NEWSLETTER No. 30 – September 2010

UNITED KINGDOM – ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEST FOR PARTNERS

The UK government have announced English language tests for partners / spouses will be introduced from 29 November 2010.

The introduction of such a test was announced following the new government’s election to office.

From this date, any migrant who wants to enter or remain in the UK as the partner of a British citizen or a person settled here will need to show that they can speak and understand English, by taking an English language test. The test will be with one of the approved test providers – such as IELTS, TOEFL etc….

The new rules will apply to anyone applying as the husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried partner, same-sex partner, fiance(e) or proposed civil partner of a British citizen or a person settled in this country. They will be compulsory for people applying from within the UK as well as visa applicants from overseas.

Some applicants will be exempt – such as those from “majority English language countries” – this will include those countries designated as such for the Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa categories.

Applicants should be aware of the introduction of the test if looking to apply after 29th November.

UNITED KINGDOM – FUTURE IMMIGRATION POLICY

The UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has made a major policy speech on immigration. The speech seems to be aimed at an overall tightening of the immigration system with particular emphasis on student numbers.

The Minister queries the legacy of the previous government’s immigration policy and asks strong questions on students remaining in the UK for lengthy periods, the effectiveness of skilled immigration and the proposals for an immigration cap.

Obviously the current government are only at the start of their 5 year term so policy announcements such as this are common at this time. We will closely monitor and report on immigration changes as they are unveiled.

UNITED KINGDOM – CERTIFICATE OF APPROVAL TO MARRY

The government have announced their intention to abolish the “Certificate of Approval to Marry” scheme.

This is the process where non UK / EU citizens need to apply for permission to marry in the UK. The Certificate of Approval scheme has been controversial since its introduction a few years back and has been subjected to much scrutiny by the courts.

The government are stating that the;

“scheme is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and changes made following rulings from the courts have weakened the scheme, and it is no longer an effective method of preventing sham marriage”.

Although the scheme is still in operation, it will be abolished in 2011, depending on how quickly it can be removed through Parliament.

This is a positive development in removing a simplistic and discriminatory piece of legislation which caused more problems than it solved.

AUSTRALIA – NURSING UPDATE

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has revised its frequently asked questions (FAQ) and explanatory notes on English Language requirements.

The new version dated 17 August, means that applicants who have completed secondary schooling and a nursing or midwifery qualification in English are now only required to provide evidence of their English language education. They are no longer required to sit the English language test (IELTS) and achieve a score of 7.

This is a significant policy change that will be welcome news to many applications applying for registration.

HOWEVER – it is important to remember that the NMBA only deal with registration for Nurses who are able to work in Australia – i.e. have a work or residence visa etc… Most overseas applicants will still need to go through the assessment process with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC) to apply for residence. The ANMC still retains the IELTS test as a compulsory requirement for ALL nurses.

If you are a Nurse looking to move to Australia then contact us through our website for specialist advice.

NEWSLETTER No. 29 – July 2010

UNITED KINGDOM – IMMIGRATION QUOTA INTRODUCED

The UK government have announced that they are pressing ahead with plans to implement a cap or quota on all non-EU economic migrants. This was predicted in our previous newsletter.

This is likely to affect all applications for Tier 1 and Tier 2 visas.

A permanent cap is set to be introduced from April 2011. In the meantime, a temporary cap is to be imposed which will see overall numbers between now and April 2011, reduced by 5 %.

The criteria for Tier 1 visas (Highly Skilled workers) has been tightened from July 19th by increasing the points threshold by 5 points.

We therefore advise all applicants and employers to look at applying for such visas, as soon as possible. The announcement of a cap is unprecedented in UK immigration and is likely to lead to an increase in applications.

This may then lead to visas being unavailable until the new visa year commences in April 2011. The new criteria effective from April 2011 may well see further restrictions to ensure an immigration cap is effective.

A review by the Migration Advisory Committee has been launched into the permanent cap. There are a broad range of proposals on how the government should implement a cap and also what the final quota numbers should be.

If you wish to go ahead with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 application, then please contact us so that we can assess your eligibility

 

AUSTRALIA – NEW DEVELOPMENTS

At a recent meeting at Australia House, London we received some information on future plans for the introduction of State Migration Plans (SMPs).

SMPs are crucial for many migrants to Australia as they specify which states will sponsor which occupations. This is now a vitally important route for many migrants.

