Thursday, September 30, 2010

Canada helps immigrants with website in 11 languages

A new website in 11 different languages makes it easier for Canadian Immigrants to find community service information.
The 'In my language', developed by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), which represents more than 200 settlement agencies in Ontario provides an electronic library of translated content which will assist newcomers in adapting to life in Canada.
"The In my language website is an excellent resource for newcomers to Ontario, said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism.
The website has received funds of $1.4 million from the Government of Canada.
"Newcomers now have a website where they can get the information they need in the language of their choice," he added.
"This multilingual website will give newcomers to Ontario a head start on accessing information on housing, health care, legal advice, community services, and language training across the province," said MP Paul Calandra.
The website has content in the following languages: English, French, Chinese, Punjabi, Urdu, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, Gujarati, Tamil and Russian.
"Helping newcomers get settled is the key to their success," said MP Bob Dechert. "Settlement information needs to be accessible, and this initiative is a significant step in fulfilling that aim."
Besides immigrants, other users of the website include community organizations, schoolboards, police services, and the healthcare industry. The new website has multilingual information on housing, healthcare, employment, schooling and other important topics.
Government funding of the new website was made possible through the Canada-Ontario Immigration Agreement (COIA), which was signed in 2005. Through this agreement, the Government of Canada is investing $428 million in Ontario for settlement services for immigrants.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UK Immigration fees increases in October and November 2010

UK Immigration has announced that there will be further immigration fees increases. Some of the fee increases will occur in 1 October 2010 which covers UK visa fees that are "below cost". The majority of the increases if approved by Parliament will occur in November 2010. These further fee increases are somewhat controversial coming on top of some large increases in fees on 6 April 2010. If you are a national of a non-EU Country and you wish to visit, study, work or gain entry to the UK or some other reason it is likely that you will have to pay higher UK visa fees.
This is another attempt by the UK Government to raise funds. You cannot justify these fee increases to simply cover the costs of dealing with immigration applications. The fees are set considerably higher than the fees required to pay for the cost of processing  immigration applications. The Government has in fact said in the past that increased fees also help pay for other costs that they say are a result of  immigration the UK. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that especially during the boom years increased immigration was of enormous benefit to the UK and that helped to fuel the economic boom in the UK
The UK Border Agency had the following to say:
"….The UK Border Agency believes that the proposals to increase fees continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls and ensuring that our fees structure does not inhibit the UK,s ability to attract migrants and visitors who make a valued contribution.…"
 UK Tier visa fee increases are as follows:
  • Tier 1  visa at Consular Post from outside the UK £690 to £750
  • Tier 1  visa from within the  UK £840 to £850
  • Tier 2  visa fee from £270 to £350
  • Tier 2  in-country from £475 to £500
  • Tier 4  visa from £199 to £220
  • Tier 4  visa from within the UK kept at £357
  • Tier 5 visa from £128 to £130
You will see that the greatest increases in UK immigration fees have been for applicants applying for Tier 1  visas and  Tier 2 visas from outside the UK This will affect skilled immigration into the UK.
Visit Visa fee increases are as follows:
  • Short term visit visas generally for up to six months from £68 to £70
  • Visit visa - long 2 year from £230 to £245
  • Visit visa - long 5 year from £420 to £450
  • Visit visa - long 10 year from £610 to £650
  • Settlement visas (permanent residence) increases from £644 to £750
Increase in dependent visa fees to 20-30% of the principal applicant fee
If you wish to apply for a visa and wish to avoid paying increased UK Government visa fees you should consider applying sooner rather than later. If you need to pay increased visa fees both for yourself and family members the additional costs may be quite considerable.

UK Immigration Minister speaks on UK immigration policy changes

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green spoke recently at the Royal Commonwealth Society in London about immigration. The Immigration Minister said that the Government wishes to "maximise" the benefits of immigration. The contents of the immigration minister's speech had already been widely reported in the news ahead of the actual speech.
The UK immigration minister went on to say that the UK has benefitted from immigration but 'will only continue to do so if it is properly controlled'. He also said:
'This means that the unsustainable levels of net migration seen in recent years must be brought down.'
UK Immigration has done research recently on immigration into the UK and has published a new report about immigration called "The migrant journey". The immigration report looks at what has happened to immigrants who came into the UK in 2004. According to UK immigration the largest group of migrants were the 186,000 students on student visas. The immigration minister went onto say that more than twenty percent of migrants were still in the UK five years later:
'We need to understand more clearly why a significant proportion of students are still here more than 5 years after their arrival. And we also need a system which can scrutinise effectively, and if necessary take action against, those whose long-term presence would be of little or no economic benefit.'
Immigration Minister Damian Green also said that some Tier 1 highly skilled work route are not doing specialised jobs:
'I was also struck by some of the individual applications I saw under the [Tier 2] skilled worker category: people running takeaway restaurants and production-line workers on salaries in the low £20,000s. These are not the sort of jobs we talk about when we think of bringing in skilled immigrants who have talents not available among our own workforce or the unemployed...
'We will not make Britain prosperous in the long term by telling our own workers "don't bother to learn new skills, we can bring them all in from overseas".'
The UK immigration minister also defended the controversial annual limit on immigration:
'We absolutely need sustainable immigration levels. This will relieve pressure on public services, and stop immigration being such a delicate political issue.
'At the same time, we must be confident enough to say Britain is open for business and study to those who will make this a better country, and a more open society.'
UK immigration has provided enormous economic benefits to the UK economy. Many people have commented that recent changes which have made immigration to the UK more difficult and more expensive will caused harm in the long term to the UK economy. It seems that changes in future will make it more difficult still to obtain a UK visa

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