Predatory visa fraud rings and fraudulent document vendors

Washington: As another US university came under the scanner, the United States asked Indian students to be alert to the existence of "predatory visa fraud rings and fraudulent document vendors."

"We are looking into this matter, we're following the case closely, and we're in communication with the Government of India officials on it," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday, a day after a raid on the University of Northern Virginia.

Based in Annandale, a Washington suburb, the unaccredited, for-profit private university has some 2,400 students of which 90 percent are from India, mostly from Andhra Pradesh, registered at three locations in northern Virginia.

The US embassy in New Delhi has briefed the Ministry of External Affairs and the US Department of Homeland Security and the State Department have been in contact with the Indian Embassy here, Toner said.

Declining to give details as an investigation is ongoing, the spokesman said "it's important to note that a hundred thousand Indians are receiving a good education at certified US institutions each year, and we certainly welcome the contribution of Indian students wishing to study in the United States."

"And of course, as always, we caution them to be alert to the existence of these so-called predatory visa fraud rings and fraudulent document vendors," he said.

Asked how US consulates or embassies in India issued visas for study at such institutions, Toner again declined comment in view of "an ongoing investigation".

"They've taken action against this school, and we're in close coordination with the Indian Government as we move forward. But beyond that, I don't want to comment on details," he said.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement has warned the Northern Virginia University that it could withdraw the school's authorisation to admit foreign students.

Agency Spokesperson Cori Bassett, however, would not say why the action was taken, saying it is part of a pending investigation. The school remains open and certified and will have the chance to rebut the government's allegations.

Job interview tips: Research your company, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

Go one step further in your company research and you'll really impress: Inevitably, you will be asked at some stage during the interview why you want to work for the organisation you are applying to. This is a great chance to demonstrate your commercial awareness - an area lots of students struggle with at interview - but it will take a bit of preparation. Prior to the interview, contact one of the organisation's customers - you can most likely identify some through a simple internet search - and ask them questions such as: "What it's like to do business with company X?", "What makes them stand out?", "What do you think it would be like to work for them?", "What makes them successful (or not)?". And then at interview, by explaining the research that you've done and including their customer's responses in your answer, you're almost guaranteed to stand out from the crowd; not only will you be able to give evidence of your personal enterprise, your research skills and your genuine interest in the organisation, but also a strong sense of business acumen.

Nick Keeley is director of the Careers Service at Newcastle University

Indian couple challenges British immigration law

London: An Indian woman who lives in Britain and wants her husband to join her there cannot do so because a new immigration law requires him to speak English. The couple have now challenged the law in court.

British citizen Rashida Chapti, 54, applied for her husband Vali Chapti, 57, to join her in Britain.

The couple have been married for 37 years and have six children together. Vali Chapti is an Indian national and does not speak, read or write English.

They have now challenged the rule at a court in Birmingham. They said the law "contravenes their rights to a family life, their right to marry and constitutes discrimination", according to the Daily Mail.

Rashida Chapti has been travelling between India and Leicester for 15 years.

The rule came into force in November 2010. It says English language is a primary requirement for migrants applying to come or stay in Britain as a spouse.

Manjit Gill, representing the couple, told the Birmingham court the requirement was a breach of their human rights.

He said it contravenes several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights - including the right to family life, the right to marry, and to be free of discrimination.

For every H-1B visa, US companies hire 5 workers: Nasdaq

Refuting the allegations of US lawmakers and certain quarters here that H-1B visas take away jobs from Americans, NASDAQ's chief has claimed that studies show that for every H-1B visa, technology companies increase employment by five workers.

"Let me take the job stealing issue head-on," NASDAQ CEO Robert Griefeld told Senators at a Congressional hearing on immigration reform early this week.

"Opponents of enhanced legal immigration argue that when a foreign-born, highly skilled immigrant gets a job, American graduates are the losers," he said.

"But my research and experience tell me quite a different story. For example, the National Federation for American Policy says that for every H-1B worker requested, US technology companies increase their overall employment by five workers," Griefeld said.

The NASDAQ CEO argued there was a case to enact a more flexible and stable regime for legal immigration.

"Reform must convey economic priorities about job growth and global competitiveness. Increasing H-1B visas is simply not enough. We need to admit and keep entrepreneurs here so that the creative dynamic of our economy is enhanced by the very best skills and minds," he said.

"Whether in Silicon Valley, Austin, Chicago, or anywhere else in the United States, I hear from CEOs that the H-1B visa system is inadequate for today's human capital marketplace and the backlog for green cards and what they mean to the quality and the uncertainty of the lives of these foreign-born employees is a legitimate threat to their businesses," he said.

"Many companies can, if needed, locate people in Canada, Europe, India or any country that wants those jobs and the benefits they bring," he said.

Puneet Arora, the Vice-President of Immigration Voice, told lawmakers that frustration with the US immigration system sent Wharton graduate Kunal Bahl back home in 2007 where he went and founded

This is a rapidly growing company with over USD 20 million in annual revenue, over 400 workers and growing at the rate of 70 workers a month.

This, India's equivalent of Groupon, has major US venture capitalists like Vinod Dham, the father of the Intel chip, investing significantly in it.

"Reports from India and China suggest that this is not an isolated example. This is a growing trend. We often hear concerns that foreign-born workers are taking jobs and stalling the economic recovery," Arora said.

Ronil Hira, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Rochester Institute of Technology said to meet the needs of both the US economy and American workers, the H-1B and L-1 visa programmes need immediate and substantial overhaul.

"The goal of these programmes is to bring in foreign workers who complement the American workforce. Instead, loopholes have made it too easy to bring in cheaper foreign workers, with ordinary skills – these are not specialised skills, these are not the best and brightest, these are ordinary skills – who directly substitute for, rather than complement, American workers," he noted.

"The programmes are clearly displacing and denying opportunities to American workers. The H-1B and L-1 programmes have serious design flaws and legislation is needed to fix them. Administrative changes alone such as stepped up enforcement, while necessary, are simply not sufficient to correct the problems," Hira said.

In his remarks, Senator John Cornyn said there is a scarcity of qualified people for many jobs, particularly high-tech jobs requiring special skills.

"And those, of course, should be the target of the H-1B programme. But we should assure every American and all Americans that we will never hire, never allow to be hired, a foreign national under an H-1B Programme where there is a qualified American ready, willing and able to do that job," he said.