It seems the first SMPs will be published by September and hopefully implemented soon afterwards. All SMPs need to be fully approved by the Federal government before being launched. It is thought that many SMPs will follow the previous state sponsorship occupations.

Furthermore, the Australian Department of Immigration are introducing a new system for occupational coding.

The new system is called the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO). This replaces the previous ASCO coding system and is being introduced as the new standard to capture occupation information in all visa, settlement and citizenship programs.

ANZSCO will also be used within skilled visa programs, where it is a requirement for visa eligibility, as the standard by which a visa applicant’s skills to undertake a specific occupation in Australia are assessed.

CANADA – IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR SKILLED WORKERS AND INVESTORS

The Canada government has now announced some changes in processing for federal skilled worker applicants.

The new rules mean that applicants must either have a job offer, or they must have experience in one of 29 in-demand occupations. This is a new list of occupations which is a shortened version of the previous list.

For those applying under the occupation list, the government will limit the number of applications considered for processing to 20,000 per year. Furthermore, within the 20,000 limit, a maximum of 1,000 applications per occupation will be considered. The limit does not apply to applicants with a job offer or those who have already applied.

In addition, all federal skilled worker and Canadian Experience Class applicants must submit the results of an independent language test before they will be considered.

Previously, applicants had the option of proving their language ability via a written submission. Citizenship and Immigration Canada now only accepts designated third-party language tests as proof of language ability – no exceptions.

Also, the rules for those applying for Canadian residency through the Investor category are set to get tighter.

The proposed changes will require new investors to have a personal net worth of CDN$1.6M, up from CDN$800,000, and make an investment of CDN$800,000, up from CDN$400,000.

Until the new investor rules are implemented, Canada will stop accepting new applications in this category.

This is of course a significant change and the lack of any advance warning makes it difficult for applicants to plan accordingly.

Net migration to the UK increases again

Net migration to Britain remained steady at 250,000 in the year to June 2011, according to figures released today.

However when compared with the figures for the year ended June 2010, the figures showed an increase from 235,000.

The government has promised to cut net migration by 2015 to the “tens of thousands”.

It seems that the reduction in numbers of British citizens moving abroad and economic turmoil in the eurozone will see this target become harder and harder to reach.

NEWSLETTER No. 28 – June 2010

UNITED KINGDOM – NEW GOVERNMENT TO IMPLEMENT QUOTA?

The new UK government took office last month with Damian Green appointed as Minister for Immigration.

The coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has reached compromise on many issues. However the government has still retained the Conservative idea of a “cap” or quota on numbers, as their main immigration policy.

The following is an extract from the agreed Programme for Government on the subject of immigration;

“The Government believes that immigration has enriched our culture and strengthened our economy, but that it must be controlled so that people have confidence in the system. We also recognise that to ensure cohesion and protect our public services, we need to introduce a cap on immigration and reduce the number of non EU immigrants.”

No timeframe has been indicated for this and it is important to stress that it does not affect EU migrants or migrants in other categories such as spouses, students etc..

However, this may logically result in an annual quota of visas to be granted, in categories such as Tier 1 and Tier 2. Applicants intending to apply in these categories may be advised to start the process sooner rather than later, in case a future quota would work to their detriment.

In any event, new figures show that net migration to the UK is set to drop below 100,000 a year. This of course is a key target of the new government – the aim of reducing the level to “tens of thousands, rather than hundreds of thousands”.

New official immigration figures show that more eastern European migrants (from the 2004 Accession countries such as Poland) are leaving than arriving.

The annual citizenship figures for 2009 also published show more than 203,000 people were granted UK citizenship last year.

The overall statistics show a continued decline in net migration to the UK – the number of people coming to work and study minus the number of people leaving to live abroad – to 142,000 in the year to September 2009. This compares with a net migration figure of 160,000 in the previous year to September 2009.

 

AUSTRALIA – NEW OCCUPATIONS LIST


A new Skilled Occupations List (SOL) for migration to Australia has been published by the Department of Immigration.

The new SOL contains fewer occupations than the old SOL, with a reduction from 408 to 181 occupations.

The new list does not affect those whose applications have already been submitted. It also does not affect those looking to apply through State sponsorship.

All State governments in Australian will still be able to sponsor skilled migrants in accordance with the State’s own “State Migration Plan” regardless of whether the migrant’s occupation is on the SOL.

The government’s review into the points system has still not been published.

If you are looking to move to Australia then please contact us so that we can check your eligibility.