to visit Australia under the following three classes:

  • Electronic Travel Authority (visitor) (subclass 976)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – short validity) (subclass 977)
  • Electronic Travel Authority (business – long validity) (subclass 956)

You will be able to apply under the new, single Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) (subclass 601) visa.

If you intended to visit under one of the following visitor visas:

  • Tourist visa (subclass 676)
  • Sponsored family visitor visa (subclass 679)
  • Business (short Stay) visa (Subclass 456)
  • Sponsored business visitor (short stay) visa (subclass 459)

You will be able to apply under the single Visitor Visa (subclass 600) visa.

We will be making changes to our online application forms in the next few weeks. In the meantime however, you can continue to use our current 676 visa application and we will use the information provided to lodge a new, 600 visa application on your behalf.

If you have any questions regarding the validity of your visa or which visa to apply for, do not hesitate to contact us.


- 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.

The worrying state of the Australian 457 visa row

by Dominic 07/03/2013 11:50:00

457 visa

The 457 visa program is mostly
used for temporary workers on
construction and mining projects.

The Australian government announced last month that they would be tightening the rules surrounding its temporary worker program - the 457 visa - triggering an ongoing row that is quickly becoming embittered.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced a reshuffling of her Cabinet earlier this year and one of her most notable changes - handing Victorian politician Brendan O'Connor the Australian immigration portfolio - has already made headlines.

One of Mr O'Connor's first acts was to announce a tightening of the 457 visa program, claiming the system was open to 'rorting' - abuse of the system. The 457 visa program is intended to allow Australian employers to bring in overseas workers, but only when local labour is unavailable.

Why does the system need changing?

Mr O'Connor, along with several workers' unions, claims that the system is used by unscrupulous employers to undercut local labour.

The minister claimed employers were bypassing the system's rules by hiring unskilled workers from overseas in high paid, senior positions and then demoting them on arrival. The minister cited cases of 'project administrators' in Western Australia being brought in to work as security guards.

The immigration minister's announcement have triggered a row that quickly reached both Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott, who accused each other of inciting fear and even xenophobia against foreign workers.

Yesterday the Treasurer Wayne Swan weighed into the debate:

"I'm frequently approached in my electorate by people who I know to be quite well qualified, hard working Australians, who are looking to get jobs in certain sectors," he said.

"My summation of this is that there is a bit of a problem in parts of the mining sector, where Australians are not necessarily getting a look in first as they should, where they are appropriately qualified and willing and able to work."

The mining and construction industries have been at the centre of the debate due to their rapid expansions and the remote nature of the projects but Mr Swan was quick to add 'it’s not only the mining sector where this is an issue'.

Why are people defending the program?

However, there are plenty of voices defending the program; Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has said his state's AU$237 billion (£162 billion) economy is dependent on the temporary overseas workers - known as Fly-in Fly-out (FiFo).

"FiFo workers are modern day heroes. They do separate from their families, they do put up with some loss of amenity, they work in harsh conditions, for long hours, doing exciting work," said the premier.

"They are building this state and building this nation...these are the modern day heroes of the economic development of Australia.

"They deserve more respect, and not to be treated like some scourge of the Earth."

A spiralling debate

Pauline Hanson made her name
in the 1990s as a strong opponent
of Australian immigration.

Mr O'Connor himself has admitted that tracking down and prosecuting 'rorting' is difficult due to the processes involved and the government's critics have pointed to an almost complete lack in prosecutions associated with rorting in the last few years - just one prosecution.

The federal opposition, along with other detractors, have used this to accuse the government of xenophobia and inciting divisiveness in communities with a large immigrant presence.

While Mr O'Connor's changes were likely quite well intentioned - the government have repeatedly stated they are open to foreign workers in Australia who follow the rules - the debate it has triggered has already begun to raise tensions.

Over 1,000 workers in Melbourne marched through the city's Central Business District today, protesting against the 457 visa program by chanting 'local labour, local jobs'.

Perhaps even more disquieting though has been the re-emergence of Pauline Hanson.

Ms Hanson, who led the One Nation party in the mid 1990s with her strong, anti-immigration rhetoric, has stated she intends to run in this September's election due to the 457 visa situation.

"I think [the 457 visa] is a back door for immigration, I think a big investigation needs to be done," said Ms Hanson, who has not stated in what capacity she intends to run for.

"It stinks to me. I wouldn't be surprised if they're using this to bring people into the country.

"I just don't think that there are people there who really understand how Australians are feeling. I don't think there is a representation for our culture, our way of life, our standard of living."


- 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.

Nick Clegg grilled over UK immigration predictions

by Dominic 21/02/2013 12:01:00

The prospect of Romania and
Bulgaria joinnig the European
Union has ignited a fierce debate.
 

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has faced criticism over his reluctance to detail UK immigration predictions concerning the number of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants expected next year.

Bulgaria and Romania will accede to the European Union at the end of this year, giving all their citizens the right to live and work anywhere else in the EU without the need for a specific visa.

The last time a similar event occurred - when Poland, Latvia and Lithuania acceded in 2004 - rates of UK immigration reached record highs and many are concerned that the same could be about to happen again.

The problem with official predictions

The then-Labour government predicted in 2004 that Britain could expect no more than 13,000 extra migrants a year. However, actual rates quickly surpassed these estimates, with net UK immigration reaching over 250,000 a year by 2012.

