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A recent ruling by a High Court in the United Kingdom resulted in some individuals being able to come under previous visa extension rules for the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP). An advocacy group, the HSMP Forum Ltd., who filed the successful judicial review application, is now pushing to have the old permanent residence rules put back in place for those benefiting from the judgment.
A letter was sent to the United Kingdom's Border & Immigration Agency (BIA) warning that another judicial review application will be made if action was not taken within 14 days toward bringing back the old four-year settlement rule for those who entered the UK under HSMP prior to 06 April 2006. The letter referred to guidances used in 2002 and 2003 to evaluate HSMP applications. The BIA has not yet responded.
Colleges and universities in the United Kingdom who wish to enroll foreign students will need to be licensed by the UK's Border & Immigration Agency (BIA) to sponsor students for a Tier 4 visa. Tier 4, the replacement for the student visa, is currently expected to come into effect in the beginning of 2009.
There are also proposals that may result in students having to meet new and tougher requirements. Students must prove they have funds to support themselves, and will be required to provide fingerprints and carry ID cards. Students enrolled in courses for longer than 12 months will be required to show sufficient funds to pay the student fees plus an additional 9,600 GBP. Additional funds will be needed for any family members they bring with them.
The original Common Travel Area (CTA) was implemented in 1925 and encompasses the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. This week, the UK and Ireland released a proposal to 'strengthen the Common Travel Area.' The proposals introduce full immigration controls for non-CTA citizens, as well as a tightening of identification checks on CTA citizens.
Using the "e-Borders" initiative, full immigration controls of non-CTA citizens by sea & air routes will be put in place by 2014, with specific monitoring goals to be in place by 2009 (air travel) and 2010 (sea travel). Non-CTA nationals moving across land borders could become targets for random ID checks, according to the UK Immigration Minister.
Australia has announced an increase in the minimum salary levels for occupations eligible under the nation's Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS). This follows the recent announcement by Immigration Minister Chris Evans of similar minimum salary increases for the temporary 457 visa program.
The increases are meant to closely align the ENS with the 457 visa scheme and to "maintain the integrity" of Australia's skilled migration program. ENS is a "common pathway to permanent residence" for skilled migrants working in Australia on a temporary basis. The increases only applies to positions nominated after August 1st, 2008; existing ENS visa holders & positions nominated prior to August 1st are not affected.
Australia and Chile have announced that the number of visas for the Work and Holiday visa program will be tripled. Australia has Work and Holiday visa agreements with Chile, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States. The Work and Holiday visa program is similar to the Working Holiday visa, but there are important differences.
A Work and Holiday visa allows a person between the ages of 18 and 30 to work while on holiday in Australia. Only citizens of countries with which Australia has Work and Holiday agreements are eligible. A person may work for up to 6 months with any one employer, and study for up to 4 months during a 12 month stay Down Under.
Enough applications have now been received to meet the visa cap for an American H-2B visa for the first six months of the 2009 fiscal year. As of 29 July 2008, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is rejecting H-2B applications from employers wishing to hire foreign workers with employment start dates prior to 01 April 2009.
A computer-generated, random selection process will determine which applications are to be accepted. Filing fees will be returned for applications not selected. 33,000 H-2B visas are allocated for each half of a fiscal year. People already working in the U.S. under an H-2B -- those filing for extension, changing the terms of their employment, or changing their employer, for examples -- are not affected.
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