Senator Grassley said there is a need to plug the loopholes in the H-1B and L1 visa programmes.

He and his other colleague in the Senate have introduced a legislation in the Senate in this regard.

"Among other things, the H-1B and the L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse and Prevention Act would ensure American workers are afforded the first chance to obtain the available high paying jobs and high skilled jobs," he said.
"The bill would strengthen the wage requirements, ridding the incentives for companies to hire cheap, foreign labour. Our bill would also require companies to attest that they have tried to hire an American worker before they hire a foreign worker," Grassley said.

Grassley said the efforts he and others have put into the H-1B programme have already had an impact, without the legislation being passed.

"Our efforts have increased scrutiny, forced bad actors to find other ways to enter, live and work in the United States under false pretenses. The increased oversight of the H-1B programme, for instance, has caused the businesses to quote-unquote "think creatively" to get around the programme, using both the L and the B-1 visa to bypass the requirements and protections under the H-1B visa programme," he said.

"Recently, this scenario came to light when an employee of Infosys filed a complaint alleging that his employer was, quote, 'sending lower level and unskilled foreigners to the United States to work in full-time positions at customer sites, in direct violation of immigration law,' end of quote," Grassley said.

"The complaint further states, quote, 'Infosys was paying these employees in India for full-time work in the United States without withholding federal or state income taxes', end of quote," he said.

Infosys, one of the top 10 H-1B petitioning companies, has worked to creatively get around the H-1B programme by using the B-1 business visitor visa in order to bring in low-skilled and low-wage workers.

"That plaintiff, Jay Palmer, has written a statement. And I ask unanimous consent, as I've already done, to put that in the record. The courts will decide if the activities of Infosys were illegal. But I can definitely say that their actions don't comport with the spirit of the law," the Senator said.

Job interview tips: First impressions are very important, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

Three-quarters of interviews are failed within three minutes of entering the room. Interviewers are put off by weak handshakes, a lack of eye contact, poor body language, poor posture (slumped shoulders suggest a lack of confidence) and a grim demeanour. Many recruiters make early judgements about your trustworthiness, likeability, competitiveness and professionalism and spend the rest of the interview confirming these opinions.

You should shake hands firmly and warmly, but wait to be invited to sit down. Handshakes originated as a way for knights to show that they didn't have concealed weapons. They communicate sociability and friendliness: normally desirable qualities in candidates whereas weak handshakes may communicate introversion and shyness. At the start of the interview you should smile at and maintain good eye contact with the interviewer. Try to relax without perching on the edge of your chair, but don't slouch either. Speak clearly and not too fast. Give yourself a moment to think about your replies. Avoid fidgeting and using phrases like "you know" and "I mean".

Tim Reed is a careers adviser in the Careers Advisory Service at the University of Kent

Job interview tips: Convince employer you're fit for them, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

Be prepared to convince the employer you're perfect for them: Preparation for the big day is essential and key to this is knowing yourself and knowing the company. Before the interview, take the time to re-read your application and CV and identify what it is about you that makes you a great potential employee. Convince the employer that you are not just another job seeker by pinpointing the gems in your experience and creating a clear match between your goals and the employers goals.

Sarah Nicholson is a careers adviser at Bath Spa University

Job interview tips: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

Ask a hundred recruiters what disappoints them most about the people they interview and I can safely predict the top answer - lack of knowledge of their organisation. And for lack of knowledge, they read lack of interest. Interview over.

Any degree develops research skills, so apply them to your job hunting and don't forget the social networks that provide so much inside information. Find out how the organisation you are applying for has developed in recent years, how its products or services and markets have changed, who its competitors are, what its ethos is and what the future holds. Then use that information intelligently. Interviews are not like Mastermind – regurgitating facts won't win any prizes. Instead, you need to demonstrate an understanding of what it all means for you as a prospective employee, what the challenges would be and the skills and attributes you'll need to make a positive contribution.

Jane Standley is director of careers and student employability at Brunel University

British MPs flay new student visa policy

London: Tough new rules for student visas that came into effect earlier this month have been criticised by the Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons on the ground that it could damage Britain's economy. By the Home Office's impact assessment, the new policy could adversely affect the recruitment of the high fee-paying international students and cost the economy 3.6 billion pounds annually.

Thousands of Indian students come to Britain every year to study at various institutions. Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, said: "The Government appears to be not only making policy without adequate immigration statistics, but also ignoring its own evidence. We reiterate the need for an immigration policy which is both evidence-based and does not adversely affect the British economy." The new visa rules as part of the David Cameron government's efforts to reduce migration to Britain involves tougher English language tests, greater scrutiny of private colleges and restrictions on when students and their dependents can work. Officials estimate that the plans will eventually reduce the number of students by 75,000 a year, down from roughly 250,000 a year at present. The new restrictions came into effect on 4 July.

More restrictions are scheduled to come into effect from April 2011, including the closure of the post-study work visa, which currently enables non-EU students to take up work for two years after completing studies in a UK university. The committee said it was concerned that an impact assessment which highlights the cost of the student visas policy had been published 12 weeks after the policy had been announced.

The assessment, which states the policy could cost the economy as much as 3.6 billion pounds,has led to the committee concluding that the government is failing to establish a solid evidence base before embarking on policy changes which could damage Britain's economic recovery. "The committee are fully supportive of the need to address the flaws of the current system of immigration. However, the Home Secretary's dismissal of the Impact Assessment is very disappointing," Vaz said. However, Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "The changes were introduced after full and extensive consultation. The extent of the crisis which this government inherited in the immigration system meant that tough early action was necessary."

Leisure Jobs – Lots to Offer for Everyone

Have you ever considered working in the leisure industry? This is a vast industry that incorporates a whole range of things: from health and fitness and sports related jobs, to other activities related to leisure (such as cinemas, casinos and more), there are many things that are included under the banner of ‘leisure jobs’.

This is good news for job hunters, particularly if you are interested in working in sports, health and fitness. This is because this is currently a growth industry, and with the Olympic Games coming up in London next year, it has a high profile and people are more interested in it than ever.

