NEWSLETTER No. 31 – November 2010

AUSTRALIA – NEW POINTS SYSTEM

The new Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen has released details of the new points system for Skilled Migration, which is due to take effect in July 2011.

The proposed new system is very different from the current system with a new points scale and different criteria. The new system will no longer see occupations given a different points score. Instead experience in an occupation on the Skilled Occupations List will be one of the general entry requirements.

One positive change is that the upper age limit will be increased from 45 to 50 years.

Changes are also being proposed in other factors such as the points awarded for English language, qualifications, state sponsorship and family sponsorship.

The new system still has to be approved by Parliament and given the slim majority that the current government has, this may see more changes to ensure it is approved.

It is important to remember that the new system will NOT apply to applications that have already been lodged or that will be lodged before July 2011.

However, this is a major change in Australian immigration. The new system will inevitably leave some applicants ineligible, so if you are interested in moving to Australia it would be advisable to look at applying now before it’s too late.

To be assessed for migration to Australia, please complete the Online Assessment Form on our website

AUSTRALIA – STATE MIGRATION PLANS

After a long wait, we are now finally seeing some State Migration Plans being approved by the Immigration Minister.

These State Migration Plans (SMPs) allow State governments in Australia to select migrants with the desired skills required by that State.

At the time of writing, SMPs for Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have been launched.

We expect SMPs for all States to be approved and open for applications soon.

Each State will assess applications for State sponsorship using different criteria. Most importantly, each State will publish a unique list of occupations in demand in that State.

Applicants intending to apply for residency through State sponsorship need specialist advice in making an application and demonstrating their suitability to that State.

UNITED KINGDOM – CITIZENSHIP ANNOUNCEMENT AND TIER 1 VISA PROCESSING

The current UK government have announced that the previous Labour government’s proposal of “earned citizenship” is to be dropped.

This idea would have seen many applicants having to wait longer before being eligible to apply for citizenship. It also contained proposals that applicants would have to undertake voluntary work to apply for citizenship and introduced a concept of “probationary citizenship”.

This announcement will come as a relief to many applicants who have been waiting to see if their pathway to citizenship would become more difficult.

Meanwhile we await with interest the government’s proposals on the immigration cap or quota. The Migration Advisory Committee is due to report soon to the government on the level for 2011/12 of the annual limits on economic migration to the UK under Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the points-based system.

Already the number of overseas applicants for Tier 1 (General) visas is starting to impact on processing times. We advise anyone interested in applying for a Tier 1 (General) visa to look at starting this process as soon as possible, before the new immigration cap is launched in April.

For advice on applying for UK visas or citizenship, then please visit our website.

CANADA – 2011 IMMIGRATION PLAN ANNOUNCED

The Canadian government have announced details of their immigration plan for 2011.

This will see between 240,000 and 265,000 new immigrants arrive in Canada next year, with 65% of those through the economic stream. This is good news for migrants at a time when other countries (most notably the UK) are seeking to cap or restrict numbers.

There will also be an increase in places in the immigration programme for spouses and children of citizens and permanent residents.

If you are interested in moving to Canada, then please contact us through our website.

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC NATIONALS (EEA) AND FAMILY MEMBERS

We have many years experience in handling applications for UK visas and permits on behalf of EEA nationals and their families (especially non EEA family members).

We submit applications in the UK and at British Embassies and High Commissions all over the world.

This includes applications for EEA Family Permits, EEA Residence Cards, EEA permanent residence and EEA registration certificates.

If you are interested in EEA applications, then please contact us

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