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Australian citizenship test struggles

by Dominic 23/01/2013 14:47:00

Native Australian citizens perform
almost as badly on the Australian
citizenship test as Brits and Kiwis.

A recent report published in The Australian newspaper showed that New Zealanders and Britons struggled more than any other nationality in the Australian citizenship test. While this may have come as an embarrassment for Kiwis and Brits - traditionally Australia's closest cousins - a follow up report showed that Australians struggle too.

Foreign citizens living in the country on an Australia visa can apply for citizenship after they have fulfilled certain requirements such as length of time living the country. However, as part of the process an applicant must pass a citizenship test - a series of multiple choice questions on Australian history, culture and what it means to be an Australian.

The Australian government has been reluctant to release results publicly in the past but an application under the Freedom of Information Act by The Advertiser newspaper managed to wheedle the results from Australian immigration officials.

The results showed that Swedish citizens scored the highest, with an average score of over 98%. The Swedes were quickly followed by the Dutch (97.6%), the Finnish (97.5%) and the French and Swiss with 97.4% each.

British applicants however ranked 18th overall with a score of 95.6%. Even more embarrassing however are the Kiwis, who ranked among the least knowledgeable about their closest neighbours with a pitiful score of just 72.6%.

Adelaide University Associate Professor in history and politics Paul Sendziuk came to the Brits and Kiwis' defence by claiming that the two nationalities were too often taking Australia's close relationships with New Zealand and the UK for granted and doing little to prepare for the test.

"It is interesting that applicants from the UK, and particularly New Zealand, perform less well than those from similarly developed and wealthy countries," said Professor Sendziuk.

"It is possible that they do not study enough because they feel that they can rely on their background knowledge of Australia, which is a fair-enough assessment given the level of cultural exchange that already exists between Australia and these places.

"It is also possibly that they take the rest a bit lightly - knowing that they are likely to achieve a pass mark even without much study."

The results make for cringe worthy reading for British and Kiwi applicants but there was one nationality that wasn't assessed that perhaps has even more reason to be embarrassed: Australians.

In a follow up report in The Australian, the newspaper set out to find out how native Australian citizens would perform in the test. After polling almost 5,000 readers, it turned out that while most have a good grasp of Australian history and beliefs, just half had a decent understanding of the country's legal and judicial systems.

How much do you know about Australia? Click here to take a practice test, the answers can be found 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.

EU Referendum and UK immigration

by Dominic 23/01/2013 11:51:00

Prime Minister David Cameron
delivered his much anticipated
speech on the EU today.
 

David Cameron has promised a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union should the Conservatives win the next election, but what would that mean for UK immigration policy? And will it even happen?

In a long awaited speech - six months in the making - Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined his party's policy on putting the UK's membership of the European Union to the British public with a simple in/out referendum, should his party secure a majority at the next General Election. An event which would have a widespread on many aspects of British politics - particularly UK immigration policy. 

The referendum

"It is time for the British people to have their say," said the prime minister. "It is time to settle this European question in British politics. I say to the British people: this will be your decision."

Calls for a referendum on the UK's EU membership have been growing recently following cuts to public services and other harmful effects of the GFC. The prospect of Romania and Bulgaria acceding to the EU later this year has caused some to fear an influx of migrants and the rise of the UK Independence Party luring support from traditional Conservative Party supporters has increased pressure on the prime minister regarding a referendum.

Mr Cameron said that, should the Conservatives secure another term, a referendum would be held early in the next parliament; this is thought to be most likely before the end of 2017.

The prime minister said the decision for a referendum comes at a time when 'disillusionment' with the EU was 'at an all time high'.

"Simply asking the British people to carry on accepting a European settlement over which they have had little choice...is why I am in favour of a referendum. I believe in confronting this issue, shaping it, leading the debate. Not simply hoping a difficult situation will go away."

Despite promising the referendum, Mr Cameron said he would first attempt to renegotiate a unilateral agreement with the EU to change the UK's relationship with the single market and secure more autonomy over such policies as immigration.

