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Microsoft announced on 05 July that they will create a new Microsoft Canada Development Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia. About a two-hour drive north from Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Washington, it will open later this year with around 200 employees, with up to 1,000 planned later on. Officials in Vancouver greeted the announcement with excitement as the move represents a significant boost to the cities' economy.
The announcement pointedly took a few political digs at the implosion of the U.S. immigration reform debate two weeks ago. Microsoft had lobbied hard for an increase in the H-1B visa quota and now says that the new software center will allow them to hire immigrants that are being kept out of the U.S.
The United States is in the process of changing the citizenship and naturalization test. The stated goal is that the questions should more closely reflect information about the U.S. that will be "useful" for new citizens. It is divided into a written portion and an oral interview, designed to also test knowledge of the English language.
How many stripes are on the American flag, and what do they represent? What year was the U.S. Constitution written, and how many amendments have been added to it since then? If you can answer 90% of these and similar questions correctly, you can pass the U.S. naturalization interview.
A 43 year old Nigerian immigrant in Ireland has made history by becoming the first black mayor of an Irish town. In 2000 the father of four fled Nigeria due to religious persecution. Since then, he has achieved a Masters degree in Intercultural Studies from Dublin City University was elected as an independent councilor in 2004. On 28 June 2007, Rotimi Adebari was elected mayor of Portlaoise, Ireland, just seven years after immigrating to his new home country.
21 million people now live in Australia, in part due to record immigration levels. The country is experiencing its largest influx of immigrants in decades. The government target of 148,000 new immigrants for 2006-07 is expected to be met once the final figures are known. An increased birth rate has also helped to bolster the population.
The current economic boom in Australia is a bit of bad news for New Zealand since many New Zealanders are migrating to Australia in search of better jobs. New Zealand is struggling to meet its own immigration targets. This is despite reductions in immigration targets and steps to make it easier for people to come into New Zealand.
A number of recent changes to Australia immigration laws have come into effect as of 01 July 2007. New visa categories have been introduced and some visa categories changed. Also, the new Citizenship Act adds several requirements for naturalization as an Australian.
The Maritime Crew Visa (MCV) replaces the Special Purpose Visa (SPV) for sailors coming to port Down Under, and a special category visa for World Youth Day in July 2008 is now available. English language requirements have been beefed up to qualify for a 457 visa, and the age limit for Australian citizenship by descent and resumption has been removed.
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