Move to South Africa – The Temporary Residence Visa

There are various types of Temporary Residence permits available, however the key information is that these permits are issued on the basis that applicants intend to visit South Africa for a period of over 3 months but not exceeding 3 years.

Temporary Residency

There are various types of Temporary Residence permits available, however the key information is that these permits are issued on the basis that applicants intend to visit South Africa for a period of over 3 months but not exceeding 3 years and for the following reasons:

  • Study Permit/Visa
  • Relatives Permit/Visa
  • Medical Permit/Visa
  • Retired Persons Visa/Permit
  • Business Visa/Permit
  • Work Permit

There are various websites, immigration consultancies as well as the South African High Commission that is able to provide you with more detailed information like specific documents required to process each application.

With the intention to work in South Africa, this proves to be a little more complex and with that comes over four varied types of work permits that will allow you the opportunity to work in South Africa, with the ultimate intention to gain permanent residency at the end of a 5 year period:

General Work Permit – Issued to foreigners on the basis that the current employer based in South Africa has proved through various advertising & legislative means that there is no South African citizen with the required skill set to fill that vacancy

Quota Work Permit – Published in 2006 and recently updated in 2009 the Quota’s and list of professional categories, are for those applicants who fall into the specialised categories and have proof of a minimum of ‘5 years’ work experience in their profession. This permit also is allocated without any formal job offer as well as no proof given by prospective employers to motivate why the position cannot be filled by a South African citizen

Exceptional Skills Permit – Although there is no clear legislative definition for what is considered ‘exceptional skills’ when applying for this permit, it does however state that there does not have to be secure employment in place when applying for this permit. Obviously individuals with a doctorate or the equivalent qualification in their field will aid your application tremendously. (This permit is valid for up to 3 years with a possible extension)

Inter Company Transfer – Employment within a multinational company which involves travelling or even being transferred to another country. This is a foreign national that has been transferred through their company to South Africa, regarded as ‘Key Personnel’ and in such cases don’t generally need to prove that steps have been taken to source a South African citizen for the position. (This permit is only valid for 2 years and cannot be extended)

Corporate Permit – This is a permit that is issued to the employing company and not to the prospective employee. This permit tends to ideally work when a company based in South Africa is requiring foreign nationals to carry out a specific role i.e. foreign language requirement. This is a lengthy, costly and complex process for the employing company to go through however once that has been issued to the employing company the prospective employee must then apply individually for a work permit, which is less complex and more streamlined for the individual than applying for a normal work permit

Review student visa rules: British Council

Amidst reports of declining number of student applications from India, the British Council has called for an "urgent review" of recent changes to the student visa system, particularly the closure of the popular post-study work visa from April this year.

The British Council, which is responsible for promoting British education overseas, presented a detailed report to the government on the likely impact the recent student visa changes will have, and compared the experiences of Australia and US in this regard.

Indians are among the highest number of international students coming to the UK every year, and many apply for the post-study work visa to recover some of the funds spent to study here, but the closure of the post-study work visa is seen as a major deterrent.

There are already reports of a decline of nearly 30 percent in applications from the Indian sub-continent.

International students are estimated to contribute over 14 billion pounds annually to the UK economy.

This week, Immigration minister Damian Green announced that new rules will come into force within weeks to cut abuse of the student visa route and ensure that only the brightest and the best students can stay and work in the UK.

A British Council spokesperson told PTI today that it "absolutely supports" the David Cameron government's aim to attract genuine students to the UK, and prevent 'bogus' students from entering and taking places ahead of genuine students.

In a report titled 'Impact of Visa Changes on Student Mobility and Outlook for the UK', the British Council said: "Students from certain countries who mainly study postgraduate courses in the UK such as India, Pakistan and others -- will be affected by the removal of the post-study work visa... The sooner this situation is addressed, the more contained the damage of bad publicity overseas will be."

