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The United Kingdom's Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, has announced a firm timetable for the introduction of the new five-tiered immigration system for Britain. The UK will use a points-based system for all immigration into the country by 2010. The current 80 plus routes for immigration into the UK will be reduced.
Monday next week is the last day for applications under the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme (SEGS). The good news is that from May 1st a new program, the International Graduates Scheme (IGS), will come into effect and replace SEGS. Under IGS, all students can apply to remain in the UK and work for up to 12 months after completing their studies.
The Policy Network, an international think tank, has published a pamphlet with numerous articles by researchers, economists, and members of European government. Among them is an article by the United Kingdom's Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, in which he analyzes various aspects of immigration in Britain. He discusses some of the perceived negative impacts of the large migrant influx since 2004, but then goes on to focus on the positive economic benefits.
The UK's Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme (SAWS) was scheduled to be shut down at the end of last year. SAWS is currently reserved for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals only. The Home Office expects SAWS quotas to be filled completely by Romanian and Bulgarian workers, but the National Farmers Union (NFU) strongly disagrees. The NFU is lobbying the government to allow nationals of other countries to work under the program and is threatening a lawsuit.
The European Commission sponsored a conference on its immigration policies in Hakone, Japan recently. Japan needs to reform its immigration laws. It is hoped that the conference will help Japan learn from the successes and failures of EU immigration policy.
Germany has been trying to move forward with the European Union Constitution during its six-month presidency for the first half of this year. The European Constitution was stalled in 2005 when France and the Netherlands failed to ratify it by national referendum.
EU Member States have been negotiating changes and debating if a Constitution is actually necessary. Last week Tony Blair the UK Prime Minister announced that there would not be a referendum in the UK on the issue. He does not see a need for an EU Constitution along the lines suggested by the Germans. To allow for EU Expansion, by 2009 changes need to take place to the current EU treaties or an EU Constitution needs to be introduced.
A 70 year-old, former lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union's infamous KGB filed for refugee status. He had previously been in Canada for four years on a visitor's visa. The Canadian government never considered his refugee application. Immigration authorities issued a deportation order anyway, finding that he constitutes a national security risk. Mr. Abramishvili faces possible prosecution if deported back to Russia since it is still illegal under Russian law to reveal a previous association with the KGB.
Australia and the United States last week announced an agreement to exchange up to 200 refugees each year. It is claimed that this might discourage people from seeking asylum if they could not be certain which country they may end up in. The controversial plan was immediately denounced as illegal by Human Rights Watch. The Refugee Policy Director pointed out that such a plan violates basic moral standards and several international treaties. Other critics point out that the plan might actually encourage more asylum applicants to apply to Australia in the hope that they might gain entry to the U.S.
The New Zealand Department of Labour released a report which shows that skilled immigrants are very happy with their new lives in New Zealand. The natural beauty, climate and relaxed lifestyle ranked at the top of their reasons for being satisfied with New Zealand. Also revealed are some concerns about taxes and health care costs. The government has taken note of these concerns and intends to make changes, so that New Zealand is an even more attractive Country to immigrate to.
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