Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Today's announcement by UK Home Secretary Theresa May means that the Tier 1 (General) visa previously known as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme will in effect be abolished.

Latest news•23 November 2010 UK announces permanent skilled immigration cap: Tier 1 for the select few and an overall reduction in immigration
•21 November 2010 Migration Advisory Committee recommends reducing UK immigration by up to 25 percent
•18 November 2010 Scottish Government criticises UK immigration policies
The new UK 'highly skilled' tier presumably to be introduced in April 2011 will allow entry of entrepreneurs, investors and small numbers of people of exceptional talent. The number of people allowed under the Tier 1 (General) visa (or it's replacement) scheme will be reduced from 13,000 to one thousand. It will continue to be the case that an unlimited number of visas can be issued under the Tier 1 entrepreneur and investor visa scheme; These schemes are only relevant for a very small number of people.

The current Highly Skilled immigration programme that allows entry of skilled migrants as long as they gain enough points under qualifications, previous earnings, age, etc will end. It seems that the new Tier 1 immigration system will concentrate on businessmen and a very small number of people coming under the 'exceptional talent' category. Those coming under exceptional talent will be limited to people such as top scientists, artists and sportspeople.

If you wish to emigrate to the UK as a highly skilled immigrant you will probably need to apply in the next few months. If you apply from April 2011 it is highly unlikely that you will qualify under the Tier 1 visa scheme. You will have to be one of the small number of people who qualify under the Tier 1 entrepreneur or Tier 1 investor scheme or be one of the very small number of people who qualify under the new 'exceptional talent' Tier 1 visa scheme.

UK Immigration Will Be Reduced By 25 %

On 18 November 2010, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), a body set up to advise the UK Government on UK immigration including the UK's points based system, recommended that the UK Government reduce immigration by up to one-quarter.

The MAC said that Tier 1 visa and Tier 2 visa immigration numbers should fall to between 37,400 and 43,700. In 2009, some 50,000 work related Tier 1 and Tier 2 immigrant visas were granted.

Both Tier 1 visas and Tier 2 visas would see an annual drop in visas of between approximately 3,150 and 6,300 if the Government follows the MAC recommendations. Moreover, it was recommended that Tier 2 visas for skilled workers with job offers from UK employers should receive priority over Tier 1 visas.

Skilled immigration would account for 20 percent of the recommended reduction with the rest of the cuts taking place in family and student based immigration.

Latest news•23 November 2010 UK announces permanent skilled immigration cap: Tier 1 for the select few and an overall reduction in immigration
•23 November 2010 UK Tier 1 Highly skilled Visas to be abolished – Apart from the lucky few
•18 November 2010 Scottish Government criticises UK immigration policies
The MAC also advised that the Government should raise the threshold for earnings and qualifications. They even suggested that migrants may need to be stripped of their right to settle in the UK in future if immigration numbers are to be reduced.

However, according to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, the proposed cap may affect fewer than 1 in 100 migrants entering the UK.

Businesses were not happy with the recommendations, stating that reducing immigration would hurt Britain's economy. The recommended cut in immigration would result in fewer visas than the current interim immigration limit already in place. A permanent immigration cap is due to start in April of 2011.

The British Chambers of Commerce told Reuters that any cap would need to be flexible to allow global talent to flow into Britain. Universities UK, Britain's education body, said the plans would make it more difficult to bring in top students from outside the European Union.

The Government has yet to make a decision on the final numbers for the cap. They have said that steps would be taken to make sure that the cap would not damage the British economy. A statement released by the UK Border Agency said that Tier 2 visa intra-company transfers would remain exempt from any immigration cap.

"Britain will remain open for business, and we have already announced that managers and specialists will continue to be able to come to the UK through an exempted intra-company transfer route," Immigration Minister Damian Green said.

Green is seemingly trying to placate UK businesses by allowing in more skilled workers than expected. However, the situation remains uncertain. It seems likely that entry of skilled workers on tier 1 and tier 2 visas will become more difficult in future. Now may be a good time to consider your immigration options for entry to the UK.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

UK Immigration Visa Fees to Increase on 22nd November 2010

This is a reminder that UK visa fees are due to go up on 22 November 2010. Even if the visa fee increase is delayed again it seems likely that visa fees will go up very soon. Certain UK visa fees for dependents applying to remain in the UK will double or triple in price.

There will also be large increases in UK immigration fees if you are applying for Tier 1 visas and Tier 2 visas from outside the UK. This may put off some people interested in skilled immigration to the UK.

UK Tier visa fee increases are as follows:

•Tier 1 visa at Consular Post from outside the UK £690 to £750
•Tier 1 visa from within the UK £840 to £850
•Tier 2 visa fee from outside the UK £270 to £350
•Tier 2 in-country from £475 to £500
•Tier 4 visa from £199 to £220
•Tier 4 visa from within the UK kept at £357
•Tier 5 visa from £128 to £130

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

UK Immigration Cap will be Relaxed in Next Year 2011

According to the Daily Telegraph, UK Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to significantly increase the number of non-EU immigrant skilled workers allowed to enter the United Kingdom each month.

Businesses have been among the groups criticizing the UK Government for imposing the cap, which they say prevents badly needed highly skilled immigrants from working in the UK.