Procedures to apply for Visa-free entry & Transit (G) Visa to China

Visa-free entry for visitors
No visa is required for ordinary passport holders from Singapore, Brunei and Japan to visit China for up to 15 days for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends or transit.
Visa-free transit
1. Visas are not required of aliens who hold air tickets to the final destination and have booked seats on international airliners flying directly through China, and will stay in a transit city for less than 24 hours without leaving the airport.
2. Visas are not required of passport holders of the following countries, who transit through Pudong Airport or Hongqiao Airport of Shanghai, provided they hold valid passports, visas for the onward countries, final destination tickets and have booked seats, and stay in Shanghai for less than 48 hours : Republic of Korea, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Austria, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland.
Apply for a Transit Visa (G Visa)
Transit Visa (G Visa) is issued to an alien who transits through China. 
Ⅰ.Please submit the following documents with your application:
1. A valid passport as well as a copy of its information page: Your valid passportmust have at least six (6) months of remaining validity with at least one blank visa page in it. 2. Application form: One completed Visa Application Form (Q1). 3. Photo: one recent photo of 2*2 square inch (black & white or color is acceptable) glued or stapled on the application form. 4. Temporary foreign visitors with a valid US visa or foreign residents with legitimate status in the US, may apply for Chinese visa to the Visa Office of the Chinese Embassy. The visa officer may ask the applicant to provide the original and photocopy of their US Green Card,Work Permit,I-20 Form, valid US Visa or other additional documents and make a decision on whether to issue the visa case by case. 5. First time applicants whose former nationality was Chinese, shall write down his Chinese name in the application form and submit his original Chinese passport and the photocopy of the information page of the passport. Applicant who was formerly Chinese and has acquired a new US passport, if there is a Chinese visa in the old passport, shall submit his old US passport or the photocopy of the Chinese visa. 6. A valid visa of the country of destination, and a final destination airline ticket.
Ⅱ.How to apply
1.You may submit the application to the Visa Office of the Embassy or Consulate -General which holds consular jurisdiction over the state where you reside; 2.If you cannot come in person, you may entrust someone else or a travel/visa agent to drop off your application at the visa office of the Embassy or Consulate -General which holds consular jurisdiction over the state where you reside.
▲No appointment is required.
▲Mailed applications are not acceptableand will be refused.
Ⅲ.Processing Time
1.The regular processing time is 4 working days.
2.Express service: 2-3 working days processing, $20 will be charged per visa.
3.Same day rush service: emergency only, with additional fees of $30 for 1 working day processing (applications presented before 12:30pm may be picked up between 2:30pm-3:00pm on the same day).
Ⅳ.Visa fees
1. Please pay by Visa, MasterCard, Money Order, Cashier's Check or Company Check. Cash or Personal checks are not acceptable.
2. Please make the company check, cashier's check or money order payable to Chinese Embassy.
Number of Entry
Duration of stay 
Citizens of other countries
 90 days
1-10 days
90 days
1-10 days (each entry)

Ⅴ.Additional Information
1. If the visa application form is not filled out completely, correctly and legibly, this can cause a delay in processing or refusal of the requested visa. 2.Please request your visa according to your times of entry, duration of stay and time of entry. Generally, there are no multiple transit visa.
3.Visa Officers are empowered to decide on the times of entry, duration of stay and time of entry, following certain regulations, and may require the applicants provide some other relevant documents.
4.Any person suffering from a mental disorder, leprosy, AIDS, venereal diseases, contagious tuberculosis or other such infectious diseases shall not be permitted to enter China.
All regulations are subject to change without notice.

Experimental Size Class Employment, Hours, and Earnings Series from the Current Employment Statistics Survey

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program is examining the feasibility of publishing monthly CES employment, hours, and earnings estimates by firm size. Currently, BLS publishes the first preliminary CES employment estimates for a given month at selected industry detail. Subsequent estimates for that month are published in more industry detail with the following month’s first estimates. Research suggests that the available sample may make it feasible to publish monthly size-class employment estimates by major industry sector together with the first preliminary estimates. Employment change by firm size would add a valuable dimension of detail to understanding current employment trends. More at

How to Dress for a Job Fair - How to Impress Employers

Did you know the most often cited complaint from employers at career fairs is that students were not dressed in professional attire? Think about it from the employer's perspective. If you were hiring an intern or professional employee, would you be more impressed with a student in a professional business suit or a student dressed in a t-shirt and jeans? Many employers will even make notes on the student's resume of how they were dressed as a reminder of who was prepared and who was not.

Prarthana Dalal, 2011 International BioGENEius Challenge Winner

Prarthana Dalal, a freshman at Northwestern University from Leawood, Kan., presented her project that focuses on understanding treatment mechanisms for sickle cell disease, "Modeling of human non-deletional hereditary persistence of fetal hemoglobin conditions in β-globin locus transgenic mouse models." Prarthana's project concentrates on hemoglobingenetics and how sequence changes can affect fetal hemoglobin production in mouse models.

US unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent

The U.S. economy added 243,000 payroll jobs in January 2012 and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. One month does not a trend make, but the past several months of data show a labor market that is recovering, and an economy that has been accelerating even as fears of a double-dip recession rose. 
For those of us who believe the U.S. economy is performing better, stronger and faster than its peers in the developed world, and than many pessimists expect, this is something of a vindication.
Positive payroll number. The economy created 243,000 jobs. There was no great post-Christmas season let-down in hiring, as many analysts expected. Strength was across the board. Manufacturing added 50,000 positions. Health care and education added decent chunks of jobs, per usual, but professional services added 70,000 and retail added 10,000 jobs. Average weekly earnings rose a bit, and were up 2.5 percent from January 2011.
The conservative recovery continues. Once again, as has been the case for much of the past two years, employment growth is coming about in spite of government spending, not because of it. As states, cities and the federal government have embraced austerity, employment in the public sector has been falling. As the accompanying chart shows, pretty much every month, the private sector adds jobs while the public sector subtracts payroll positions. Between May 2010 and January 2012, the public sector cut 1.024 million jobs while the private sector added 2.245 million. The trend continued in January, with the private sector adding 257,000 and government cutting 14,000 jobs.
The trend remains the friend. Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics revisits the data from the previous two months and revises it. Every January, it looks back over its statistics and revises previously reported statistics. This month, the data were generally revised upwards. November's jobs number, originally reported as a gain of 120,000 in December and revised to 100,000 in January, was revised to 157,000. December's gain, originally reported as 200,000, was revised to 203,000. That's an additional 60,000 jobs. And the so-called benchmark revision resulted in a revision of the December 2011 employment figure upward by 266,000.

US jobs gap between young and old is widest ever

WASHINGTON (AP) — An analysis by the Pew Research Center, released in the 2nd week of February 2012, detailed the impact of the recent recession on the struggles of the young Americans. They have suffered bigger income losses than other age groups and are less likely to be employed than at any time since World War II.

With government data showing record gaps in employment between young and old, a Pew survey found that 41 percent of Americans believe that younger adults have been hit harder than any other group, compared with 29 percent who say middle-aged Americans and 24 percent who point to seniors 65 and older. A wide majority of the public — at least 69 percent — also said it's more difficult for today's young adults than their parents' generation to pay for college, find a job, buy a home or save for the future.

Among young adults ages 18 to 34, only a third rated their financial situation as "excellent" or "good," compared with 54 percent for seniors age 65 and over. In 2004, before the recession began, about half of both young and older adults rated their own financial situation highly.

The latest numbers offered a mixed picture for young adults, many of them minorities, whose strong turnout and 2-1 support for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 buoyed him to election. As voters this year point to the economy as their top concern, a slew of recent census data have underscored the difficulties of young adults: in record numbers, they are shunning long-distance moves in the economic downturn to live with mom and dad, delaying marriage and raising kids out of wedlock, if they're becoming parents at all.

Pew based its findings on Bureau of Labor Statistics data as well as a poll of 2,048 adults interviewed by cellphone or landline from Dec. 6-19, 2011. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points for all respondents, higher for subgroups.

US denies more work visas to Indians: report says

US immigration authorities, in the past four years, have denied more work-related visas, with India-born professionals being refused at higher rates than nationals of other countries, an American think tank said in a report today.

Analysis of new data obtained from US Citizenship and Immigration Services showed the agency had increased denials of L-1 and H-1B petitions beginning 2008, thus harming the competitiveness of US employers and encouraging companies to keep more jobs and resources outside the country, said the report released by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP).

The report entitled "Data Reveal High Denial Rates for L-1 and H-1 Petitions at USCIS" indicated most of the increase in denials involves India-born professionals and researchers.

The denial rate for India-born applicants for new L-1B petitions rose from 2.8 per cent in fiscal year 2008 to 22.5 per cent in FY 2009, a substantial increase that resulted in many employers being unable to transfer their employees into the US to work on research projects or serve customers, it said.

Illustrating the abrupt change, immigration authorities denied more L-1B petitions for new petitions for Indians in FY 2009 (1,640) than in the previous nine fiscal years combined (1,341 denials between FY 2000 and FY 2008), it said.

