Thursday, July 29, 2010

UK Student visa changes balance language requirements

The student tier of the UK points-based visa system is undergoing key change that will mandate certain levels of  language study for applicants and visa holders.

The changes are being made to the student, or Tier 4 UK visa, requirements in an effort to clamp down on abuses of the system and enforce applicants to gain working proficiency in English.

From 23 July 2010, the minimum level of English language course that will be permitted under Tier 4 will be level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference.

This restores to its level prior to the Judicial Review ruling filed by English UK earlier this year. The ruling had led to a temporary suspension of UK visa applications from students in South Asia applying for a particular range of degree courses. The restoration of the level means that the people affected - largely from northern parts of India, Bangladesh and Nepal - are once again eligible to apply for student visas.

In another change, students who want to change their sponsor schools to one of the lesser A- or B-rated sponsors, will have to wait to begin their course of study until they have received an affirmative decision from UK immigration authorities.

This does not, however, affect students wishing to transfer to the top-rated Highly Trusted Sponsor (HTS) institutions, who will be able to transfer immediately.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Immigration Minister Kenney recently launched a new interactive online resource, part of the official Canadian immigration website that covers Civics, History, and Citizenship specifically for students and teachers.
The first module of the new internet based resource is called "A Fun Path to Learning" and is based on the new citizenship study guide Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship. Through games and activities the interactive guide will help students leave about Canada's history and political institutions. There will be future modules that will help you learn about the monarchy and immigration.
"I encourage students and teachers to explore this new learning resource," said Immigration Minister Kenney. "When I launched Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, I said that it wasn't just for newcomers – but, indeed, all Canadians. This web tools helps promote a solid understanding of Canada's history, values, symbols and political institutions, and an appreciation of how ethnic and cultural communities have helped shape Canada's national identity."
According to Canadian Immigration the new internet based resource "A Fun Path to Learning" provides "interesting, challenging and fun learning opportunities for elementary, junior and high school students, their teachers, and even their parents".

Immigration Minister Kenney went onto say:"A shared understanding of Canada and Canadian history unites us all as citizens."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

UK Marriage Visa And English Language Requirement

In future Immigrants from non European Union Countries who wish to join their spouse or settled partner (those with permanent residence or British Citizenship) in the UKwill need pass an English language test. From Autumn 2010 immigrants will need to show that they are at a high enough English ability to deal with everyday life in the UK.
You will be affected if you apply under the following immigration categories based on your relationship to a British citizen or someone settled (also known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK:

 This will cover applicants based both in the UK and overseas. Home Secretary Theresa May had the following to say:
"I believe being able to speak English should be a prerequisite for anyone who wants to settle here. The new English requirement for spouses will help promote integration, remove cultural barriers and protect public services.It is a privilege to come to the UK, and that is why I am committed to raising the bar for migrants and ensuring that those who benefit from being in Britain contribute to our society.This is only the first step. We are currently reviewing English language requirements across the visa system with a view to tightening the rules further in the future.Today's announcement is one of a wide range of measures the new government is taking to ensure that immigration is properly controlled for the benefit of the UK, alongside a limit on work visas and an effective system for regulating the students who come here."

The change will mean that partners will need to show basic English at A1 level which is at the same level as required for skilled workers under the Tier 2 visa scheme. You will also in future have to pass an English language test by an approved test provider. UKBA also confirmed in their news report that you will still need to show that your relationship is genuine and that you can support yourselves financially to come under a "partner" visa. At the end of two years on the basis of one of these "partner" based visas you can apply for indefinite leave to remain; This is also known as settlement. You will need to pass the 'knowledge of language and life in the UK' test and meet the new English language requirements.

Hina Majid of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants had the following to say, "Forcing husbands and wives to take language tests before they even arrive in the  U.K. will rip families apart." Ms Majid went onto say, "These new rules are likely to hit people from South Asia and Africa, where English is not the main language. It may also hit women harder and discriminate most against the poorest."

The tougher English Language requirements will mean a reduction in the number of people who qualify for entry on a spouse or partner visa which help  the new UK Government to reduce immigration to the UK. This is just one of a number of steps that the new UK Coalition Government will be taking to cut immigration into the UK. Yet again, it has to be said that if you wish to come under the the current more liberal immigration laws you should apply sooner rather than later.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Australian Immigration accepting immigration applications from 1 July 2010

The Australian immigration visa schemes in the following categories were suspended from 8 May 2010 to 30 June 2010:

  • Subclass 175 – Skilled Independent;
  • Subclass 176 – Skilled Sponsored;
  • Subclass 475 – Skilled Regional Sponsored.
The suspension was lifted from 1 July 2010; You can again make applications under the above categories.

Australian immigration has substantially reduced the number of occupations that come under the skilled migration program from the previous 400 occupations to the current 183 occupations. Immigration Minister Chris Evans says that that the changes will help provide the skilled workers needed by the Australian economy. The Australian Government says that the list includes managerial, professional, technical and trade occupations. Immigration Minister Evans also had the following to say:

'The government's reforms to the skilled migration program are delivering the workers our economy need to the regions where there is real demand.'

'We have already seen the rate of employer and state-sponsored skilled migrants increase from 29 per cent in 2007–08 to 55 per cent this current year.

'And the latest figures illustrate businesses are already using the new system to recruit the skilled workers they need to meet demands in Western Australian and Queensland.'

Western Australia and Queensland has seen increases in the percentage share of skilled migrants emigrating to these particular states:
  • 12 per cent of permanent immigrants emigrated to Western Australia in 2004–05. In the period 2008–09 it had gone up to 16 percent.
  • There has also been an increase in the percentage of skilled workers emigrating to Western Australia under the employer sponsored program. The percentages have gone up from 16 percent in 2007–08 to 24 percent in 2008-09.
  • Immigration to Queensland increased from 17 per cent in 2004–05 to 20 per cent in the period 2008–09.
  • Immigration Minister Evans also had the following to say:
The government's reforms are not just bringing in the skilled migrants Australia actually needs but the demand-driven focus means migrants are increasingly working in the occupations and regions that will most benefit the Australian economy.

The Labor Government recognises the special needs of the growing Western Australian and Queensland economies. The reforms to the skilled migration program are delivering tangible results for employers both big and small.

Australian immigration has transitional arrangements that may benefit former and current overseas students at the time the changes were announced on 8 February 2010. If you do not come under the transitional arrangements you will need to apply under the  independent immigration scheme or on the basis of employer nomination.


Immigration Information