NEWSLETTER No. 33 – February 2011

UNITED KINGDOM – RECENT CHANGES

Since the Coalition government came to office last year, a number of key changes have taken place in UK immigration, in an effort to reduce the overall levels of migration.

Employers and applicants need to be aware of these changes and their potential impact. The following are some of the most recent developments;

Tier 2 (General) visas
Feb 2011 – The Migration Advisory Committee has recently published their report into the list of occupations that are eligible for Tier 2 (General) visas – i.e. work visas sponsored by an employer. This has resulted in the threshold level being increased from National Qualification Framework level 3 to graduate degree level.

Consequently, many occupations are no longer eligible for the Tier 2 (General) visa. This doesn’t affect normal graduate level recruitment (or skilled occupations requiring a higher degree or extensive experience).

However, employers need to be sure that the position they are offering matches an occupation on the revised list. Some occupations that will no longer eligible for Tier 2 (General) visas under this proposal include Retail Managers, Laboratory Technicians, Science and Engineering Technicians.

Student visas / Post Study Work visas
Jan 2011 – A major new consultation has just been finalised on reforming the student visa system. Several new proposals are included as part of the consultation including stricter entrance requirements and limitations on in-country student visa extensions.

Most importantly, the 2 year Post Study Work visa is earmarked for abolition. This is the work visa, that many graduates obtain, allowing them to work in the UK and then switch to a Tier 1 or Tier 2 work visa.

Tier 1 (General) visas

Most recently in December 2010, the UK Border Agency announced that the Tier 1 (General) visa category is closed to overseas applicants. This category will also be closed to UK based applicants after April 2011.

“UK based applicants” include those living and working in the UK on a substantive visa – such as a work permit, Tier 2 visa or Post Study Work visa.

These changes should NOT affect those who have already secured a Tier 1 (General) visa and wish to apply for an extension in the UK. This should still be possible, as normal.

We advise anyone interested in applying for a Tier 1 (General) visa in the UK, to look at starting this process immediately, before this category is closed in April.

For advice on applying for UK visas or citizenship, Tier 1 extension after April 2011 or similar, then please contact us

CANADA – OCCUPATION QUOTAS BEING REACHED

Intending applicants under the Federal Skilled Worker category should be aware that there is an overall limit of 20,000 places in the year which commenced on 26 June 2010.
There is also an annual limit of 1,000 places per eligible occupation.

This has lead to the limit being already reached in 2 occupations;

1. Registered Nurses

2. Professional Occupations in Business Services to Management

Therefore, no more applications can be accepted for such occupations until after June 2011. The limit is also close to being reached in many other occupations.

However, these limits do not apply to applicants who have an approved offer of “arranged employment” or are nominated by a Provincial government.

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

AUSTRALIA – STATE MIGRATION PLANS OPEN

All states / territories in Australia are now looking to attract migrants through their State Migration Plans.

This allows states to select migrants according to state specific occupation lists – i.e. what occupations are in acute shortage in that state. State sponsored migrants are processed as priority applicants, so this is a preferred option for many migrants.

States such as Western Australia and South Australia have long lists of occupations that they will consider for sponsorship. Other states such as Queensland and New South Wales are more specific – often targeting specific industry sectors that they want to develop.

It is important for migrants to remember that your occupation is not the sole factor in obtaining approval under a State Migration Plan. English language ability, available financial resources and employment research are additional factors that many states see as vital.

Furthermore, some occupations are subject to a quota. For instance, the state of Victoria has recently stopped accepting applications for ICT occupations, having received the limit of places under the annual quota for such occupations.

State Migration Plans are an increasingly important part of migration to Australia. The criteria varies from state to state and is often subjective – how can the applicant show he / she will settle successfully 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.

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