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The British government "overwhelmingly agreed" with a recent House of Lords Committee report that outlines the economic benefits of migration into the United Kingdom. The Committee recommends that potential economic benefits for the country should influence immigration policy. Government statistics show that immigration made a positive contribution from 1997 through 2007. The UK Border Agency stated that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth should be the "key test" by which to judge their immigration policies.
Two new sections have been added to workpermit.com under the United Kingdom's Tier 2 immigration section. The sub-categories explain the UK's plans for sports people and ministers of religion who are covered under the Tier 2 points-based system.
Tier 2 visas for sports people cover those who "excel at the highest levels" of their sport and can make the same contribution to the sport in the UK. Ministers of religion preach to a congregation and perform general pastoral duties. Applicants must show sufficient funds to support themselves and that they have the required English language proficiency.
U.S. President George W. Bush signed an executive order that now requires government contractors, and other employers who do business with the federal government, to use an electronic system to check the legal status of foreign workers. Called "E-Verify," the web-based system is a government tool created to crack down on illegal workers in the United States. Over 69,000 U.S. employers are using E-Verify, most of them voluntarily. Some are required to use E-Verify by local and state governments. So far in fiscal year 2008, more than 4 million employment verification queries have been submitted.
From 30 June 2008, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will allow certain people waiting for permanent residence to work in the U.S. for up to two years instead of one. Some people temporarily in the U.S. and on the waiting list for an immigrant visa number are eligible to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs).
The USCIS may now issue two-year EADs at their discretion, but may issue EADs for only one year if the applicant's employment-based preference category is not experiencing a backlog. Two-year EADs are possible for people who file a Form I-485 (an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) and who cannot complete their permanent residency process because an immigrant visa number is not available.
On 16 June 2008, two changes were announced in the application process for Canadian Permanent Residence (PR) cards. Permanent residents in Canada applying to replace a card that is due to expire no longer have to send their current, valid card with the application. They will now hand in their old card when they pick up the new card in person.
Canadian permanent residents who travel out of Canada require their PR card for re-entry when using commercial transportation. In addition, permanent residents applying for new or replacement PR cards no longer need the signature of a guarantor, or to sign a statutory declaration if a guarantor is not available.
European Union executives were scheduled to meet earlier this week to discuss the 27-member bloc's need for better integration polices, joint visa centers abroad, and identification of labor needs. According to the European Commission, "[Immigration] has an important role to play in increasing the EU's growth potential" by reducing labor shortages.
The Commission feels that, because Member State migration policies affect all other Member States, it is best for the EU to have a common immigration policy. In January, the European Parliament estimated that 56 million immigrants will be needed in the EU by 2050.
This week, Australia is celebrating Refugee Week in honor of all the individuals who have immigrated into the country under its Humanitarian Program. Immigration Minister Chris Evans stated that many people who entered Australia under the Humanitarian Program will become Australian citizens during Refugee Week at ceremonies across the country.
The Australian Humanitarian Program was increased by 13,500 places for the 2008-09 year in a federal budget adjustment last month. 6,500 offshore refugee visa places for people currently overseas are included in that increase.
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