Labour have faced repeated criticism of their immigration policies - particularly their wildly inaccurate predictions - and current Labour Leader Ed Miliband has admitted his party 'got it wrong' on immigration during their 13 years in power.

The current coalition Government therefore has been reluctant to publicly release predictions for Bulgaria and Romania this time around - despite consistent calls to do so - through fear of getting them wrong.

The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said last month he had seen official estimates but was not confident they were correct. Speaking on his weekly phone in show, Mr Clegg admitted he too had seen figures but said it would not help 'public confidence in the immigration system' if they were released.

While many have taken this to mean the figures are high, Mr Clegg insisted the figures are not ready.

"I don't think we as a Government should start bandying around estimates, estimates which at the moment aren't very precise," said the deputy PM.

Why are the numbers so hard to predict?

While Labour may have got their estimates so wrong in 2004, the situation facing the current Government is even more complex; in 2004 only Britain opened its borders to the eight eastern European nations acceding to the EU. In 2013, every EU country will open its borders to Bulgaria and Spain.

There is already a significant number of Bulgarians and Romanians in the UK - 47,000 and 94,000 respectively - but studies show many prefer the cultural and language similarities with Italy and Spain to the UK.

Pressure to release numbers anyway

Migration Watch UK, a staunchly anti-immigration think tank, has released its own estimates of 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians a year - estimates which it says are conservatively low - and has called on the Government to release its own estimates.

Despite previous mistakes, Labour's shadow immigration minister, Chris Bryant, said the Government is 'in a hopeless mess’ over the issue.

Even London Mayor Boris Johnson has joined in the argument, calling Mr Clegg a 'great big vacillating jelly of indecision' who 'needs to discover some spine' on the issue of immigration.

"If they've got some estimates they should clearly release them," said Mr Johnson.

On his weekly phone in show on LBC, Mr Clegg was pushed on whether the estimates were higher or lower than Labour's 2004 predictions of 13,000 but the deputy prime minister held firm.

"I can't give you clues...you are inviting me to get into a sort of guessing game about an estimate."

Marissa Murdock, casework manager of the UK Visa Bureau, says the Government is right not to release estimates simply to mollify critics if they have no confidence in the figures.

"The situation facing the Government at the end of the year is incredibly complex and there is no way to definitively predict how many people will come," said Ms Murdock.

"Any Government prediction will only further ignite the debate so it is right to hold off on publishing anything until it is certain that they are as accurate as possible."


- 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.

Romania hits back at UK immigration deterrence campaign

by Dominic 01/02/2013 12:46:00

 

Photo: gandul.info

After reports emerged this week that the Government was considering a negative advertising campaign aimed at deterring Bulgarian and Romanian citizens from moving to the UK when their countries join the EU has raised the ire in Romania, who have hit back with a campaign of their own.

Bulgaria and Romania are due to accede to the EU later this year, providing all citizens with the full benefits of membership, including the Freedom of Movement. This means citizens of either country will be able to live and work in the UK without the need for a UK visa.

The last time several Eastern European countries acceded to the EU - Poland, Latvia and Lithuania in 2004 - UK immigration rates soared and concerns have been raised that a similar scenario could occur later this year or early 2014, placing further strain on already struggling public services.

While there is still some contention over the effect the accession will have - the Government have so far refused to release official estimates - reports early this week suggested the Government was considering a negative ad campaign designed to deter Romanians and Bulgarians.

The ads - which were quickly derided and dismissed by politicians - were supposed to feature a dreary Britain with a rainy, cold climate and little opportunity for work.

Whether any such ad campaign would have ever materialised or not, one Romanian newspaper has taken it upon themselves to create their own ad campaign - designed to attract Brits to Romania - using tongue-in-cheek 'facts' and stats about Britain and Romania under the tag line 'we may not like Britain, but you'll love Romania'.

One ad claims that 'half of [Romanian] women look like Kate [Middleton]. The other half, like her sister.' and, continuing in the vein of mocking the monarchy that 'Harry has never been photographed naked once'.


- 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.

Randy Quaid denied Canadian visa

by Dominic 28/01/2013 14:59:00

Randy Quaid faces felony charges
should he return to the US.

Hollywood veteran Randy Quaid has been denied permanent residency in Canada after he tried to seek refuge there following a federal arrest warrant in his native US.

Mr Quad and his wife, Evi Quaid, fled to Canada last year after causing $5,000 (£3,200) of damage to a Californian home they were renting. American authorities refused to extradite the pair to face felony vandalism charges and so were permitted to remain in Canada.

However, the local authorities in Santa Barbara, California maintain that they will prosecute Mr Quaid and his wife should they return to the US.

The former Golden Globe winner petitioned to become a permanent resident of Canada late-last year but was refused as the actor does not have a passport.

Mr Quaid alleges he needs to stay in Canada to avoid 'Hollywood star-whackers' who have allegedly killed his friends David Carradine and Heath Ledger.

Celebrities taking up permanent residency in third countries has become newsworthy in recent months after French cinema star Gerard Depardieu was granted Russian residency by Vladimir Putin in order for the Frenchman to avoid paying the 75% tax rate.

However, it would appear Mr Quaid, who is the older brother of fellow Hollywood star Dennis Quaid, does not have enough clout with the Canadian immigration officials to warrant a special grant of permanent residency.

Mr Quaid, who is best known for his roles in screwball comedies such as National Lampoon's Vacation as well as a dramatic turn in Independence Day, has been granted leave to appeal the decision to the federal court.

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.