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Lawyers for the UK Secretary of State informed the court this week that they are prepared to remove a clause from the HSMP guidance that was added recently. Under the guidance, overseas doctors within the UK were not to be interviewed for positions if their HSMP visa was set to expire past August 1st of this year. The British Association for Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) formed Bapio Action, Ltd. to raise a legal challenge to the provision.
A new study released in Scotland recommends that a target of at least 13,000 migrant and immigrant workers be added to the Scottish population each year to bolster the population and economic productivity. The report is the most recent effort to produce a "Strategy for a Scotland with an Ageing Population." Scotlands labor force is aging and is not being replenished due to the anemic birth rate.
The European Union is expressing increased interest in a "Blue Card" work permit and visa scheme. The idea is that immigrants who qualify may work and travel throughout the EU in a similar fashion to the free work and travel rights enjoyed by EU citizens. Franco Frattini, the European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security last week gave a presentation, indicating that he intends to submit a formal proposal for the scheme in September.
American President George Bush has set August as an unofficial deadline for an immigration reform bill to get through Congress. During a stop in Mexico, Bush said that good migration laws would help both economies, as well as the security of both nations. He cited a recent crackdown on employers that hire illegal aliens to demonstrate that immigration reform is in-progress.
A new immigration reform bill is beginning its life cycle in Congress, and it appears to have a promising future, possibly becoming the basis for a new law this year. The Whitehouse is looking for a political success, and they see immigration as a topic they can safely focus on. The Democratically-controlled Congress is also hoping to take credit for making progress on a hot political topic that was deadlocked last year.
All air travelers now require passports to enter the United States and, in January 2008, all travelers by sea and land will, too. This has caused a dramatic increase in demand by Americans for passports. The U.S. State Department is experiencing unusual delays in issuing passports, currently taking about ten weeks, up from the normal six. Citizens of Mexico and Canada are also affected by increased demand, although no significant delays have been reported in those countries yet.
In a submission to the Australian Parliament last week, the Information Technology Contract and Recruitment Association called on the Australian government to increase sanctions and to more aggressively investigate companies that are abusing the 457 visa scheme. The program has come under fire due to several high-profile cases recently in which immigrants were mistreated. The Australian Parliament is currently conducting an official inquiry.
The New Zealand Labour Department has launched a new advertising campaign through Tourism New Zealand's tourism and marketing program. The campaign is designed to attract highly skilled workers, with this most recent effort focusing on workers in the local region. In particular, the government is hoping to lure back more expat Kiwis that have gained skills working abroad.
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