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The United States has moved forward with its electronic passport program. Embedded with 'smart chips' that may be read with computer scanners, they store information and biometric data about the person who holds the passport. Plans are for visas and, for some countries, national identity cards to also be embedded with the RFID chips.
One potential U.S. presidential hopeful for 2008 has said that the United States should encourage highly skilled foreigners to immigrate to the U.S. This policy should be balanced with discouraging persons attempting to enter illegally and without needed skills. The changing tone of conservative rhetoric in the immigration debate in America comes as the party is suffering in opinion polls over a legislative deadlock on immigration reform.
The European Union is experiencing a shortage of skilled labour in several areas. Germany is having trouble filling engineering and IT positions, despite an unemployment rate of over 10%. During the next decade and beyond, experts say, more overseas workers will be needed to take skilled positions.
The shrinking populations in Europe and Asia will likely lead to economic difficulties because there will not be enough workers and consumers to fuel economic growth and support retirees. The three biggest sources of immigrants currently are China, India and Mexico.
Singapore will promote immigration to increase its population. The Prime Minister just announced a Citizenship and Population Unit to be set up. Singapore's birth rate is not high enough to compensate for the mortality rate and the increasing average age of the population.
A significant increase in skilled Australian immigrants and advanced degree students represents a dramatic "brain gain" for the continent. The number of qualified migrants with PhDs coming to Australia, along with Australian residents returning from overseas with a PhD, exceeded the number of qualified people leaving Australia.
Recent initiatives by the Canadian federal government, provincial governments and nursing unions have boosted the profession. Increased wages, increased benefits and educational funding are among several changes to encourage stable career positions and permanent residency.
Arab doctors and South African nurses are registering their protests at recent changes to UK immigration policies. Due to a surge in graduates from Britain and the European Union, Great Britain's Home Office made numerous changes to work permit and visa requirements this year, several of which became effective this month.
A partial analysis of work permit and visa application processing under the new Service Standards implemented in April 2005 has been released by Working in the UK. In every category, service goals have been exceeded, sometimes substantially.
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