Once a new arrangement had been concluded, only then will the referendum take place. The EU is certain to change as the global economy continues to settle following the Global Financial Crisis and Mr Cameron said it would be 'wrong to ask people whether to stay or go before we have had a chance to put the relationship right'.

Mr Cameron added that should the British public vote to remain part of the EU in any referendum, he would fight 'heart and soul' to remain part of the single market.

What would the UK's leaving the EU mean for UK immigration?

The UK's membership of the EU
has become a controversial issue.

Should the Conservatives win the next General Election and hold the referendum, the effect on UK immigration is likely to be incredibly affecting - particularly for those wanting to move to the UK from within the EU - but also for those already here.

Changes to the status of EU citizens who have used the Freedom of Movement directive to live and work in the UK would almost certainly lead to a surge in UK visa applications for those wanting to remain. With so many EU citizens already in the UK, this could result in an over burdening of the Home Office and potentially even lead to panic among those faced with being forced to leave the UK.

However, Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the timescales mentioned and the magnitude of the change would mean that any real effect would take several years to be felt.

"The decision to leave the EU would necessitate a large number of transitional measures being put in place to UK immigration policy and such large changes rarely take fewer than a matter of years," said Ms Murdock.

"A raft of new rules combined with the political uncertainty of such a change would mean most current UK residents would have sufficient time to apply for residency or Indefinite Leave to Remain [ILR] before any changes could take effect.

"While it would remain to be seen whether any changes would affect ILR or residency requirements, should this happen there could be significant backlash to those who had already obtained permission to remain in the country."

Will it even happen?

Mr Cameron has already said that he will seek to secure a new relationship with the EU before holding a referendum. While this prospect has already been derided by some, the larger question is whether the Conservative Party is even capable of securing the required majority in 2015.

According to the latest YouGov poll, Ed Miliband's Labour Party currently has an 11 point lead over the Conservative Party.

Lord Ashcroft, the influential Conservative peer, said it was time for the party's euro sceptics to 'declare victory and talk about something else'.

"The new policy will be in the manifesto. The only question is whether we get a chance to implement it," said Ashcroft.

"And that depends on whether we get a majority at the next election. And that depends on how voters think we are doing on the economy, jobs, public services, welfare, crime immigration: whether we are on their side and understand their priorities."


- 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.

Is immigration really the biggest issue facing the UK?

by Dominic 14/01/2013 13:25:00

One in three people surveyed
said UK immigration was the
biggest issue facing the
country.
 

A recent study by a leading think-tank has revealed that UK immigration is considered the biggest issue threatening the UK, but is it as bad as it seems?

The report, titled 'State of the Nation: Where is Bittersweet Britain Heading?' was written by the think-tank British Future and published in the Observer, claims that one in three Britons believe tensions between immigrants and those born in the UK is the most divisive issue in the country.

Public concern

Immigration was chosen by more people as the nation's biggest issue than the still flailing economy and the housing market's ongoing problems.

Net migration to the UK stood at record high levels until recently with over 250,000 more people entering the UK than leaving each year. Figures have since started to reduce after the Conservative-led coalition Government's changes continued to take their toll but it appears to have done little to dampen the public's concerns.

The study, which surveyed 2,515 people aged between 16 and 75, said respect for the law, for the freedom of speech of others and English language ability were the three most important traits for new immigrants to have.

Is it damaging?

The Labour Party has admitted in recent months that their government's actions which encouraged large amounts of immigration fostered negative attitudes toward those who criticised immigration rates.

However, while the British Future's report showed that the public was more concerned with immigration than any other single issue, it also showed that they country is tolerant towards immigrants, with almost 70% of those surveyed saying immigrants should be given access to the welfare state as long as they contribute to society and keep within the boundaries of the law.

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said the report showed an anxiety regarding immigration at a national level but that this considerably reduced when respondents considered their local areas: just 19% reported immigration to be the most divisive around their own homes.

"People are obviously very anxious about immigration," said Mr Katwala. "But I was struck by how much higher it was as a national rather than a local tension.

"That to me suggest that managing local tensions is obviously very important, but it is probably not the answer entirely because people have this national-level concern.

