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Portugal has the European Union Presidency for six months from 01 July, 2007. The term is already off to a challenging start with heated debate over EU migration and expansion issues, and the highly controversial EU Constitution. Portugal announced it intends to continue pursuing solutions for the illegal immigration problems from African nations. A summit will be held in December to continue with economic development and diplomatic progress to ease relations between Europe and Africa.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its International Migration Outlook report for 2007 with analysis of recent migration and immigration patterns. Generally, immigration is increasing for family reunification and also to meet labor market demands, but is decreasing for humanitarian reasons for the 20 member nations.
Foreign students entering the OECD have increased by 9% every year since 2000, showing a clear trend in the importance of attracting and retaining immigrant university students. The report notes that 'brain drain' from some poorer countries remains a concern as OECD countries continue to attract large numbers of educated professionals.
The United States Senate voted against keeping President Bush's immigration reform bill alive. The humiliating defeat for Bush came as he spent several days trying to drum up support in his own party and failed. Largely, the bill was opposed by strongly conservative groups that refuse to accept a compromise by allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. Consensus among the majority ofanalysts is that no serious effort at immigration reform will be attempted again until after the 2008 Presidential elections.
This July 4th is the 231st birthday of the United States. As part of the celebration, naturalization ceremonies are being held around the world for 4,000 immigrants. Prominent locations such Philadelphia and Disney World are being used to stage some ceremonies. Immigrants serving in the U.S. military are eligible for fast-tracked citizenship, and 425 service members will receive their citizenships today at military bases around the world.
A Canadian immigration seminar in Vladivostok, Russia last week is being called a success. The Minister Counselor for Immigration to Canada, Paul Whelan, hosted the seminar in an effort to answer questions and bring critical information to potential immigrants. Some Russian professionals expressed some reservations about how easy it might be to immigrate to Canada, but generally there was a very positive response.
The settlement and integration program for Manitoba, Canada received a number of improvements this week, according to an announcement by Manitoba Labour and Immigration Minister, Nancy Allan. Funding for the program is nearly doubled from last year, with a strong focus on increasing language and cultural skills among new immigrants. Enhancements to processing, orientation and integration are planned, as well as more assistance for employment and recognition of professional qualifications.
The Immigration Minister for Canada and the Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration announced the opening of a new immigrant Welcome Centre in Ontario on June 26th. It is the first of five planned under the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement. The centers will provide settlement and employment support services, language training, and accreditation and qualifications assistance for new immigrants.
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