The fact that leisure jobs incorporate so many different types of employment is another bonus, as it means no matter what qualifications, skills and experience you have, you are bound to find a leisure job that is suitable for you. There is also a good range of employment, including full time and part time jobs in London and self-employed opportunities, so if you are good at seeking out where the best opportunities lie, the leisure industry could be right for you.

Leisure jobs can include roles such as: being an assistant or trainer in a health club; being a sports instructor; promoting leisure and fitness-related activities; educating children on the importance of sport; managing a leisure facility and more. From entry-level jobs right up to roles in management and policy development, there really is something to suit everyone in the leisure industry.

Such variety means that the requirements for different leisure jobs will vary, but there are a few skills that will be useful to have no matter where you work in the industry. For instance, a large part of leisure is about customer service, so if you have good people skills it will stand you in good stead. Organisation, time-keeping, team skills and the ability to work on your own initiative will also be massively useful for any job in the leisure industry.

Unemployment across the UK since 2005

The UK experienced a long period of falling unemployment rates after the end of the early 1990s recession where it stood at 10.7 per cent at the start of 1993. The unemployment rate levelled off from around 2001 and reached a low in the UK of 4.7 per cent at the beginning of 2005. This was followed by a small rise and then a sharper increase during the 2008-2009 recession.

Looking at the overall period from Jan-Mar 2005 to the latest quarter Mar-May 2011, the increase (difference between peaks and lows) in unemployment rates varied across regions:
  • The increase was largest in West Midlands (6.1 percentage points) and Yorkshire and The Humber (5.3 percentage points)
  • The increase was lowest in the South East (2.7 percentage points), East of England (3.0 percentage points), London (3.2 percentage points) and the South West (3.5 percentage points)

Between 2005 and the latest quarter (Mar-May 2011), the three regions with the highest peaks in unemployment rates were:

  • West Midlands, where unemployment peaked at 10.6 per cent in Apr-Jun 2009
  • North East, where unemployment peaked at 10.4 per cent in Jan-Mar 2011
  • Yorkshire and The Humber, where unemployment peaked at 9.7 per cent in Jan-Mar 2010

Data from the most recent quarter (Mar-May 2011) show the highest unemployment rate for North East, at 9.8 per cent, and lowest unemployment rate for South East, at 5.7 per cent.

Job interview tips: Don't forget, practice makes perfect, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

You might find it useful to think of your interview as a performance. As with any performance, practice makes perfect. It might not always be practical to learn your answers like an actor learns lines, but you should certainly have considered the rough outlines of how you will answer any given type of question. You need therefore to write down the questions you expect to be asked and then an effective answer for each.

You then need to focus on how you will look and sound on the day. To judge this successfully, you should, at the very least, interview yourself in the mirror a number of times, using the written materials you have prepared. Be honest about how professional, credible and friendly you look and sound. Edit and rewrite your answers until they meet the standards you will require on the day. Practice dealing with difficult moments such as when you forget what you are saying. Think about the structure of your answer - it is normally helpful to have a clear beginning, middle and end, with the end summarising what has just gone before. Think carefully about your posture and use of gestures. The pitch, tone, clarity and volume of your voice is also important. Interview nerves can affect all of these areas, so just being aware of them can help you control them and therefore be more effective on the day.

It will really help if you can find a trusted friend to ask you the questions - it might feel a bit strange at first, but the experience of speaking your words publicly should give you more confidence. Even better, ask your university careers service if they offer mock interviews. At these you will normally get very useful feedback from a professional adviser and sometimes the chance to watch yourself on video as well as the chance to deal with questions you hadn't previously thought of in a safe environment.

By Steve McLellan, a careers adviser at Edinburgh Napier University

Arkansas' jobless rate reaches highest level in 24 years

Arkansas News Bureau - LITTLE ROCK — A three-tenths of one percentage point rise in unemployment in June pushed Arkansas’ jobless rate to 8.1 percent, its highest level in 24 years, labor statistics released today show.

The state unemployment rate last reached 8.1 percent in June 1987. It last reached 8 percent in January and February of 2010.

Arkansas’ unemployment rate for June was 1.1 percentage points below the national rate of 9.2 percent, which was up one-tenth of a percentage point from May.

The highest unemployment rate on record in Arkansas is 10.1 percent, which was reached in May, June and July of 1983, Friedman said.

Michael Pakko, a Professor of economics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock said the state has added about 27,000 jobs over the past 18 months, but with rapid growth in the labor force, those new jobs have only been enough to keep the state “pretty much stuck at around 8 percent unemployment, plus or minus a tick or two.”

Arkansas’ labor force declined by 8,500 in June. The department said 1.36 million were employed during the month and 109,300 were out of work.

The industry sector that posted the most job losses in June was government. State and local government jobs declined by 5,200, mainly related to summer break at public education facilities.

Manufacturing reported 400 lost jobs.

Nine other sectors posted employment gains, led by professional and business services with 2,100 new jobs added, the majority in administrative and support services, mainly at temporary employment agencies. Construction reported a seasonal increase of 1,600 jobs.

Job interview tips: Competency-based interview questions, Thursday 21 July 2011 10.00 BST

Be prepared to tackle competency-based interview questions: Most employers are looking for applicants to demonstrate a specific set of skills and competencies which they believe are essential to the job role, for example team work, communication, problem solving and time management. At interview, you are likely to be asked to give specific examples of times when you have demonstrated those competencies. Employers recognise that you might not have lots of directly relevant work experience, so when they ask these questions they will usually be happy for you to provide examples from any aspect of your life, such as your studies, part-time work, volunteering, interests or extra-curricular activities. So, before you go to an interview, check the job description for the skills and competencies required, then reflect on your experiences and think about examples that you could use as evidence.

A good answer will give a specific example, rather than vague generalisations, and will emphasise your role and actions. A tip to help you structure your answer is to use STAR, which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result: briefly outline the situation and your task or objective, then provide details of what you actually did - your role and input. Finally, tell them what the result was - did you achieve your goal or deadline ? Be prepared for follow-up questions, which might ask for more details of what you did, or require you to reflect on the way that you approached the task.

Janice Simpson is a senior careers adviser at the University of York

Job-hopping: How it affects your career success

Job hoppers do it for various reasons. More often than not they may not know what they are getting into. Sometimes, it is because they do not know what they want and hence are not ready for the challenges that lay ahead of them.Companies like to invest in people who see their career goals align with their corporate goals. Job-hoppers usually cannot see their career path beyond the next year.