"I think would be wrong to say that local concerns are real and national concerns are just driven by the media, but I think what is going on there is people asking: 'does the system work?' And I don't think anyone has any confidence as how it is managed as a system.

"Also there is a concern around national cohesion, identity and ability to cope with the scale of change."

Marissa Murdock, casework manager at the UK Visa Bureau, says the report proves that attitudes towards immigration and immigrants are not as caustic as some would have you believe.

"Expressing opinions on immigration levels has become thin ice for many people; those lamenting high levels are labelled xenophobic while those advocating the benefits of multiculturalism are blamed for economic troubles," said Ms Murdock.

"Yet the report shows that neither label is fair or accurate; the public's concern does not lie in issues with individual immigrants but the numbers of immigrants.

"As the Government continues to take measures to reduce net migration the public's welcoming attitude should become more evident."


- 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 visa processing transferred to Croydon

by Dominic 02/01/2013 13:01:00

The UK Border Agency has announced that the processing of UK visa applications from many countries will now take place in Croydon, rather than individual international offices.

The UKBA has been plagued in recent months by reports of extensive backlogs and delays in processing applications, as well as poor exit controls. It is thoguht that by centralising all UK visa applications to one office, not only will such delays and lapses occur, but all applications will be processed by a single team, resulting in a much fairer and better balanced system.

The agency is releasing which countries will be affected the changes individually, so far the UKBA has included the following countries as eligible for visa processing in Croydon:

Croydon Processing 

  •  Passport holders of the following countries will have their UK visa applications processed in Croydon:
Denmark 
Estonia Finland
Iceland 
Norway  Sweden 

- 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.

Minister and Lord clash on UK immigration policy

by Dominic 11/12/2012 15:26:00

The Lord Bilimoria (top) and 
Immigration Minister Mark 
Harper clashed on the BBC's
Daily Politics.
 

Immigration Minister Mark Harper and the Lord Bilimoria have clashed on the BBC's Daily Politics over UK immigration policy affecting international students and skilled workers.

The Conservative-led coalition Government has made significant changes to UK visa and immigration policy in recent months as part of its aim to reduce net migration to the UK to the 'tens of thousands' by 2015.

Changes have included the introduction of salary thresholds for those wanting to bring partners and families to the UK and the removal of post study work rights for international students.

It is the changes affecting international students which have provoked the sharpest debate; the international education industry in the UK is a world leader which contributes billions to a struggling British economy.

The Government maintains that the changes tackle abuse of the student visa system - foreign citizens who enter the country on a student visa under the pretence of studying but really to work. Critics however, argue that the changes are too blunt.

Are the changes too harsh?

Lord Bilimoria, an Indian-born British businessman and life peer, agrees that changes need to be made to the system, but the Government's intentions are seen much more harshly from prospective migrants.

"I hear what [Mr Harper] is saying about what the Government is trying to say, the reality is the perception of what is being said," said Lord Bilimoria.

"We've had this country built on good immigration. What happened was the previous government lost control of immigration where if you ask the UK Border Agency right now how many illegal immigrants there are in this country they cannot even give you a figure rounded up to the nearest hundred thousand, they haven't a clue. We have lost control of our borders."

"We have still not reintroduced exit controls so we don't even know who's leaving the country; that needs to be brought in urgently."

"And there's a big difference between bad immigration and good immigration. This whole country, we're only 60 million people on a small island we can't have everyone coming here and it's an attractive place to come we're one of the top 10 economies in the world."

"But we need to keep away the bad immigration, that's what we've got to get control of."

The minister said the Government was fully intent on agreeing with the Lord Bilimoria's suggestions. However, Lord Bilimoria, who sits on the board of three UK business schools, criticised the Government's methods of achieving those goals.

"It's the way that you do it, if you want to get rid of the bad immigration, everyone would agree. If you want to get rid of the dodgy colleges and dodgy students, everyone would agree," said the life peer.

"But what happens when you have a blunt, crude immigration cap - it's a mad cap idea - you send out the message with a broad brush - carpet bombing - everyone is affected."

