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A private United Kingdom business association polled 500 UK employers about their experiences with immigrant workers. A majority of the businesses said they need immigrant workers for specific skill requirements, with approximately 1 in 6 citing cost savings. Immigrant workers outperform indigenous workers across a wide range of measurements, including productivity, education and skills, work ethic, reliability and sick time taken.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) presented plans last week for a new schedule of fees for visas, citizenship documents and related services. The proposed service charge increases average 66%. The USCIS faces a $1 billion shortfall for the next two fiscal years and is required by law to raise its own revenue to balance its books.
The United States requires that data on travelers entering the country be provided to the government. Last summer, negotiations between the European Union and the U.S. broke down. An interim agreement was put in place for October 2006 so that a revised agreement could be concluded by July 2007. Negotiations will begin again in March to reach agreement by July.
Most European Union citizens visiting Canada do not require visas. However, eight EU States still require visas, even though thay have dropped visa requirements for Canadian visitors. Negotiations are now underway with the EU on the exact conditions and timetable to change this policy.
Discrimination against gay couples is being removed from Canadian immigration law. Persons applying for immigration may now sponsor a same-sex spouse. From 2004, it was requirrd that a same-sex marriage occur under Canadian jurisdiction to be recognized. At least one partner had to be a Canadian or a permanent resident.
The government has agreed that the 2004 policy was discriminatory and the policy is now being annulled. Gay and lesbian couples legally married in other jurisdictions will now be treated identically to heterosexual couples.
Hundreds of thousands of Moldovan nationals are attempting to immigrate into Romania to become part of the EU. The government of Romania predicted this week that up to one third of the population is expected to apply for Romanian citizenship by the end of this year.
The Australian government has announced changes in their skilled worker, sub-class 457 visa. Employers found to be exploiting foreigners working in Australia will face tough new financial penalties and exclusion from the program. The government promised to fast-track 457 visa applications for employers who use the system without incident.
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