Decreasing the Incidence of Job-Hopping

One of the best ways to quit job-hopping is to truly know what you want. Once you know that, you will have singular focus in the pursuit of your career goals. Of course, it is understandable that as a fresh graduate or newbie at work it is tough to know that. You may be interested in some other industries.

If there are other fields that you are interested in then make a plan to find out about them. Start with the Internet, and then ask friends who may know people in those fields. Speak to them; ask them about the expectations of the company and the role of the position you are interested in. You may not have all the answers but at least you get some idea. That would decrease the chances of you jumping jobs.

 Make Learning a Key Objective

If you are new in the work force and have been job-hopping quite a bit, my advice to you is this - truly find out what you want. Once you know that, find a company that is willing to train or how they are willing to commit to their employees’ career in the long term. If they have structured training programs, join them.

Make learning the relevant skills and knowledge in that industry your key objective. The skills and knowledge that you learn will contribute to your career success in the long term. It is something that you can bring with you the rest of your life. Once you see the benefits of committing to a company who is willing to train you for more than two years, hopefully you won’t be job-hopping often anymore. [read more..]

Employment in Wales hit worse by recession than anywhere else in UK

Unemployment more than doubled in Wales between the peak of the boom and the depths of the recession leaving the country worse affected than any other UK nation, new figures show.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the unemployment rate went from its lowest point of 4.4% in July of 2005 to 9.3% in March last year. The numbers rose thrown onto the dole went from 60,848 to 134,000 in March 2010.

Experts blamed the sharp 4.9% increase in joblessness during the downturn on Wales’s still relatively large manufacturing sector.

In England the unemployment rate rose from a low of 4.6% in March 2005 to a high of 8% in October 2009 and now stands at 7.8%.

Scotland’s unemployment rate went up by 4.8% to 8.8% in July 2010, a fractionally lower rise than the increase seen in Wales.

In Northern Ireland the rate increased by 4.7% between August 2005 and March 2010 to 8%.

Of the regions of England only two places saw a higher increase in the rate of unemployment than Wales - Yorkshire and the Humber and the West Midlands.

A Welsh Government spokesman stressed the most recent unemployment figures showed signs of improvement.

“We are working with all sectors in Wales to create a strong and vibrant Welsh economy,” added the spokesperson.

UK wide unemployment fell to its lowest point of 4.7% in August 2005 before peaking at 8% in March 2010 and dropping back no to 7.7% or 2,452,000.

Read More

'Canadian diplomat' dupes Bangladeshi of Rs 72,000

Sydney will begin planning today for the removal of illegal workers

DIAC Newsroom - 22 Jul 2011: The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), Australia will begin planning today for the removal of illegal workers identified in a joint operation with New South Wales Police in the Riverina.

Immigration compliance officers from the Sydney and ACT Regional Offices with NSW Police from the Griffith Local Area Command, detained 20 unlawful non-citizens (UNCs) from China for breaches under the Migration Act.

A spokesman from the department said warrants were executed at several private residences in Griffith, after information from the community.

“Several people spoken to by compliance officers at these residences were identified as not holding valid visas,” the spokesman said.

“These people were immediately detained and taken to Griffith police station.”

The operation – on July 21 – also resulted in a number of vehicles being stopped and the occupants’ immigration status checked. Several people were also not holders of valid visas, nor were they entitled to work in Australia. Among these, a Chinese woman, who had escaped immigration custody after arriving in Darwin unlawfully, was found hiding in one of the vehicles.

“The department will not tolerate unlawful non-citizens living and working in Australia,” the spokesman said.

“The group, which comprises eight men and 12 women, will be taken into immigration detention at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre until their removal from the country.”

The circumstances of their employment are under further investigation.

Members of the public with information on UNCs in the community or illegal work practices are encouraged to contact the DIAC community dob-in line on 1800 009 623.

The Dutch Academic Career Network - Dutch Research Universities

Face-to-face careers advice in schools must be assured, says Hughes

The (UK) government should act urgently to guarantee face-to-face careers advice for all children in schools, according to a report into making higher education more accessible to disadvantaged young people.

The report’s author, Simon Hughes, who is the government’s advocate for access to education, also recommended that teachers start discussing career options with 10- and 11-year-olds at primary school, while every school and college should be formally linked to at least one higher education institution by the end of 2012.

To prepare young people for education, training and work, Hughes said all students aged between 14 and 16 should be trained in basic financial management and all secondary schools should hold events that bring together careers professionals, parents and students to discuss career, education and training options.

Meanwhile, all secondary schools and colleges should develop networks of former pupils willing to come back into school to advise young people and answer questions about careers, studies or life in general after school or college.

The National Scholarship Programme will provide help with the cost of attending university to students from disadvantaged backgrounds from autumn 2012.

Hughes suggested that the majority of scholarships available through this scheme should be allocated directly to every non-fee-paying English school and college.

Hughes said he hoped his report would help quell the "widespread concern" that fee increases at English universities would prevent young people from accessing higher education.

'Canadian diplomat' dupes Bangladeshi of Rs 72,000

CHANDIGARH (India): The forgery case against Jocelyn Miller, who duped a Bangladeshi national Faisal Waqar of Rs 72,000, while introducing himself as a Canadian diplomat, is proving tough for the investigating agency to crack.

A case was registered after a fact-finding report was filed by DSP (CID) Anil Joshi. Now investigation has been transferred to the crime branch. Waqar came in contact with the accused Miller, a UK national, in November, 2010 and Miller promised him to provide a Canadian visa for work permit at a cost of Rs 1.50 lakh for his cousin.Crime branch in-charge inspector Amanjot Singh said preliminary investigation revealed that Miller, against whom a criminal case has been registered, was a fictitious person. Waqar who was in India has now returned to his native country.

The FIR against Miller was lodged on the complaint of Pierre Bosse Consul, consulate general of Canada, Sector 17.

Police sources said Waqar had lodged a complaint directly with Bosse and the latter referred it to the Chandigarh police. Police sources said Miller had sent Waqar a copy of a forged work permit visa through email for which Waqar agreed to pay half the amount, that is Rs 72,000, while the passport of his cousin was handed over to Rajiv, an accomplice of Miller in Sector 17 here.

