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Comprehensive immigration reform in the US came a step closer on 28th June when the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform act. The Act still needs to be passed by the House of Representatives to become law. The Act would create a 'pathway to citizenship' allowing many of the US’s 11.5m illegal immigrants to become citizens. It would also greatly increase the number of H-1B temporary work visas available and allow many foreign graduates of US universities with advanced degrees to apply for US green cards.
The House of Representatives will vote on the bill in July. It will need at least 60% support to become law. Even if all 201 Democrats support the bill to make up the 261 voltes needed at least 60 Republicans must also vote for the bill. Many Republicans oppose reform so this is not assured.
The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has said that illegal immigrants who have been in the UK for twelve years should be given citizenship. Speaking on a London radio station, Mr Johnson said that, in reality, people are never deported after being in the UK for twelve years anyway, so it would be better to allow them to work legally and pay taxes. Last week, a Conservative MP, Nadhim Zahawi, who came to the UK as an immigrant, made the same suggestion.
The UK government plans to make people coming to the UK from outside Europe on work, student or family visas lasting over six months to pay a new annual ‘healthcare levy’ of about £200. People who come to the UK on visitor visas will not have to pay a levy but will be required to pay for their treatment if they are treated by the UK’s National Health Service.
Although foreign nationals are already meant to pay for NHS treatment, this requirement is not always enforced. Mr Hunt said that he hopes the changes will help prevent ‘benefits tourism’. Dr Claire Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said she feared the changes might contribute to the spread of tuberculosis and HIV.
Do you need help with your visa application for Australia or Canada? We can help you. In Australia we can help with 189, 190 and 489 visa applications. In Canada we can help the Federal Skilled Worker visa and Federal Skilled Trades Program applications. In the US we can help with H-1B and L-1 visas.
We can also help with UK Tier 1 and Tier 2 applications and with many other visas for countries around the world. We are registered with the immigration authorities worldwide and have 25 years of experience. Give us a call today.
One of the UK's most senior civil servants has told a committee of MPs that immigration staff will be made redundant in 2015 because of budget cuts. Mark Sedwill, the permanent secretary to the Home Office, said that the Home Office budget would be cut by 7.7%. He said that he did not know how many staff would lose their jobs.
The UK immigration authorities have come under much criticism recently for repeated failures to issue visas on time. They have also failed to deal with a backlog of over 300,000 asylum cases. It is likely that the cuts will have an impact on performance.
The US Supreme Court recently ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) 1996 is unconstitutional. This will mean that same-sex spouses can now be sponsored for US family-based immigrant visas just like heterosexual spouses. DOMA was passed in 1996 with bipartisan support. Section 3 denied legal rights to same-sex spouses. On 26th June, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional. The Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, has directed US immigration to change their procedures so same-sex couples can apply for family-based immigrant visas in the same way as heterosexuals.
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