Lord Bilimoria said the application rate from Indian students had 'plummeted' since the changes were introduced - a fact he said was due to the message emanating from the UK being 'Britain doesn't want us'.

The Government's changes to immigration policy culminated in the removal of London Metropolitan University's ability to take in international students - a move the Lord Bilimoria labelled as the actions of a 'police state'.

Are the changes taking effect?

Mr Harper defended the Government's changes, referring to the most recent release of immigration figures which showed net migration to be down for the first time in four years. The figures showed a 26% decrease in the number of international students in the UK but this figure too was defended by the minister.

"The overall number of students coming to our universities is up compared to last year," said the minister, claiming there was a difference between international students and international students studying in British universities.

"What we've done is we've tackled those institutions that were not actually selling education. Our university sector is being protected; the number of applications to come to universities is up.

"The number of students coming to our universities is up, the high quality end of the sector, the best and the brightest, we're seeing those numbers going up so Britain is very much open for business."


- 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.

OECD report highlights strengths of Canadian immigration system

by Dominic 05/12/2012 13:25:00

The OECD's report will be released
on Monday in Paris.

A report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) due to be published next week will highlight Canada's successful immigration and integration programs.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organisation of 34 of the world's strongest economies. A major study to be released by the organisation has compared how well immigrants adapt and succeed in member nations.

The study, which takes into account both first and second generation immigrants, compares factors such as income levels, health, education and integration into society.

In almost all aspects, Canada ranks either top or near the top.

The full details of the study are expected to be released in Paris on Monday but it is believed that Canada is top in the percentage of immigrants who eventually take up citizenship - almost 75%  - as well as the equality of opportunity afforded to the children of immigrants.

Immigrants moving to Canada on average are also the best educated with over half having a degree; conversely, Canada also accepts the smallest proportion of uneducated migrants.

"Canada is doing quite well. That should not come as a surprise," said Jean-Christophe Dumont, head of the International Migration Division of the OECD.

Mr Dumont said Canadian immigration policy of selecting migrants with the best potential to succeed paid dividends; Canadian immigration criteria consider language skills, education levels and qualifications.

"The type of migrants Canada receives compared to other OECD countries, particularly Europe, is quite different," said Mr Dumont.

"Canada receives more skilled migrants, more migrants from Asia, who tend to perform quite well and especially their children perform quite well.

"The other element is that the labour market situation is much better overall in Canada than it is in a number of European countries.

"Overall, the finding is that immigrants are well-integrated in the labour market and have fairly good results in health, education and civic engagement."

Australia, which has a similar system to Canada, ranked second to Canada in many categories but Mr Dumont says immigrants and their children are better able to integrate into society in Canada than Australia.

"Canada is above Australia and all other countries in this respect," said Mr Dumont.

"If there are problems, they don't necessarily go from one generation to the next. It obviously takes time to settle in the country of landing, but in Canada after one generation and even before, most of the integration is on a good track."

- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the Canadian 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 figures fall

by Dominic 30/11/2012 12:08:00

The latest UK immigration figures
show the lowest net migration
level in four years.

The latest UK immigration figures from the Office of National Statistics show a decline in net migration, suggesting the Government's controversial measures are finally starting to take effect, but is the news it as positive as it sounds?

The Conservative-led coalition Government has made cutting net migration to the UK one its primary indicators of success since being elected in 2010 after the previous Labour government allowed figures to reach record highs by not preventing UK immigration from the European Union. The Conservative Party made reducing net migration from the hundreds of thousands to the 'tens of thousands' by the end of the current parliament.

Labour has since admitted that they were too lax on immigration policies and have promised a tougher stance should they manage to oust the coalition in 2015. In the meantime, the coalition has made significant changes to UK visa and immigration policy.

However, as the UK is a member of the European Union, the coalition's only option to reduce net migration has been to target non-EU migrants and international students. Post study work rights have been removed this year and salary thresholds and application limits have been introduced.

The Government has repeatedly claimed their changes come as part of efforts to clampdown on abuse of the student visa system, preventing migrants from entering the country on student visas and working instead of studying.