Online communication, a hurdle

The communications between Waqar and Miller happened online and that is proving to be a big hurdle for the investigating agency. Preliminary investigations revealed that Waqar handed over the passport of his cousin to Rajiv in Sector 17 and deposited a cash amount of Rs 72,000 in a bank account in Axis Bank which has also turned out to be fake.

Police sources said a cell phone number, which was used by Rajiv to communicate with Waqar, could come in handy in investigations.

Visit to Work Visa may be stopped

KUWAIT CITY, July 21: Kuwait might permanently stop the transfer of visit visas to work permits soon, reports Al-Watan Arabic daily quoting Assistant Undersecretary for the Labor Sector at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor Jamal Al-Dosary.

Disclosing the government is currently studying the issue, Al-Dosary said there is a tendency to stop the visit visa to work permit transfer process permanently, but it will be done in a gradual manner. He pointed out the ministry has started limiting such transfers, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior. He added this step will be followed by a permanent ban on the transfer in the future.

Al-Dosary clarified the idea came after the latest statistical reports showed the transfer of visit visas to work permit has contributed to the rising number of marginal workers in the country. He asserted this step is also aimed at balancing the lopsided population structure, considering the expatriates outnumber the citizens in the labor market.

Affirming this step does not mean the ministry intends to make it harder for companies to recruit the required workers, Al-Dosary stressed this will help maintain the skilled and technical workers whose services are vital to the growth of the nation.

On the alleged plan to reduce the expatriate population and limit the residency period for foreigners, Al-Dosary confirmed Kuwait is coordinating with other Gulf countries in this regard but no decision has been finalized yet.

Watch this film about studying in Holland on YouTube

Why would international students choose Holland as a study destination? How diverse is the offering of international study programmes? What does an average day look like in Holland, and how internationally-oriented is Dutch society and its education environment?

This innovative short film provides answers to all these questions, and more. Through an intense combination of image and sound, you get an almost real time experience of Holland; a sneak preview of living in Holland as an international student.

UNESCO Fellowships Programme: study and travel grants

For attaining sustainable human development and for fostering of international understanding and a culture of peace, UNESCO established training and fellowship schemes.

UNESCO fellowships contribute towards the genuine sharing of knowledge and expertise in which each party, whether teacher or student, gives and learns.

The UNESCO Fellowships Programme, through the award and administration of fellowships, study and travel grants, aims to:

  • Contribute to the enhancement of human resources and national capacity-building in areas that are closely aligned to UNESCO's expected strategic objectives and programme priorities; and,
  • Increase fellowships co-sponsorship arrangements with interested donors and extrabudgetary funding sources through the Co-Sponsored Fellowships Programme

Only applications submitted and endorsed by the National Commission of the candidate's country will be examined. The UNESCO Secretariat cannot entertain requests from individuals.


2012 Cycle - UNESCO/Japan Young Researchers' Fellowships Programme (UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowships Programme)

2012 - UNESCO-L'OREAL International Fellowships Programme for Young Women in Life Sciences

2011 - UNESCO/ISEDC Co-Sponsored Fellowships Programme

2011 - UNESCO/Israel (MASHAV) Co-sponsored Fellowships Programme - "Slum Upgrading and Delivery of Services to the Urban Poor" 

New UK visa plan to attract global talent

London: Britain has announced a new visa category to facilitate the immigration for exceptionally talented people from non-EU countries in the fields of Science, Humanities, Engineering and the Arts. The new Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) category will open on 9 August 2011, and will have 1000 places in the first year of operation, official sources here said.

The new category will facilitate not only those who have already been recognised but also those with the potential to be recognised as leaders in their respective fields, the sources added. There will be 500 places available between the 9 August and 30 November and a further 500 places available from the 1 December to 31 March 2012. The number of places will be reviewed at the end of March 2012. The immigration category will be overseen by four 'competent bodies', which will advise the UK Border Agency on these 'exceptionally talented' migrants to ensure that they are the brightest and best in their field.

The bodies are: the Royal Society, a fellowship of the world's most eminent scientists, will be able to nominate up to 300 places; the Arts Council England, the national development agency for the arts, will also be able to nominate up to 300 places; the Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain's national academy for engineering, will have up to 200 places to nominate; and the British Academy, the national academy for the humanities and social sciences will be able to nominate up to 200 places.

Study Visa to Holland - Select Netherlands for study

Holland, or more formally the Netherlands, is an internationally oriented and innovative country located at a central spot in Europe. It is bordered by Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea to the north and west.

Once you have arrived in Holland, you will discover that many European capitals are within easy reach. Brussels is two hours away by train, Paris takes only five hours and a short flight from Amsterdam will take you to London, Madrid or Berlin.

The Netherlands is an increasingly popular study destination for students from around the world who are looking to earn a bachelor's or master's degree. Dutch higher education institutions together offer more than 1,500 international study programmes taught entirely in English. This makes Holland the front-runner in continental Europe. Holland was the first non-English-speaking country to offer courses taught in English.

Where to study

If you want to study in The Netherlands you first have to apply for a course. But where to begin? Start here!

Egypt Visa Information

There are 3 types of Egyptian Visa:

Entry Visa: is required for any foreigner arriving in Egypt for purposes other than tourism, e.g. work, study, etc. The possession of a valid entry visa is needed to complete the residence procedure in Egypt.

Tourist Visa: is usually valid for a period not exceeding three months and granted on either single or multiple entry basis. The Visa is valid only for travel within three months from the date of issue and is valid only for One- month stay in Egypt, beginning on the date of arrival. If you have a reason to extend your stay, you can do that from the ministry of interior affairs in Egypt after declaring the reasons for that and their acceptance for that reasons.

Tourist visas for Egypt can often be obtained upon arrival in Egypt, for citizens of most countries (It is highly recommended to confirm visa particulars with the appropriate consulate, however).

However, citizens of the following countries are required to be in possession of a pre-arrival visa: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Croatia, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz, Lebanon, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldavia, Montenegro, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, The Philippines, Serbia, Slovenia, Sri-Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and all African countries.

Student visa: Egyptian consulates do not issue student visas; application for a student visa (if required) is made after entering Egypt with a tourist or entry visa.

Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa:
  1. nationals of Kuwait, who are allocated a six months’ residence permit upon arrival;
  2. Palestinians holding an Egyptian residence card, provided the stay outside Egypt does not exceed six months;
  3. nationals of Bahrain, Djibouti, Guinea, Jordan (only with a passport with at least five years’ validity), Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen for stays of up to three months;
  4. Holders of diplomatic passports of Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Singapore, the Slovak Republic and Turkey;
  5. those continuing their journey to a third country within 24 hours, provided holding confirmed tickets.
  6. Cruise ship passengers entering Egypt at any port for a maximum stay of 3 days.

For current visa information, please visit

Everything you need to know about entering Germany

Do I need a visa, what sort of ID do I require, will I be able to make myself understood? This section contains information aimed at making it as quick and easy as possible to get your bearings in Germany.

Entry requirements

To enter Germany you need a passport that is valid for at least fourth months from your date of arrival. For citizens of EU countries a valid identity card is sufficient.


EU citizens do not require a visa. Citizens of all other countries will generally need a visa, with the exception of some countries for which the European Community has abolished the visa requirement. Nationals of those countries do not require a visa for visits to Germany lasting no longer than three months in a six-month period.


Goods from other EU countries do not incur duty as long as you carry them with you and they are intended for your own personal use.

Goods imported into Germany from a non-EU country are duty-free up to a value of €175.00. There are restrictions for specific goods, such as tobacco, alcohol and perfume.


Overall, Germany has a warm, temperate, wet climate with westerly winds. Extreme fluctuations in temperature are rare. Rain falls throughout the year. Mild winters (2ºC to -6ºC) and moderately hot summers (18ºC to 20ºC) are the norm.


Around two thirds of Germany's population are Christian. They are fairly evenly split between Protestants and Catholics, but there are more Protestants in northern Germany, while the South has more Catholics. Germany is also home to around four million Muslims and about 100,000 Jews.

No vaccinations are required for entry into Germany.

However, between spring and autumn there is an increased risk of contracting illnesses caused by ticks, such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Ticks are usually found in ground-covering vegetation. The best protection against them is to wear clothing that covers as much of the skin as possible. If you are bitten, you should seek medical attention as a precaution.

The areas of highest risk are Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, as well as certain regions within Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. In these areas, TBE vaccinations are recommended for anyone likely to spend a lot of time outdoors.


The main language is German, of course. However, you should be aware that there are many different regional accents and dialects, although High German is understood everywhere.

Many Germans also speak good English, so there should not be any language barriers for foreign visitors.


Australia - Online tourist visa to expand to Turkey

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has announced that citizens of Turkey who hold a service, special or diplomatic passport will soon have access to the electronic tourist visa.

From 20 September 2011, citizens of Turkey who hold these passports can apply for the e676 electronic tourist visa (known as e676 Tourist visa) online.

The application process is fast, secure and convenient, and gives applicants the ability to check the progress of their application electronically.

The visa does not require a visa label to be placed in a passport.

Citizens of Turkey who are unable to lodge an e676 application online or who hold a standard Turkish passport will continue to lodge their tourist visa application directly with the Australian Embassy in Ankara.

Further information will be made available closer to the launch date.

Media Enquiries: National Communications 02 6264 2244

Sharpening Your Interviewing Skills

Michael Redisch, founder of BizBuddy, gives tips on the interview process. Hundreds of job seekers connected with some 40 prospective employers April 16, 2010 at the second annual JUF/JVS Job Fair organized to assist beginning to mid-level professionals find jobs. In addition to networking with hiring companies, job seekers attended several career workshops—including "Making the Most of the Job Fair," "Sharpening Your Interviewing Skills," "Managing a Career Transition," and "Taking Your Job Search to the Next level with Social Media"—and received career search advice and resume checks at the JVS Career Services Help Desk.

Changes to online visa application information

The UK Border Agency and CP have been working to improve our websites. As part of a wider and important move to have 1 website for all customers in the UK and overseas, on 25 July you will see changes to the information about applying for a UK visa in India. This will offer more accurate and consistent information to help improve our customers online experience.

See Latest UK Visa News at

  • What is a visa?

    A visa (or entry clearance) is a certificate that is put into your passport or travel document that gives you permission to enter the United Kingdom (UK). On arrival in the UK a Border Force officer may check that you are here for the reasons you have stated. For more information about what you might expect on arrival in the UK please visit the UK Border Agency website.

  • When to apply

    For all types of visa, you can apply up to 3 months in advance of your intended date of travel to the UK. Applicants are strongly advised not to confirm their travel arrangements to come to the UK until they have received their visa.

  • How to apply

    There are 8 steps to complete the visa application process. You are advised to read through the application steps set out below before you make your visa application so you are clear about the procedure and requirements.

    Step 1 - Check if you need a visa

    Use the 'Do I need a visa' guide on the UK Border Agency website to see if you need a visa. If you need a visa you should follow the steps outlined below.

    Step 2 - Read the information on your visa category

    Before you decide to apply for a visa please make sure you familiarize yourself with the information on the visa category you are applying for. Quick links to information on visa categories and other helpful information can be found on the 'Visa Information' page on this website. You may also want to read the Immigration Rules as your visa application will need to meet these requirements.

    Step 3 - Complete your visa application form

    You should submit 1 visa application for each individual applying for a visa, including children. Please ensure that you select the correct visa application for the purpose of your visit

    Download an appropriate visa application form from the UK Border Agency website
    You should print your completed visa application form on good quality paper and ensure that the information does not extend beyond the margins on the paper.
    Complete the application form in English and sign it.
    Ensure that you complete all the sections correctly. If you make a mistake in filling in any of the sections you will need to make the change on the form and sign against it.

Nigeria's unemployment figures remain same for years

BY Ini Ekott and Emmanuel Ogala
July 16, 2011 11:39AM

For several weeks now, hordes of Nigerians responding to job opening calls placed an intimidating number of applications on the websites of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC).

As of the first week of July, applications to 27 multi-discipline vacancies of the federal statistics office had topped a million, triggering a momentary system failure, according to some officials who spoke in Abuja.

The figure could not, however, be independently verified, but the two advertisements, spanning a mandatory six-week period, according to the officials speaking confidentially, have rekindled a troubling reality of an alarming employment crisis the nation has continued to face despite purported economic improvements.

