NEWSLETTER No. 20 – February 2009

UNITED KINGDOM – NEW RULES FOR MIGRANTS

Significant changes have just been announced for the UK Tier 1 General (Highly Skilled) category.

From 1 April 2009, overseas applicants applying in this category will need to have a minimum qualification of a Masters degree and previous earnings equivalent to UK £20,000 (adjusted for different countries). The Masters degree requirement is a major new development as currently the minimum qualification is a Bachelors degree.

The new rules do not seem to apply to those already in the UK on a Tier 1 visa or indeed switching / extending their status while in the UK. The initial indication is that this would not affect students or work permit holders changing their UK status.

In relation to Tier 2 migrants (sponsored by a UK employer), the government has asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review if further changes are needed to the list of occupations that can be sponsored.

These Tier 1 changes have just been announced and we are still waiting further detailed advice from the government on the new system and exactly how overseas applicants will be assessed. If the government introduce any more changes, we’ll let you know.
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UNITED KINGDOM – CITIZENSHIP CHANGES PROPOSED

The government is proposing to pass legislation later this year to amend the requirements to allow applicants to become British citizens.

The new requirements may involve a longer period of residence before qualifying for citizenship. Another proposal is that a new concept of “probationary citizenship” will be introduced before one can become a full citizen.

We must emphasise that the exact details of the new system or the implementation date have not yet been decided. However this is expected to receive approval by Parliament at some point this year.

Our advice to all applicants is to consider applying now, if you are eligible. Last week, the Home Office announced a significant increase in the number of citizenship applications being submitted.

If you wish to consider applying for UK citizenship at this point, then please contact us.

AUSTRALIA – MORE INFORMATION ON THE NEW TRADES ASSESSMENT PROCESS

We now have more information on the new application process for applicants with trade skills, to emigrate to Australia.

This process will result in the award of an Australian Qualifications Framework Certificate level 3, which will allow us to progress your application for migration to Australia. Such a qualification is also of great benefit in obtaining employment in Australia.

For Construction workers the process is conducted by the Masters Builders of Australia.

For Hairdressers this assessment is conducted through the Queensland Hairdressing Academy.

There are different steps in the assessment process with both organisations.

Firstly we need to complete an initial paper-based application about your skill (qualifications and experience). Assuming that you pass the minimum standard (generally this is at least 4 years of full-time experience), you will be eligible to attend the practical and examination component. This then involves a practical examination, and in certain cases a technical interview. This is conducted at various locations throughout the UK and Ireland (often at a location of your choice such as home, work, college etc..) .

Having a recognised qualification awarded by the Masters Builders of Australia or the Queensland Hairdressing Academy, will be instantly recognised by Australian employers, allowing you to start work quickly in Australia.

If you have skills / experience in any of the following trades and you are interested in moving to Australia, then please contact us.

Hairdresser, Plasterer, Floor Finisher, Wall / Floor Tiler, Bricklayer, Carpenter, Painter and Decorator, Roof Plumber, Roof Tiler, Cabinet Maker, Landscape Gardener, Flat Glass Trades

Separate assessment arrangements apply for UK based applicants in the following trades;

Electrician, General Plumber, Carpenter, Joiner, Motor Mechanic, Bricklayer, Cable Jointer, Refrigeration / Air Conditioning Mechanic

CANADA – PROVINCIAL NOMINEE PROGRAMS AND OTHER OPTIONS

We are now increasingly assisting applicants through Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs. This is a consequence of the recent changes to the list of occupations that are eligible for processing under the Federal Skilled Worker Program.

Most provinces in Canada have an agreement with the Government of Canada that allows them to nominate immigrants who wish to settle in that province. The selection process varies from province to province. Each province selects immigrants who can fill its needs – normally through labour market shortages.

For instance, the government of Nova Scotia is keen to attract people to the province with work experience in Aerospace and Health Care.

However, in addition the government of British Columbia has a further need for selected occupations in Tourism/Hospitality and Food Processing.

A select number of province’s have ‘family connections’ streams of their respective Nominee Programs. Specifically, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland allow permanent residents and citizens of the province to sponsor foreign family members to come to the province where their Canadian relative lives. There are differences in each program so contact us for province specific details.

If you wish to be considered for immigration to Canada either through the Federal Skilled Worker or a Provincial Nominee Program, then please complete an Online Assessment form on our website.

Also, for students who wish to have opportunities to settle in Canada, contact us today for information on how studying in Canada can make students eligible for a number of permanent residency options.

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