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A panel of experts comprised of Australian state government officials, industry groups, and union representatives will advise the Australian government on how to improve its 457 visa scheme. Australia's 457 visa allows Australian employers to temporarily hire workers from abroad.
The panel will advise the government on an ongoing "integrity" review of the 457 visa program and provide feedback on reform proposals. It will also examine how the 457 visa program "can best integrate with the employer and state-sponsored permanent skilled migration program."
Australia's Immigration Minister, Chris Evans, is urging states and territories to increase their use of state-sponsored skilled migration to meet labor market demands. In an effort to help employers in Australia deal with skills shortages, Australia recently added 31,000 skilled migrant places to the 2008-2009 Migration Program.
According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, state and territory sponsored skilled migration only made up 10% of overall skilled migration into Australia in recent years. Employer sponsored immigration comprised about 20% and independent skilled migration accounted for half of Australian skilled migration during the same period.
From 28 July 2008, several New Zealand immigration fees related to visas and residence permits will change. Changes include a decrease in the general group visitor fee, from NZD $80 to NZD $60. Temporary visas and residence permits granted to illegal residents by the Immigration Minister will now be NZD $260 and NZD $700, respectively. All other fees will remain the same, including residence permits and visas related to New Zealand's Skilled Migrant Category.
Points-based immigration systems, which assess people based upon their skills and other factors, are becoming increasingly popular. The United Kingdom is currently implementing a points-based system, inspired by Australia's success in attracting skilled migrants.
Denmark uses a points system for its Danish Green Card Scheme, which allows skilled individuals to obtain a residence permit based upon their qualifications solely for the purpose of finding work in Denmark. A residence permit is granted for a successful evaluation (100 points or more), based upon age, education level, language skills, work experience and "adaptability" (EU/EEA study or work experience).
Denmark is looking to attract foreign students to its universities, according to a recent news release by Danish immigration authorities. Foreign students need a residence permit before arriving in the country. To acquire a residence permit, prospective students must show that they have enrolled in a state-approved course of higher education. They must also show that they can support themselves while in Denmark or that they have paid tuition.
Students must show that they can speak and understand the language in which the course of study will be taught. In addition, speaking and understanding Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, English, or German at a "reasonable level" is necessary. Students can remain in Denmark for up to 6 months after graduation to find work.
In the wake of new Canadian immigration legislation, which grants federal authorities the ability to fast-track badly needed skilled migrants, consultations with key stakeholders will soon begin to determine critical occupation shortages. The consultations are intended to provide guidance for immigration officers to evaluate which applications should receive priority processing, especially in the federal skilled worker category.
The new system is designed to alleviate the increasing problem of application backlogs that have plagued Canada's immigration authorities. The new legislation will affect neither skilled workers in Quebec, nor any agreements with provinces to process Provincial Nominee Program applicants.
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