The changes have had their critics, especially those affecting international students; critics argue international students eventually leave and should therefore not be included in net migration figures. The UK is also a world leader in the international education industry contributing billions each year to the British economy.

The critics' cause has only been strengthened as successive ONS reports have revealed only negligible drops in net migration figures despite falls in student visa applications. However, the most recent report has become the first to buck that trend, suggesting the changes are finally starting to take effect.

Four year low and tough policies

The latest figures, released this week, have shown a drop in net migration from 242,000 to 183,000 in the year to March 2012, marking the first time net migration has fallen below 200,00 since 2008-09 and the lowest level of people moving to the UK since 2004.

The reduction has largely been attributed to a combination of a fall in international students and a rise in people leaving the UK - from 108,000 to 127,000.

The figures have been welcomed by Immigration Mark Harper who said the figures proved the Government was bringing immigration 'back under control'.

"Our tough policies are taking effect and this marks a significant step towards bringing net migration down from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament," the minister said.

"At the same time, we continue to attract the brightest and best: these figures show that there has been a small increase in the number of sponsored student visa applications for the university sector."

Anti-immigration advocate Migration Watch UK also welcomed the figures.

"We can now see the first effects of the Government's measures to reduce immigration," said Chairman Sir Andrew Green.

"There is a distance to go but they are on the right track."

Counter-productive changes?

While most commentators agree that net migration to the UK needs to be reduced, the most recent figures have only served to fuel critics’ argument that the British Government cannot afford to make it harder for international students to study in the UK given their huge contribution to the British economy.

Earlier this week, Mayor of London Boris Johnson said the Government was 'sending out the wrong signal' to prospective students and has since written to the Home Secretary Theresa May and Business Secretary Vince Cable to urge them to remove international students from net migration figures.

A spokesperson for left-leaning think tank the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the changes would come at a 'significant economic cost'.

"Steps to reduce abuse of the student visa system are welcome but if the government's net migration target is to be met, they also need there to be a dramatic fall in the numbers of genuine students," said the IPPR's Associate Director Sarah Mulley.

"The irony is that the impacts on net migration will only be short-lived because most students stay only for a short time. Reduced immigration today means reduced emigration in a year or two's time, which could see net migration rise again."


- 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.

New Australia visa category - is it a good thing?

by Dominic 27/11/2012 11:24:00

The new Australia visa
program is intended to attract
foreign investment - but is it
a good thing?

The Australian government began taking applications for its latest visa category this weekend - the Significant Investor Visa. For AU$5 million, wealthy investors can get almost immediate access to an Australia visa and, if they like, permanent residency a few years down the line leading some to label the new category as the 'Golden Visa' but is it as bad as it sounds?

The new Australia visa program was first announced by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen in May of this year but the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) were not forthcoming on further details until October when the criteria were outlined by the minister.

Significant Investor Visa

In order to be eligible for the Significant Investor Visa, an applicant must invest AU$5 million (£3.2 million) in Australia's economy over a period of four years; this can be done in any of the following ways:

  • Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds
  • Managed funds regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • Direct investment into proprietary Australian businesses

Applicants do not need to meet points test requirements and there is no age limit to apply.

Furthermore, holders of the Significant Investor Visa need only to reside in Australia for 160 days over the four years, after which period they will be eligible to apply for permanent residency.

Why has it been criticised?

Critics argue that the program essentially allows wealthy foreigners to buy their way into Australia, bypassing waiting times and the rigorous checks other applicants are required to go through.

Philip Huggins, the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, claims the lack of checks threatens to damage the character of Australia.

"What tests are made on how applicants have made their money?" said the bishop. "Have Fair Trade principles or the conventions of the International Labour Organisation been honoured? What character references are required in their application?"

The criticism is particularly harsh given Australia's ongoing asylum seeker problem; record numbers of asylum seekers have arrived in Australian waters by boat in 2012 and even a reinstatement of controversial policies to process arrivals offshore haven't dented arrival numbers.

Bishop Huggins contrasted the harsh policies implemented by the Australian government for asylum seekers with the new visa category.

