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On March 7th, the United Kingdom's Home Office announced proposed increases in various immigration-related fees. Some very dramatic increases in government fees are expected, effective from April 1st of this year.
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, said that, when he takes over as Prime Minister later this year, Community Service will be one of the requirements to gain citizenship. Immigrants going through the naturalization process will be on a probationary period, dubbed "temporary citizenship" by Mr. Brown, until they complete their community service.
Ireland has overhauled its immigration policy, effective February of this year. New categories such as the Green Card Permit and Work Permit Scheme for employment now replace the discontinued Work Authorization scheme. The Irish Government has taken the opportunity at the same time to make a number of other changes to the Irish immigration laws.
Workpermit.com has extensively updated the Irish immigration section to reflect these changes. A listing of occupations eligible for the Irish Green Card and a listing of ineligible job sectors are now available.
Canada is currently leading the world in population growth at 5.4%. Approximately two-thirds of the growth comes from immigration. Many western nations have a birth rate too low to maintain their current population levels. For several years, Canada has actively encouraged immigration to offset the loss of skilled workers in its labor force.
A South African think tank, the Centre for Development and Enterprise, claims that the most effective way of alleviating the nation's critical skills shortage is to recruit from abroad. The report characterizes current immigration policies as a "confusing and half-hearted approach to the desperate need to import skilled people." It makes several recommendations for immigration reform to boost the country's economy.
Australia began a special immigration category in 1989 called the Women at Risk visa. It is aimed at assisting women and their children who are at risk in their home country. In marking International Women's Day on March 8th, the Australian government highlighted the availability of the visa and the fact that nearly 1000 were issued last year.
613 new Australian citizens were welcomed in a ceremony in Brisbane, Australia last week. The new Aussies represented immigrants from over 50 countries. Approximately 100,000 immigrants currently become Australian citizens each year. Despite record levels of immigration Australia is having difficulty finding enough skilled workers.
The United States Citizen and Immigration Services recently announced significant increases in immigration fees. In a move to stop the proposed immigration fee increases, the United States Congress has introduced the Citizenship Promotion Act. If passed into law, the new bill would give Congress the authority to allocate funds to the USCIS.
In the hope of increasing the number of U.S. citizenship applications made by immigrants the act has several other provisions aimed at making the citizenship test fairer. An $80 million budget will promote a "New Americans Initiative" to encourage people to become citizens. It will also make the FBI more accountable for their actions when carrying out background checks of potential citizens.
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