"The NBS is hoping to take only about 300 but the number of applications has passed one million already," a research staff of the NBS told NEXT, with the recruitment window still to last to July 31.

"If you just announce an opening in this country, be prepared for a selection process that must definitely overwhelm you."

Yet, a government-approved figure of the unemployed, a crucial index that should help steer developmental plans, has placed the proportion of Nigerians without jobs at 19.7 percent - a controversial estimate that has been rejected by different labour groups and even government officials.

"The unemployment rate is 19.7 percent. Even though I have a different opinion, the NBS are the people with the constitutional mandate to give unemployment figure and that is what we are working with," Labour minister, Emeka Worgu, said during his confirmation for appointment at the senate a fortnight ago.

The former minister of Finance and now minister for Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said the figure may be as much as 24.4 percent for 2010.

The Nigeria Labour Congress rejected the figure when it was first released in 2009, arguing that realities then, which still persist, should perk the figure at least 50 percent.

"Find out about the number of people who applied for the last recruitment by the Nigeria Immigration Service and the Customs Service," Issa Aremu, the NLC vice chairman said then.

"I think in the real sense, it should be about 50 percent. When more than a hundred thousand people apply for just about 3,000 vacancies, then you should know whether the figures are true," he added.

Ironically, two years on, and with same alarming outpouring of the unemployed for few job positions, the NBS-computed 19.7 percent, first obtained exclusively mid-2009 by NEXT, has remained officially the same, and is being proclaimed by the government as the latest unemployment data which charts federal planning and influences global perception.

PhD Thesis Award for students throughout the world


The International Academy of Wood Science is a non-profit assembly of elected wood scientists, recognizing all fields of wood science with their associated technological domains.

IAWS wishes to provide recognition to outstanding wood science thesis/dissertation research at the PhD level by students throughout the world. The competition is limited to students receiving their degrees in other than their native country. The purpose is to foster and recognize cross-national interaction.

1. The submission shall be no more than 2 pages of an extended abstract (in English) of the thesis/dissertation and a one-page CV of the student. The submission can be by the student and/or the student’s advisor.

2. The thesis/dissertation must have been completed within the period of 26 April 2010—26 April 2011. The documentation shall be sent by email to the Chair of the IAWS Board, George Jeronimidis (

3. The deadline for receipt of the submission is 30 September.

4. Judging of the submissions shall be done by the IAWS Board, which will make recommendations to the Executive Committee for the final decisions.

5. Up to three annual awards may be given and will be designated as gold, silver, and bronze for first, second, and third places, respectively. The winners will receive appropriate medals and certificates to commemorate their awards, and the results will be published in the IAWS Bulletin and on the IAWS web page.

6. The gold medal winner will be invited to attend an IAWS meeting and present his/her work. IAWS will provide up to $US1000 to cover the expenses of the travel and attendance.

What does it take to work in Retail?

Have you ever thought about working in retail? It’s certainly a big industry. Over 11% of the UK’s working population are employed in the retail sector and it’s a sector that’s predicted to grow by around 15% over the next 5 years. This makes it a really big business, and one that’s ripe with opportunities for people looking for work.

One of the things that sometimes puts people off working in the retail sector is the thought of working as a shop assistant. Of course, this is an absolutely vital part of retail and the industry couldn’t survive without it, but actually the retail sector is much more diverse than many people think. This means that there is likely to be retail jobs to suit everyone from school leavers and students looking for part time jobs in London to people looking for full time jobs in Bristol.

As well as selling goods and customer service, retail also includes aspects such as buying. This involves sourcing and buying products to sell in shops, as well as sourcing materials that can be used in manufacturing before entering the retail chain. You could also find yourself working in design, coming up with new product ideas or in HR, providing professional support to managers and hiring and training new staff. You could also get involved with the financial side of the organisation, making sure all regulations are complied with, or perhaps developing IT business systems to benefit the whole company. Other retail jobs could be taking care of the PR – promoting the company’s products – merchandising products to maximise sales, managing a store or working in retail banking.

As you can see, there is much more to retail than first meets the eye. If you’ve ever thought about working in the sector and are currently contemplating your next move, what are some of the key qualities you should have to make your retail career a success? Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list as many qualities will vary depending on what sort of job you go for, but hopefully it will give you a guide as to what might be expected of you:
  • Customer service. There’s no getting away from it; retail is always going to be customer focused and so this is a really crucial part of working in the industry.
  • Forward thinking. Much of the retail sector’s success depends on its ability to continue to develop and grow, so if you can plan ahead and assess the potential impact of decisions, you could be great at this.
  • Innovation. Retail also needs things to be done better, faster, to a higher standard and more efficiently all the time. Creative and innovative thinking is vital.
  • Management. Retail depends on good management to keep things running smoothly, so this is another really important quality. If you have good time management skills or experience of managing other people, it could be a good career for you.
  • Perseverance. Like any other industry, parts of the retail sector are very competitive so determination to succeed is vital in this fast paced environment

Canada's economy created a surprisingly high number of jobs

Canada's economy created a surprisingly high number of jobs in June, but dismal U.S. data and lack of wage inflation may mean the central bank keeps its foot on the accelerator for a while longer with low rates.

Net employment gains in the month totaled 28,400, Statistics Canada said on Friday, compared with the 15,000 expected by markets. The transport and warehousing industry did the most hiring and overall gains were mostly in part-time and public sector jobs.

The unemployment rate held steady at 7.4 percent as more people entered the labor market.

The job market has been stronger than expected for three straight months now, good news for an economy that is seen to have slumped in the second quarter but may regain momentum in the second half of the year.

"It was a pretty decent number. ... It's basically suggesting the economy continues to expand at a fairly decent rate," said Sheryl King, chief economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Canada.

But weakness south of the border, where U.S. employers hired the fewest number of workers in nine months, quickly dampened spirits in Canadian markets.

The U.S. economy actually created fewer jobs than its Canadian counterpart in June despite being many times its size.

The Canadian dollar, which had firmed to a session high against the U.S. dollar after the Statscan release, tumbled on the U.S. numbers to a session low of C$0.9665 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0347.

Keep your career healthy - even if you're not

When you're diagnosed with a long-term health problem -- such as multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder, even arthritis or back problems -- the cost of your care is just one of your money worries. There's also a threat to your earning power. Should you reveal the condition to your boss or hide it as long as possible? When your employer finds out, could you fall off the promotion track? Get pushed into a dead-end position? Lose your job altogether?

