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The United Kingdom's new "Tiered" immigration system covers all employment, study, and training-based immigration into the country. Tier 1 for General Highly Skilled Migrants specifically replaces the old Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). Tier 1 has already come into effect for people already in Britain and people applying from India.
During the second half of this year the UK will finish implementing Tier 1. Once fully implemented, eight previously existing immigration categories will be removed. Transitional arrangements are being put into place for immigrants already in the UK under these schemes.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that "more than enough" H-1B visa petitions have been received to fully satisfy all available quotas for the 2009 fiscal year. This includes 20,000 H-1B visas for foreign graduates of U.S. universities at a Master's degree or higher level that are exempted from the standard cap of 65,000.
The USCIS will perform a "computer-generated random selection process" on all petitions received during the filing period (01 April through 07 April this year) to determine who will get H-1B visas. Due to the large number, the USCIS has stated that it is "unknown" when this will take place. Lucky winners of the lottery may begin working as early as October 1st, 2008, the first day of the 2009 fiscal year.
The Australian government is adopting a new visa policy for people they determine to be "Locally Engaged Employees" (LLEs) who have been helping the Australian military in Iraq. The new policy to include Iraqi support personnel such as translators and interpreters and their families. Because of their association with Australian troops they are considered to be at risk in Iraq.
The new humanitarian policy only applies to those specifically designated by the Australian government as being eligible. Immigration authorities expect to grant up to 600 humanitarian visas under the new policy. No specific time-period has yet been announced regarding when LLEs can apply for permanent residence.
A new free trade agreement was signed between New Zealand and China on 07 April 2008. Visiting and immigrating to New Zealand will become much easier now for Chinese citizens. The agreement liberalizes and facilitates trade in goods and services. It is also meant to improve the business environment and promote cooperation across a broad range of economic interests.
Temporary skilled migration, intra-company transfers, and Working Holiday visas are among the immigration and travel policies that will be affected. Skilled migrants from all countries can get permission to live and work in New Zealand without a previous job offer.
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