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The United States will not accept any more H-1B visa petitions for this year. 65,000 H-1B visas were available for the 2008 fiscal year. 150,000 petitions were submitted on Monday April 2nd. H-1B visas will be awarded from randomly selected petitions received on Monday and Tuesday this week.
Anyone wishing to live permanently in the United Kingdom now needs to take the new version of the Life in the UK Test. The updated test became mandatory on Monday, April 2nd for persons applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain and for naturalization.
The British Home Office has agreed to examine and reconsider many recent changes in the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme. Many of the new rules for HSMP visas have made it more difficult for some people to qualify for an HSMP visa.
The United Kingdom announced a new work program called the International Graduates Scheme (IGS). It will allow international students the opportunity to work in the UK for up to a year after completing their studies. The new program will become effective from May 1st of this year, replacing the existing Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme (SEGS).
Outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a shake-up and restructuring of Britain's Home Office last week. An entirely new "Ministry of Justice" will be created under which many former responsibilities of the Home Office will now fall. Immigration and Asylum will still be structured under the Home Office, while the Ministry of Justice will control the court system and related categories.
The British Home Office announced new border security measures last week that will come into effect over the next two years. Procedures will be put in place to track every person when they enter or leave Britain. The entire visa regime will be reviewed and overhauled.
New Zealand's Work to Residency program will be changed to allow immigrants more time to obtain job offers. Persons wishing to apply for residency will now have 9 months instead of 6 to locate a job to qualify for permanent residency. Immigrants approved for residency under the Skilled Migrant Category who are already working will no longer need to wait for three months; they will be granted residency immediately.
Australia's new Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, is reviewing a number of immigration cases leftover from former Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone's tenure. He has reversed several deportation orders already and is currently "struggling through a pile of unresolved immigration cases."
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