"Such people, grateful for a fair go and hard-working, now strengthen the character of our nation, without question," said the archbishop, adding that he doubted whether investors would arrive in Australia with a similar sense of gratitude.

The realities of the program

As Australia's mining boom begins to wind down and the frenzied investment from China begins to slow, Australia is looking for other ways to attract investment from overseas - in particular from China.

As China's economy continues on track to overtake the US as the largest economy in the world, western nations are scrambling to attract Chinese investment; both the UK and the US have made it easier in recent months for Chinese tourists to visit.

Australia's geographical location means it is in prime position to benefit from Chinese tourists and investment; indeed, the Significant Investor Visa is even categorised as the subclass 888 - traditionally a very significant and important number in Chinese culture.

On announcing the program's opening for applications, Minister Bowen said interest in applying - especially from Chinese investors - had been extremely positive.

"Since I announced the new Significant Investor visa in May, there has been substantial interest from potential migrant investors and the financial services sector so I expect many people to apply," said the minster.

What does this mean for regular applicants?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard's government has made several changes to the Australian immigration system this year with the most stand out change being the introduction of the SkillSelect system as part of the Australia visa application.

The system allows the Australian government to prioritise certain skills and occupations which are in need across Australia; during the mining boom, these priorities were centred on engineering and construction occupations but are now expected to shift towards the health and social services industry.

The intention of the system is to allow Australia to attract the 'brightest and best' from around the world and it is in keeping with this that the Significant Investor Visa program has been introduced.

"The Significant Investor visa is an important new tool in the armoury of Australia's financial services sector as Australia looks to compete in our region for high wealth and high skilled migrants and the capital that comes with them," said Mr Bowen. 

Leonie Cotton, casework manager at the Australian Visa Bureau, says the program is essential to Australia's economic future.

"Asian investment has proved crucial to western economies and Australia joins the UK, New Zealand and Canada in having programs which prioritise wealthy investors," said Ms Cotton. 

"The criticism being levelled at DIAC has not been unexpected and while critics may feel they have some justification, it's certain that the program will yield both immediate and long term benefits for the Australian economy, particularly should the applicants choose to become permanent residents."


- 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.

Kidnapped explorer returns to New Zealand

by Dominic 15/11/2012 14:41:00

Kiwi Busby Nobel accidentally
ended up travelling to one of the
most dangeorous places on Earth

Earlier this year we covered the story of a Kiwi man apparently accidently abducted by the notoriously reckless Norwegian explorer Jarle Andhoy on his way to the Antarctic.

Back in January, Jarle Andhoy, famed for his ill equipped and overly ambitious treks to some of the most uninhabitable places on Earth, was about to embark on his latest trip to the Antarctic. However, when government officials discovered Andhoy had recently been deported from Canada, they cancelled the Norwegian national's New Zealand visa.

On hearing New Zealand immigration officials were on their way, Andhoy rushed to the harbour and set off out on his exhibition early, clearly thinking he had escaped punishment. However, it transpired 52-year-old yacht mechanic and local resident Busby Noble was still on board.

Andhoy, already known to the authorities for his blatant disregard for international laws, was monitored even more closely when it transpired a New Zealander with no proper winter clothing was on board and heading for the South Pole.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said at the time "the Southern Ocean is one of the most remote and inhospitable areas in the world. New Zealand government agencies are obviously concerned".

However, Andhoy insisted that having the Kiwi on board was "a somewhat tricky situation" but that "everything is on schedule and the atmosphere is good on board" and that he planned to continue his trek.

Ten months on following a turbulent trip around the Southern Ocean and a visit to Antarctica, Mr Noble returned to Norway with Andhoy to become an overnight celebrity. Eventually even Mr Noble's partner TP Teiho flew to be with him as he appeared on chat shows and gave interviews about the ad hoc adventure.

Mr Noble has since returned to New Zealand this week and, despite saying he 'expected a grilling' from New Zealand immigration authorities, wrote on his Facebook page 'Home again! Safe and sound. Aotearoa.' having apparently passed through Immigration New Zealand checks without a problem.

While Mr Noble did not state whether he planned for any more immediate adventures, it's likely he's just glad to be home.


- 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.