UNITED KINGDOM – CHANGES TO SETTLEMENT AND OTHER VISAS
The UK government have announced a number of changes to UK immigration over a range of categories.
Perhaps the most important change relates to applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or settlement. Such applications will now be points tested for those in the UK on HSMP visas, Tier 1 General visas or other points tested visa categories such as Investors or Entrepreneurs.
Previously, such applications were relatively straightforward after accruing the necessary 5 years in the appropriate category. This has now changed and applicants need to ensure they can score enough points to obtain ILR.
Points are again awarded for factors such as age, qualifications and earnings. Applicants now need to ensure they plan an application well in advance to ensure they can score the necessary points through earnings etc.
The following are some of the other key changes;
The Post Study Work visa will be abolished after April 2012.
The Worker Registration Scheme for citizens of countries that joined the EU in 2004 will be closed and all such work restrictions will finish.
The Certificate of Approval scheme (which requires non EEA nationals to obtain permission before being allowed to marry in the UK) is to be abolished in May 2011.
New rules to encourage Investors and Entrepreneurs to move to the UK have been introduced.
CANADA – IMMIGRATION CHANGES?
The Canadian government have launched a new consultation on changes to the Federal Skilled Worker Program.
The points for age and English language ability are marked out as areas that could be changed – i.e. giving more points for younger applicants and those who speak advanced English.
The main areas of consultation include;
• requiring federal skilled workers to have a minimum level of language proficiency;
• making the program more accessible to skilled tradespeople, technicians and apprentices;
• placing greater emphasis on younger immigrants who will adapt more easily and be active members of the work force for a longer time frame;
• redirecting points from work experience to other factors that better contribute to success in the Canadian work force; and
• reducing the potential for fraudulent job offers.
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AUSTRALIA – NEW POINTS SYSTEM IN JULY
Effective from July 1st 2011, a new points system will be introduced for general skilled migration to Australia.
The final details of the new points system have yet to be announced but we understand the following will be some of the key changes;
Increased points for “superior” level English
Removing the points difference for various occupations on the Skilled Occupations List so that all occupations are rated equally.
Changing the points brackets for age and increasing the upper age limit from 45 to 50 years
The new system will not apply to those whose applications have already been submitted.
As in line with previous years we expect an announcement at some time in May on the exact details of the new system.