The report noted, "If one considers that in FY 2011 63 per cent of all L-1B petitions received a Request for Evidence and 27 per cent were issued a denial, that means US Citizenship and Immigration Services adjudicators denied or delayed between 63 per cent to 90 per cent of all L-1B petitions in 2011."

"USCIS adjudicators have demonstrated a capacity to keep skilled foreign nationals out of the US by significantly increasing denials, along with often time-consuming Requests for Evidence, despite no change in the law or relevant regulations," said Stuart Anderson, NFAP's executive director.

According to the report, denial rates for L-1B petitions filed with USCIS, which are used to transfer employees with "specialised knowledge" into the US, rose from seven per cent in 2007 to 22 per cent in 2008, despite no change in the law or relevant regulation.

The denial rates stayed high for L-1B petitions at 26 per cent in 2009, 22 per cent in 2010 and 27 per cent in 2011. In addition, 63 per cent of L-1B petitions in 2011 were at least temporarily denied or delayed due to a Request for Evidence.

Denial rates for H-1B petitions increased from 11 per cent in 2007 to 29 per cent in 2009, and remained higher than in the past for H-1Bs at 21 per cent in 2010 and 17 per cent in 2011, it said.

"The dramatic increase in denial rates and Requests for Evidence for employment petitions without any change in the law or regulations raises questions about the training, supervision and procedures of the career bureaucracy that adjudicates petitions and the US government's commitment to maintaining a stable business climate for companies competing in the global economy," the report said.

The NFAP said given the resources involved, employers are selective about who they sponsor. The high rate of denials (and Requests for Evidence) come from a pool of applicants selected because US employers believe the foreign nationals meet the standard for approval.

"Denying employers the ability to transfer in key personnel or gain entry for a skilled professional or researcher harms innovation and job creation in the United States, encouraging employers to keep more resources outside the country to ensure predictability," the report said.

Immigration firm sealed, this time for lack of work permit licence

The Immigration SIT accompanied by Protector of Emigrants (POE), Chandigarh, today searched the sealed office of an immigration firm called WWICS in Sector 22.

The police have seized certain documents and advertisements given by the WWICS regarding work permit into their possession. The documents clearly show that the company was issuing work permits without having any work permit licence, which is contravention of the provisions of Emigration Act 1983.

After their office was sealed, WWICS had made a presentation to the UT SSP and stated that their website was a global website and the work permit was meant for overseas clients and not for Indians. The company had also claimed that they were not dealing with work permits in India and they had applied for renewal of their license to the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

During investigation, it was found that the data available on Alexa website, 72 per cent of the traffic on the global website of WWICS was from within India and it is evident of the facts that majority of audience on its “global” website was chiefly Indian.

The company reportedly changed its global website after action by SIT, to show that work permits are meant for overseas branches whereas before action of SIT, no such condition was mentioned on the website. Further, as the company is not in possession of work permit certificate from POE. The manager of WWICS has been asked to clarify 25 points by the SIT as well as Protector of Emigrants within two days.

The SIT had earlier sealed raided and sealed 20 immigration/emigration firms in the city, operating without work licenses.

Russian detained in Zimbabwe on visa violation freed has been released

Russian citizen earlier detained in Zimbabwe on violating visa regime has been released and is now on his way to Moscow, a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The detainee had arrived in Zimbabwe on a tourist visa but worked for a mining company without a work permit, which is a serious offense subject to long prison term.

The man was released following an official appeal from the Russian Embassy in Harare.


Immigration firm told to refund money

Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II has directed a local immigration consultancy to refund Rs 1.08 lakh to a youth for failing to send him to Australia for higher studies.

President of the Forum Lakshman Sharma and Members Madhu Mutneja and Jaswinder Singh Sidhu have also directed the consultancy to pay Rs 7,000 to the complainant Onkar Verma as cost of litigation.

In his complaint, Verma told the Forum that in 2007, he was allured by the advertisement issued by the firm about its specialisation in providing consultation for immigration to various countries. He approached the firm and stated that he wanted to go to Australia for higher studies.

Verma said the executives at the firm assured him that he fulfilled the eligibility conditions for immigration to Australia. He gave all the requisite documents to the firm for completion the formalities for his immigration. At their bid, he gave a demand draft of Rs 16,100 in the name of the Australian High Commission as 'initial assessment fee'. He gave another demand draft of 1500 Australian dollars in the name of an Australian institute; Rs 18,521 as visa fee and service charges, and Rs 1.08 lakh as processing charges.

