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The British Commission on Integration and Social Cohesion suggested in a preliminary report this month that spouses of immigrants be required to pass an English language test for entry into the UK. However, cuts in translation services are also likely to be recommended when the final report is presented in June.
Universal free tuition for English language training programs was cut in January, and an effort is being made to reinstate the program. If the decision is not reversed, from August only certain people will qualify for free tuition.
The Australian Citizenship Bill of 2006 is being characterized as the most significant change to Australian immigration law in sixty years. Amendments were added in the Senate version that passed this week, and it will now go back to the House of Representatives for further consideration. The time an immigrant must be legally in Australia is increased from two to four years to qualify for eligibility for citizenship is among several proposed changes.
The benefits of multiculturalism are being questioned in Australia today. Previously, Australia tried to restrict immigration, often based upon race. During the 1940's and 1950's the "White Australia" policies were abolished, giving way to the more liberal policies currently in place.
Several citizenship tests have been introduced and then abolished over the years, but new legislation expected this year will make a test of "Australian values" and English language mandatory. Australia requires immigration to support its economy and to bolster its declining birth rate.
Microsoft's CEO, Bill Gates, regularly lobbies the United States Congress to raise the limits on H-1B visas for skilled immigrants. He also advocates that it be easier for foreign students to remain in the U.S. after graduation. Technology sectors, in particular the IT industry, assert that they need foreign-born workers to remain competitive and innovative.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a special branch of the Department of Homeland Security, has been engaged in a crackdown on U.S. employers who hire illegal immigrants. Last week, a record arrest of nearly 200 people across 17 states surpassed all arrests for 1999-2003, or just about equal to the total arrests for 2005. Businesses that employ illegal immigrants have had an unfair advantage over businesses that operate legally.
All persons entering the United States by air are required to have a passport, effective 23 January 2007. The same rules will apply to travel by boat and by land when crossing the border, beginning in January 2008.
The rules for travel by boat and land will now be relaxed for children. With permission, adult supervision and their birth certificates, children 15 and under may cross the border without a passport. Canadian and U.S. minors aged 16 to 18 will not require passports for certain types of travel. All other conditions will apply, and air travel will still require passports by all persons.
The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics reports a continuing fall in immigration into the country for the past decade. Numbers have steadily fallen since 1990, with just under 20,000 people immigrating in 2006, a 9% drop from 2005. Former Soviet-bloc countries continue to provide the bulk of immigrants, but numbers from all countries are declining. The one exception is the United States, which saw a 5% increase as a source of immigrants to Israel from 2005 to 2006.
35 million Chinese are now living overseas in at least 151 countries, making them the largest immigrant group in the world. 1.3 billion people actually live in China, a country with slightly more land area than the United States. In one year, 2003, more than half a million students lived outside of China About two-thirds remain in the countries they study in, the highest ratio of any nationality.
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