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The UK has released its Accession Monitoring Report for the eight East European countries that joined the European Union in 2004. The report provides statistics for the Worker Registration Scheme from May of 2004 through December 2006. First time applicants for the scheme increased from 212,000 in 2005 to 232,000 in 2006. Fewer than 2,000 applications for Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance were processed in the fourth quarter of 2006.
The North Wales police are targeting Polish migrants in a recruitment drive, aimed at improving communications with the large number of Polish immigrants living locally. Polish candidates will have to complete a national assessment just like any other person and will not receive preferential treatment.
Remittances from Polish nationals, living mainly in the UK and the European Union, now account for nearly 2.5% of the gross domestic product of Poland. The Polish economy grew by an impressive 5% last year, amongst other things helped by a 12% increase in construction. The survival of the current government is attributed to economic gains, which are substantially bolstered by the remittances.
Romania's national association of construction companies says it needs 300,000 construction workers to meet current demands. Large numbers of Romanian workers have left the country, causing labor shortages in several industries. In response, the government announced that it will "create a system" to encourage the return of Romanian workers to the country.
Debate on the H-1B visa in the United States is heating up. Some people claim that the program leads to the suppression of wages, American citizens losing their jobs, and exploitation of foreign workers. Others argue that one of America's economic strengths is the ability to attract highly skilled workers. They also argue that the country is not creating enough skilled workers to meet demand. Tech industries are lobbying to increase the current quota.
20,000 H-1B visas are available beyond the current quota for high-level academics and engineers with advanced degrees. Less than half this additional quota was used last year, while the H-1B's available under the usual quota was gone in 60 days.
About 50,000 Irish are estimated to be illegally in the United States. They are seeking assistance to stay in the U.S. legally. They hope that their ancestry will give them preferential treatment. They have support from some U.S. politicians. Generally, there is a chill in the U.S. toward illegal immigration, with many people opposed to the so-called "path toward citizenship" for illegal immigrants.
The Philippine Commission of Population is researching the relationships between migration, population control and economic development. A final report to the government is due in the second quarter. There is a population explosion in the Philippines. Preliminary analysis seems to indicate that the increasing number of Filipino female workers abroad may have helped to lower levels of population growth.
The Canadian government has announced improvements to the Temporary Foreign Workers program. The program is intended to allow businesses to hire temporary foreign workers where they cannot find a Canadian resident or citizen to fill the position.
Employees will now be allowed to stay for two years as temporary workers before being required to reapply. Employers will also benefit from a streamlined application process that will reduce the time it takes for approval.
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