In addition, he paid Rs 10,000 in cash for filing charges, against which no receipt was issued. Verma also spent Rs 7,000 for obtaining medical certificates from the doctors of the Australian High Commission to get the student visa.

Verma said he was shocked when he received a letter from Australian government in July 2009 that he did not satisfy the relevant criteria for grant of student visa, and his application had been rejected. The ground given in the rejection letter was that the complainant had not provided acceptable evidence that the amount of funds available with him were sufficient to meet the course fee, living cost and school cost. Verma stated in his complaint that the rejection of his visa was due to the negligent and deficient services provided by the firm, and demanded the refund of his money.

In its reply submitted in the court, the firm stated that Verma's complaint was baseless, and he had not produced any document or evidence to show that he paid even a single penny to the company to hire its services.

The company submitted some documents in support of its arguments. But after studying these documents, the Forum stated that these were "false, fabricated and manipulated". The Forum agreed that the cheques and demand drafts placed on record by Verma were not paid to the consultancy firm. However, an amount of Rs 1.08 lakh had been paid to a person who was the Accountant/Authorized Signatory of the firm.

The Forum added that the letter sent by the Australian High Commission proved that the firm had handled the case of the complainant for obtaining visa from Australia. After considering the case, the Forum agreed that the firm had been negligent in providing adequate services to Verma, and directed it to refund his money and also pay litigation costs.

UK Home Office announces hike in migrant visa fees

Employers face a hike in visa fees for skilled migrant workers, after the government announced substantial rises “to generate revenue and reduce the burden on the UK taxpayer”.

Minister for Immigration Damian Green said that fees for skilled workers, or Tier 2 migrants, will increase by 20 per cent to £480, while employer sponsorship licences will shoot up by 46 per cent to £1,500 for large companies, and by 61 per cent to £500 for small companies.

However, Green said that while the decision to increase fee charges was a deliberate strategy choice, the UK Border Agency had limited the majority of visa increases to about 2 per cent.

Green said: “Given the ongoing need to reduce public spending, we believe it is right that we continue to seek to reduce the burden on UK taxpayers of delivering the border and immigration system by asking migrants to make a greater contribution to the funding of the UK Border Agency.

“Some fees are set above the administrative cost of providing the service to generate the revenue which is used to help fund the UK immigration system and which enables others to be set below cost recovery to support wider government objectives. The revenue generated will contribute towards securing the UK’s border and controlling migration for the benefit of the UK.

"It is only fair that those who use and benefit from the immigration system contribute a higher share of the cost of running it.”

But business organisation the CBI criticised the hikes as a “bitter blow” for firms.

“The shock announcement that some work permit charges will rise between 20 and 60 per cent will come as a bitter blow to businesses,” said Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills policy.

“Firms have yet to see the improvements in customer service they were promised, in return for the last tranche of inflation-busting rises last year.”

Fee changes are expected to come into force in April 2012 but must be agreed by both Houses of Parliament first.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: “I think that the changes to sponsorship licences will cause some concern. Employers often use Tier 2 as a last resort because they cannot find suitably skilled and experienced staff from the domestic workforce, so it’s not optional, it’s often a necessity.

“Increases in fees or licences will be a difficult pill for many employers to swallow when they are facing particular cost pressures.

“It also comes at a time when the number of licences being awarded to employers has been lowered. While it’s indisputable that the demand for labour is the main driver behind this, some employers are also saying that the cost and complexity of applying is also deterring them.”

He said that smaller businesses would be hardest hit by the charge increases, particularly in a time of economic uncertainty.

“SMEs had benefited in particular from the Tier 1 route because they didn’t have to get sponsorship and the talent was readily available because people were already in the workforce or at least in the UK.

"Now that tier has been closed off. Tier 2 is much more formulaic, more complex and more costly, which has, and will, deter some SMEs from applying.”

Preparing for a Career Fair

When approaching an employer's table, make sure you have prepared a 30 second "commercial" to introduce yourself and market your strengths. You will want to tell the employer 1) your name, 2) your major or academic background, 3) what position you are seeking, and 4) why you are qualified or why you should be considered. Also prepare questions for the employer. The questions should not be anything that should already be known such as what they do or for what positions they are recruiting. You should also avoid salary related questions unless the employer brings up the topic first. Sample questions are 1) what are they looking for in an applicant? 2) what can a new employee expect in their first year on the job? 3) what is the work environment like at this organization, 4) what is their hiring time line and process for the position?

