Monday, June 14, 2010

NEW ONLINE RESOURCES LAUNCHED BY CANADA IMMIGRATION

Immigration Minister Kenney recently launched a new interactive online resource, part of the official Canadian immigration website that covers Civics, History, and Citizenship specifically for students and teachers.
The first module of the new internet based resource is called "A Fun Path to Learning" and is based on the new citizenship study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. Through games and activities the interactive guide will help students leave about Canada's history and political institutions. There will be future modules that will help you learn about the monarchy and immigration.
Canada immigration online resources for students
"I encourage students and teachers to explore this new learning resource," said Immigration Minister Kenney. "When I launched Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, I said that it wasn't just for newcomers – but, indeed, all Canadians. This web tools helps promote a solid understanding of Canada's history, values, symbols and political institutions, and an appreciation of how ethnic and cultural communities have helped shape Canada's national identity."
According to Canadian Immigration the new internet based resource "A Fun Path to Learning" provides "interesting, challenging and fun learning opportunities for elementary, junior and high school students, their teachers, and even their parents".

Immigration Minister Kenney went onto say:"A shared understanding of Canada and Canadian history unites us all as citizens."

NEW GREEN CARD ISSUED BY US IMMIGRATION

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced recently that they were now issuing a newly designed Permanent Resident Card, known as the "Green Card" with a number of new security features. New technology makes counterfeiting and tampering of the card more difficult.
Below are various features of the new card:
us new green card
  • There is a special ink that color shifts in visual designs (e.g., eagle's head).
  • USCIS says that "Fine-lined artwork and complex architecture incorporate patterns that are nearly impossible to reproduce."
  • It is now more difficult to make alterations to the photograph as this is now fully integrated into the card. The photograph is also in greater detail.
  • Ultra Violet Technology means that there is more  accurate card authentication at border crossings.
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) means that inspectors can read unique, 192-bit serial number (192-bits) from a distance and then access personal data on file.
  • There is a personalized return address on the back of the card which further enhances security and makes it easier to return lost cards to USCIS.
  • The New Permanent Resident Card is now green.

AUSTRALIA NEW SKILLED OCCUPATION LIST (SOL) 2010

Immigration Minister Chris Evans had previously announced the revocations of the Migration Occupations in Demand List (MODL) from 8 February 2010. Now following advice from the Independent body, Skills Australia a new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) has just been announced. This is due to be implemented on 1 July 2010.
The new immigration reforms are intended to make sure that the Australian skilled immigration program will result in new immigrants who better meets the needs of the Australian economy and the skilled labor needs in Australia.
Australia new sol 2010
It is expected that there will be a reduction in the number of independent skilled migrant visas. There will at the same time be an increase in the number of employer sponsored skilled immigration visas. The number of occupations on the Australia new SOL list has now been reduced from 400 occupations to 181 occupations. Australian immigration feels that the new list is in keeping with Australia's overall workforce development strategy which was developed with Skills Australia.
If you wish to gain entry to Australia on the new list you will find that the list is focused more on higher skilled level occupations requiring formal education and training. The occupations on the new SOL list 2010  include managerial, professional, associate-professional and trade occupations. The skilled occupation list will be reviewed on an annual basis. The Australian Government in their recent announcement has said that they are committed "…to a labor market demand-driven skilled migration program…"
The immigration Australia new SOL (skilled occupation list) will apply to General Skilled Migration applications from 1 July 2010. The exception to this is GSM applicants who at 8 February 2010 come under the following transitional arrangements:

  • If you held a subclass 485 (skilled graduate) visa or had a pending subclass 485 visa application and you apply for a permanent or provisional onshore GSM visa by 31 December 2012.
  • On the date of the announcement you had a pending GSM visa application.
  • If you are an international student who on 8 February 2010 held a subclass 572 (Vocational Education and Training Sector) or subclass 573 (Higher Education Sector) or subclass 574 (Postgraduate Research Sector) student visa you will not come under the new skilled occupation list. If you are a student in this situation you can apply for a subclass 485 (skilled graduate) visa using the current SOL as long as you lodge your subclass 485 application by 31 December 2012.

Australian immigration has commented that Australia has "…a well deserved reputation for the delivery of quality education and training…". There may still be opportunities for students to come to Australia and then remain as a permanent immigrant.

The Australian immigration changes mean that fewer people will qualify under the general skilled migration categories. Those that do qualify from 1 July 2010 for skilled immigration will need to have higher level skills or be sponsored by an employer.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

UK MARRIAGE VISA AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT

In future Immigrants from non European Union Countries who wish to join their spouse or settled partner (those with permanent residence or British Citizenship) in the UK will need pass an English language test. From Autumn 2010 immigrants will need to show that they are at a high enough English ability to deal with everyday life in the UK.
UK marriage visa and English language requirement
You will be affected if you apply under the following immigration categories based on your relationship to a British citizen or someone settled (also known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK:
  • HUSBAND OR WIFE
  • CIVIL PARTNER
  • UNMARRIED PARTNER
  • SAME SEX PARTNER
  • FIANCE/FIANCEE
This will cover applicants based both in the UK and overseas. Home Secretary Theresa May had the following to say:
"I believe being able to speak English should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to settle here. The new English requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services.It is a privilege to come to the UK, and that is why I am committed to raising the bar for migrants and ensuring that those who benefit from being in Britain contribute to our society.This is only the first step. We are currently reviewing English language requirements across the visa system with a view to tightening the rules further in the future.Today's announcement is one of a wide range of measures the new government is taking to ensure that immigration is properly controlled for the benefit of the UK, alongside a limit on work visas and an effective system for regulating the students who come here."

The change will mean that partners will need to show basic English at A1 level which is at the same level as required for skilled workers under the Tier 2 visa scheme. You will also in future have to pass an English language test by an approved test provider. UKBA also confirmed in their news report that you will still need to show that your relationship is genuine and that you can support yourselves financially to come under a "partner" visa. At the end of two years on the basis of one of these "partner" based visas you can apply for indefinite leave to remain; This is also known as settlement. You will need to pass the 'knowledge of language and life in the UK' test and meet the new English language requirements.

Hina Majid of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants had the following to say, "Forcing husbands and wives to take language tests before they even arrive in the  U.K. will rip families apart." Ms Majid went onto say, "These new rules are likely to hit people from South Asia and Africa, where English is not the main language. It may also hit women harder and discriminate most against the poorest."

The tougher English Language requirements will mean a reduction in the number of people who qualify for entry on a spouse or partner visa which help  the new UK Government to reduce immigration to the UK. This is just one of a number of steps that the new UK Coalition Government will be taking to cut immigration into the UK. Yet again, it has to be said that if you wish to come under the the current more liberal immigration laws you should apply sooner rather than later.