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According to a recent article in the Economist, immigration limits threaten the prosperity of countries across the globe. Most immigration is driven by economic factors. History shows that countries that encourage economic immigration benefit from the inflow of skills and talent from around the world.
At the same time, foreign workers remit tens of billions of dollars to their home countries each year. While immigration can create brain drain in developing nations, this is balanced by the fact that immigrants also study abroad and often bring their skills back home. Money sent home funds education for family members and also helps the local economy.
Introduced in 2002, the United Kingdom's hugely successful Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (known as the HSMP visa) is coming to an end. The points-based system for non-European Union, highly skilled immigrants will now be replaced by Tier 1 of the new points-based Tier system for all immigration into Britain.
As with the HSMP, a prior job offer and a work permit are not needed for employment. However, it may be more difficult to obtain a Tier 1 visa. It will probably be more difficult to meet the English language requirements under the new scheme. The Government may decide to make it more difficult in practice to qualify under Tier 1. Also, the MBA Provision will be removed when the new system comes into effect in March 2008.
The Home Office is considering a plan to relax the salary rules for foreign workers coming from outside of the European Union. From July 2008, employers in the United Kingdom may no longer be required to advertise available positions to EU and EEA workers for jobs of over £40,000 per year.
Currently, in many cases a Resident Labour Market Test is required to show there are no suitable applicants for the position in the EU and EEA. The position must be advertised for a set period of weeks before it may be offered to nationals who need to come under the work permit scheme. The Resident Labour Market Test is not a requirement if the occupation is on the shortage occupation list, or if the job is at "board" level or equivalent or in a limited number of other cases.
Immigration into Ireland is driving a substantial population increase, according to recent figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Last year, immigration was responsible for nearly two-thirds of the population increase for the nation of 4.3 million people.
The natural increase in the population (births minus deaths) was 38,800 for the year ending in April 2007. Combining the natural population increase with total net migration results in a total population increase of 106,100, up 2.5% from 2006.
Australian Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, announced that there will be a review of Australia's new citizenship test after results were analyzed for the period between October 1st 2007 - when the test was introduced - and December 31st 2007. 8,400 people took the test, but about 2,200 repeated it after failing the first time.
The citizenship test is required for immigrants who have lived in the country for at least four years and want to apply for naturalization. While a "substantial proportion of them are passing," Mr. Evans said, he feels that a review is necessary in case "there is room for improvement."
Thousands of New Zealand itizens migrated to Australia during the year ending in November 2007. This figure was the highest net outflow to Australia since 1988. Net, long-term immigration into New Zealand is down by 14,800 compared to the year ending November 2006.
The majority of New Zealand citizens left for Australia, the highest number since 1988. The next most popular country was the United Kingdom, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Canada. Many people are also immigrating into New Zealand. Well represented are nationals from the UK, India, the Philippines, Fiji, South Africa, and China.
From January 2008, officials in Taiwan will allow some foreign graduate students to receive work permits as soon as they begin their studies. Previously, students could not start work until at least their second year. Local universities complained that the current rules were barring students from employment on important research projects.
Under the new rules, graduate students can begin work immediately if the university attests that the work is related to their studies. Non-graduate foreign students must still show that they are suffering financial hardship, that their work is related to their area of academic expertise, or that their work is a part of their studies. Undergraduate students are not affected by the change.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that they have received enough H-2B visa applications to begin the selection process to meet the quota for the second half of the fiscal year 2008. Applications received on time for new H-2B workers will be selected using a random, computer generated process.
33,000 new workers are allowed to receive H-2B visas every six month under current limits. No applications received after January 2nd will be accepted; they will be returned and application fees will be refunded. Fiscal year 2009 applications will be accepted beginning on April 1st.
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