Priyen Patel, 2011 U.S. National BioGENEius Media Award Winner

Priyen Patel, a junior at Sussex Technical High School in Seaford, Del., who won the U.S. National BioGENEius Media Award, completed a project that focused on filtering ibuprofen and acetaminophen using various water filters to determine the concentration of drugs in drinking water. Priyen's project is titled "Over-the Counter and In Your Water? The Most Effective Filtration of Pharmaceuticals."

Canadian Alliance of Student Associations lobbying to reduce fees for international students

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, comprised of 26 students' unions accross Canada, is lobbying the federal government to reduce fees for international students. The federal government and university administration say international students are not taxpayers, and therefore should not receive subsidized rates for tuition.

International students pay tuition fees three times higher than domestic students. Additionally, most student visas do not come with a multiple entry permit. Each time a student leaves the country the student has to re-apply for another visa. International students are also not allowed to work off-campus unless they have a work permit visa, an application process that costs $150.

These difficulties are faced by the 190,000 international students attending post-secondary institutions across Canada.

"With 30,000 students attending [U of C] it can be very tough getting a job on campus. Therefore, by not being able to work off-campus my chance of getting a job is almost next to none," said first-year international student from Malaysia Nazmi Sharaani.

Reasons for high international student fees are due to the fact that the government subsidizes up to 80 per cent of domestic student fees.

"The premise is that post-secondary education is a public good and each student is subsidized by the taxpayers of Alberta and Canada to get their education," said associate vice-provost enrolment David Johnston.

The government defines a domestic student as any student who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, in other words, a tax-paying member of society.

"A positive aspect for international students in Canada is that they are allowed to work. There are many countries where international students are not allowed to work at all, and we feel that this is one of the advantages of being an international student in Canada," said Johnston. "You have opportunities that you don't have elsewhere."

Johnston said that the university would prefer not to charge international students high fees, but that is currently not an option.

The su believes, however, that subsidizing part of international student fees should not be viewed as fiscal drainage. Instead, it should be viewed as an investment.

"Alberta and Canada are world leaders when it comes to retention rates of international students. Thirty-three per cent of the people who come here as international students end up seeking residence after they've completed their education," said su vice-president external Matt McMillan. "Not only does it benefit international students but it also substantially benefits our economy by equipping us with a much-needed supply of trained labour. It also helps diversify our culture."

There has not been much interest in lowering international student tuition. McMillan said the political will for an issue to be addressed depends on if election votes will be garnered.

"Unfortunately international students are not eligible to vote," he said.

While the reduction of international student tuition fees is far from fruition, introducing multiple-entry student visas and the reducing work permit application fees for international students are efforts that are deemed within reach.

"Unavailability of multiple-entry visas to some students is a very archaic and western system. You'll notice that students from developed countries get multiple-entry visas while ones from developing nations don't," said McMillan. "I had a friend who went to her mother's funeral in Mexico and wasn't allowed back in the country because she had a single-entry visa."

McMillan said lobbying has been done with almost a third of parliament members in Ottawa about this issue, with hopes the $150 work permit fee will be dropped.

One of the most prominent advocates of these efforts in Ottawa has been the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism representing Calgary Southeast, Jason Kenney.

"There is going to be competition for trained foreign labour. When it comes to luring trained foreign workers, Canada's advantage is that, unlike Europe, where multiculturalism struggles to take hold, we're a mosaic society made up of diverse cultures," said McMillan. "Now another way to have a competitive advantage when it comes to luring these trained foreign workers is having a lower international tuition fee. We can foresee this and therefore must act on it because when the labour shortage arrives it is going to hold catastrophic consequences for the economy."

India to US: don’t set back IT success story, ease visas

Washington: Voicing concern over protectionism, India has asked the US to address issues faced by Indian IT professionals, who pay $15 billion in taxes, and reminded Washington that this "success story" should not be set back by stringent visa regulations. "We do hope the current economic challenges in the US would not lead to protectionism and that concerns of Indian IT industry will be addressed quickly," Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said Monday at at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think tank.

Mathai, who is on his first visit to the US as foreign secretary, was speaking on "Building on Convergences: Deepening India-U.S. Strategic Partnership."