Latest news•10 November 2010 UK Tier 1 Visas limit reached already - Apply before December to avoid further delays
•08 November 2010 Home Secretary vows to reduce UK immigration numbers
•08 November 2010 UK will not implement 'earned citizenship'
The current limit of 2,600 skilled worker immigrants from outside the EU is likely to be increased which will benefit both Tier 1 and Tier 2 visa applicants. By the tenth day of November all visas were used up for the UK's highly popular Tier 1 (General) Visa, a points based immigration visa aimed at highly skilled workers. The Tier 1 visa is so popular because you do not need a job offer to come under the Tier 1 visa and you can work for any employer.

The UK Government is expected to increase the immigration cap next year to more than 4,000 per month; UK businesses have said that they need more immigrants with the right skills to fill labour shortages.

The current cap is a temporary arrangement until a permanent cap is introduced next year. Details on the permanent cap are expected to be announced later this month.

This week, the Migration Advisory Committee is expected to publish its recommendations for the level at which the permanent cap should be set. A number of scenarios will be put forward, ranging from a liberal immigration cap to a more hardline immigration cap.

It is expected that the Government will reject the more hard-line immigration cap proposals from the Migration Advisory Committee. However this is not certain. If you meet the current immigration requirements for say a Tier 1 visa or Tier 2 visa it may be best to apply sooner rather than later.

If you apply in the future for immigration to the UK it may also be more difficult to gain permanent residence. If you apply now you will hopefully come under the current immigration rules for gaining permanent residence (indefinite leave to remain) instead of stricter rules in future.

New Priority Processing for Australian Skilled Migration.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, has set new priority processing arrangements for certain skilled migration visas. These arrangements take account of the changes to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) that came into effect on 1 July 2010, as well as the revocation of the Migration Occupation in Demand List (MODL) and the Critical Skills List (CSL). These priority processing arrangements apply to applications already lodged with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, as well as to future applications.

The new priority processing arrangements apply to the following visas:

• Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS)
• Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS)
• General Skilled Migration (GSM) visas listed on page two of this fact sheet.

From 14 July 2010, processing priorities (with highest priority listed first) are:

1. Applications from people who are employer sponsored under the ENS and the RSMS.
2. Applications from people who are nominated by a state or territory government agency with a nominated occupation that is specified on that state or territory’s state migration plan.
3. Applications from people who have nominated an occupation on the new Skilled Occupation List (SOL) – Schedule 3 in effect from 1 July 2010.
4. All other applications are to be processed in the order in which they are received.

Monday, November 15, 2010

State Migration Plans are being introduced for each state and territory over the coming months in 2010.

State Migration Plans are being introduced for each state and territory over the coming months in 2010.

The plans will provide state and territory governments with flexibility within the Migration Program to address specific skill shortages and local labour market needs as each agreement will be tailored to the individual requirements of each jurisdiction.

State Migration Plans that have commenced

The following table lists the implementation date of the State Migration Plans for each state and territory.

Australian Capital Territory 5 November 2010
New South Wales TBA
Northern Territory TBA
Queensland TBA
South Australia TBA
Tasmania TBA
Victoria 3 November 2010
Western Australia TBA

Australian Skilled Immigration is Getting More Tougher in July 2011.

Introduction of New Points Test

It is proposed that a new points test for skilled migration visa applications will be introduced on 1 July 2011. It complements the series of reforms the Australian Government announced in February 2010.

The new points test is focused on selecting highly skilled people to deliver a more responsive and targeted migration program. It was developed following a review of the current points test, which considered submissions from a variety of experts and the wider Australian community.
The new points test balances the different factors that are considered when determining whether someone will be granted a skilled migration visa. It will deliver the best and brightest skilled migrants by emphasising high level qualifications, better English language levels and extensive skilled work experience.

The new points test will continue to award points for study in Australia, including regional study, community languages, partner skills and completing an approved Professional Year. Points will no longer be awarded on the basis of an applicant’s occupation, but all applicants must still nominate an occupation on the applicable Skilled Occupation List.

It is important to note that the new points test will only apply to one component of the skilled migration program. This change won’t affect every type of skilled migration visa and only applies to the following visas.

• Subclass 885 Skilled Independent
• Subclass 886 Skilled Sponsored

• Subclass 175 Skilled Independent
• Subclass 487 Skilled Regional Sponsored

• Subclass 176 Skilled Sponsored
• Subclass 475 Skilled – Regional Sponsored

It is proposed that the new points test will apply to applications made from 1 July 2011, unless the applicant is eligible for transitional arrangements.

Transitional arrangements apply to people who, on 8 February 2010 held or had applied for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485). Until the end of 2012, this group is able to apply for a permanent skilled visa under the points test in effect as at 8 February 2010.

Student visa holders who lodge an application for points tested skilled migration from 1 July 2011 will be assessed under the new points test. There are still transitional arrangements which may apply to those students affected by the reforms announced on 8 February 2010. People who held an eligible Student visa on 8 February 2010 still have until the end of 2012 to apply for a Temporary Skilled Graduate visa (subclass 485) under the arrangements in place for that visa as at 8 February 2010.

The pass mark is the number of points required to be eligible for skilled migration. The pass mark is a tool that allows for management of the skilled migration program and is always subject to change. It is expected that the pass mark will be set at 65 points.

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