There are laws to protect workers, but whether you are covered by them will depend on the size of your company, says Chris Kuczynski of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If you know you're having trouble doing certain parts of your job, don't let fear of discrimination keep you from saying something, says Krista Pratt, an employment attorney in Boston. Silence is risky, because people who are demoted or fired before speaking up usually aren't protected by the law. However, before you talk, be prepared.

Ask your doctor what accommodations -- reasonable changes to your work environment -- may become necessary. For example, you may need ergonomic fixes in your office or a delayed start time if meds make you drowsy in the morning.

Assuming you work at a firm with 15 or more employees, under federal law you can't be fired for a disability as long as you can perform the "essential" functions of your job -- even if you need accommodations. And at firms with 50 or more employees, workers are typically entitled, if a doctor says it's necessary, to 12 unpaid weeks of leave within a 12-month period. State and local laws may apply to small companies; contact your state's equal employment office.

You may not feel comfortable opening up to your immediate boss about your condition. So start by presenting your HR department, or the higher-up you most trust, with a letter from your doctor that simply says you have a medical condition and that you'll need accommodations. Your company can ask for another letter stating the diagnosis, but the conversation often doesn't go that far.

Be as specific as possible about the accommodations you want and try to offer your employer more than one option. That lowers the chance that they'll balk, says Brian East, an attorney at Disability Rights Texas, an advocacy group. By law, companies can deny any accommodation that causes undue hardship.

Even after granting accommodations, your boss may eventually decide that you can no longer do your current job. In such cases, an employer with at least 15 workers must offer to move you to a comparable position in the firm, as long as one is available and you can do it. But if there's no vacant slot on par with yours, you may be offered a job lower in status and in pay.

Rather than simply accepting a lesser position, propose a new role that has clear benefits for the company. Let's say you're in sales but can no longer travel regularly to meet with clients. You might propose taking over local clients, plus adding office duties such as training. [SourceStaying Healthy (Life Skills Library)

Australia enforces new, tighter immigration rules

Melbourne: Australia's new immigration rules that focus on higher qualification and advance English language skills as requirements for those wanting to migrate to this country, came into effect today. The new rules, according to Australian officials, aim to pick up the "best and the brightest" from the pool of applicants, and have been criticised by Indian groups here.

The Australian government announced changes to its independent skilled migration points test, introducing the new immigration point system to put more emphasis on work experience and high-level educational qualification with higher English language proficiency. "These changes to the points test are an important next step in the series of reforms to the skilled migration programme announced by the Government in February this year," Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said. "The reforms set the foundations for a skilled migration programme that will be responsive to our economic needs and continue to serve Australia's interests in the medium to long term," he added.

However, the new programme has been criticised by the Federation of Indian Association of Victoria (FIAV) which said the level of English proficiency is like an "iron curtain" being imposed on migration in this country. IAV president Vasan Srinivasan said the organisation sympathises with the government's need to attract to Australia migrants with good English speaking skills but the requirement that is appropriate for skilled professionals like for doctors and accountants, should not be required for other less professional occupations.

How to Avoid Hurting Your Career With Social Media

Q: I’m sometimes pretty casual with what I post to Facebook and Twitter. Do you have some general advice about using social media so I can avoid damaging my career?

In today’s environment when everyone’s competing intensely to advance and get raises, everything you do counts. And so you need to pay more attention to all your communications, from emails to voice mails to yes, Twitter messages and Facebook status updates. In a world with less and less face to face communication, you have to be a lot smarter about how you interact with and message people. And the reality is that the line between the personal and the private is blurring. So something you think is appropriately private may go public, or something personal may surface in your work environment. As a result, these new messaging platforms are areas you need to pay extra special attention to. I’d also think hard about what types of discussions require face to face communication, such as if you’re presenting a big or complicated idea, or perhaps offering criticism that someone may be sensitive to. In fact, I’d say you should almost make face to face communication your default mode where possible.

I once advised a manager at a financial institution who, in the heat of the moment, tweeted a derogatory comment about his boss. Although he thought it was a direct message, somehow the tweet got around and his boss wound up putting him on probation because of it. I tried to advise him to explain to his boss the circumstances of the message and how he would work to repair the relationship, but to little avail, since the situation continued to deteriorate and he was eventually fired.

The lesson is that you have to really think about who’s seeing your messages, information, and photos when you’re sending them out, and become more aware of how it impacts your image and brand. So if you’re out partying, maybe you should make sure to not appear too drunk or have too many bottles of alcohol in the photo. Even setting careful privacy settings on social networks is no guarantee, since you don’t know what kind of privacy settings your friends have set on their profiles. So you need to choose your friends and contacts on these social networks wisely, and be cognizant of who your information is going out to and what impression it forms of you. 

Launch of a new Customer Satisfaction survey for the overseas visa application process

The UK Border Agency aims to deliver the highest possible level of customer service during the visa application process. We measure this through the regular collection and analysis of customer feedback. Today we are launching a new Customer Satisfaction survey with the aim of giving us improved insight into what customers, sponsors and legal representatives think about our service. This survey builds on the previous customer survey that was conducted during March 2011.

The results from the new Satisfaction Survey will be published on a monthly basis and will help us to improve the quality of services we deliver to our customers and inform the future delivery of our services. The survey is completely anonymous and should only take approximately 5 minutes to complete. Please take this opportunity to provide your contribution by completing the survey which can be accessed on the UK Border Agency website.

Online tourist visa to Australia expands to Croatia and Maldives

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Govt of Australia is pleased to announce the expansion of the electronic tourist visa program to citizens of Croatia and the Maldives.

From July 1, citizens of Croatia and the Maldives can apply electronically for the e676 online tourist visa using a fast, secure and convenient application process.

The online visa gives applicants the ability to check the progress of their application electronically and does not require a visa label to be placed in a passport.

Once granted, a notification is sent to the client providing details of the visa and airlines are able to confirm the visa entitlements through the Advanced Passenger Processing System.

Clients can also, if they wish, print a copy of their visa approval notification email to carry with them while travelling to Australia.

For more information and to gain access to the lodgement gateway, go to