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On March 7th, the United Kingdom's Home Office announced increases in various immigration-related fees. Some very dramatic increases in government fees will come into effect from April 1st.
A reminder to our readers: the United States government will begin accepting H-1B visa applications from April 1st. The current cap on H-1B's is 60,000. Last year the quota was used up in record time, with the government not accepting applications received after May 25th. 20,000 H-1B's are available beyond the normal quota for positions requiring advanced degrees and specialized experience.
Expected to be released in in January, the British government's controlling authority for migrant workers will in May release the internal guidance documents used by caseworkers to make determinations for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. The office is making the guidance public in response to "a number of Freedom of Information Act requests." They have said that the guidance was delayed so that all 'fully revised,' HSMP guidances are available at the same time.
The Irish Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment is beginning to process Irish Green Cards and Employment Permits under the new policies that took effect on February 1st. Last week they were still processing applications that were received prior to the rule changes. As expected, there have been some short delays as the new rules come into effect.
The European Union celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend. EU citizens benefit from many rights to travel, live and work within any of the 27 Member States. By 2014 all current EU citizens will enjoy full travel and work rights throughout the EU. The EU is also considering a "Blue Card" for people from outside the EU to work and live within the trading bloc.
British Columbia, Canada is expected to need 1,000,000 workers over the next twelve years. The provincial government currently estimates that up to 350,000 of these vacancies will remain unfilled. In another region of Canada that has a population of approximately 200,000 and includes the cities of Kamloops and Kelowna needs an estimated 68,000 workers within the next five years. All these regions in Canada are attempting to recruit from abroad to deal with the skills shortage.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on March 23rd that the quota for H-2B visas was reached on March 16th. No applications received after that day will be processed. The current cap applies to temporary workers who may begin work on or after October 1st of this year. The USCIS will accept applications again for the first half of the fiscal year 2008 later this year.
A government report by the United States Department of Homeland Security indicates that over 623,000 illegal immigrants who have been ordered to leave the U.S. may still be in the country. Termed "fugitive aliens," these are people who have been convicted of a criminal offense serious enough to revoke their rights to residency. Many may have left the country, but no reliable method is currently in place to know for certain if they have left.
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