Reminding Washington of the contribution of the Indian IT industry and its role in building robust India-US relations, Mathai said the Indians industry employs over 100,000 in the US, up from 20,000 six years ago.

"It supports 200,000 other jobs, including indirect ones, apart from enhancing the competitiveness of some US industries. Most Indian companies are setting up development centers. Indian IT industry contributed $15 billion in taxes over the last 5 years," he said.

"This success story should not be set back by stringent visa regulations which act as a non-tariff barrier," he stressed.

Alluding to over $200 million paid by Indian IT professionals going to the US in visa fees, Mathai said: "Perhaps $30-$50 million has been taken from young aspiring Indians working in businesses whose US visas were rejected. The pink slip has become a greenback!"

"It needs reiteration that the targets of these discriminatory actions are precisely those who have contributed intellectually to the climate of reform in India, and who have been votaries of strong India-US relations," he said.

Calling for deepening of economic ties between India and the US, Mathai said the two countries should not only focus on expanding trade and investment, but also "use the power of innovation to make our economies global leaders in the 21st century."

India and the US can and must strengthen their economic partnership, he said. The flow of trade in goods and services, and investments in both directions has grown several times in the past two decades increasing to $40 billion of US imports, both goods and services.

Kuwait lifts ban on commercial visit visa after five months

Kuwait, which has large number of expatriates from India, has lifted a five-month ban on transferring commercial visit visas to work permits.

The ban had been imposed to regulate the influx of unskilled labourers into the country, thereby maintaining demographic balance, the country's Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MSAL) said.

Expatriates who are academically qualified can now secure work permits, while those without qualifications are only allowed to apply for jobs in which there is a skill shortage, known as 'rare fields,' an MSAL official said.

The eligibility to obtain work permit for unqualified workers will be subject to approval from a labour department's special committee, an official source was quoted by Kuwait Times as saying.
Meanwhile, more regulations will be imposed 'to ensure that human trafficking is eliminated,' the source said.

"These will guarantee that expatriates are only hired in places that desperately require their services," he said.

The visa transfer ban was to be lifted on January 1, 2012, but was postponed until after the elections, which were held on Thursday.

With a population of around 600,000, Indians top the list of non-Arab foreigners living in Kuwait, according to official statistics last year.

Learn English 35 - Job Interview

Learn how to form polite questions in the context of a professional job interview. In this intermediate English lesson you will see a job interview taking place in an office. Listen to the polite way the interviewer is asking questions.

Only quality migrants welcome, says UK

In a move bound to create ripples, Britain today announced a shift of focus in its immigration policy, which now seeks to welcome only those Indian and other non-EU immigrants "who add to the quality of life" barring others with a low income potential.

Two proposals outlined in a major speech by Immigration Minister Damian Green are likely to affect Indian professionals and migrants.

The government has already announced its intention to scrap the Post-Study Work visa for non-EU students, which has been popular among Indians.

Non-EU professionals whose annual income at the end of mandatory five years work and stay in the UK is less than 31,000 pounds will need to return to their countries of origin.

Only those with an income higher than this will be allowed to stay here permanently.

Moreover, British citizens and residents who seek to marry foreign spouses need to show an annual income of around 25,000 pounds before they can bring their spouses here.

The objective is to stop such foreign spouses seeking financial support from the state.

The speech has already come under fire for allegedly focusing on "wealthy immigrants", and preventing young Britons with origins in the Indian sub-continent with limited income from marrying spouses from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh

and other countries.

In the speech at Police Exchange think-tank, Green said he wanted to build a "national consensus" around immigration, adding: "Importing economic dependency on the state is unacceptable.

"Bringing people to this country who can play no role in the life of this country is equally unacceptable".

He said he wanted anyone moving to the UK to join a British spouse "to be able to integrate and be independent", which was why a requirement to speak English was being introduced.

He said he was also proposing to set a minimum income level for any sponsor seeking to bring in a foreign spouse.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said placing an income level before bringing foreign spouses would be "hammer blow to the human rights of cross border partners and their families".

Chief executive Habib Rahman said, "They've already been hit with an age minimum (although we defeated that), language requirements and ever increasing visa fees.

"Now they face what is likely to be an unreasonably high income threshold. One might argue that this government has it in for poor people who fall in love with anyone who's not resident in the UK".

Speaking to the BBC before delivering the speech, Green said he wanted "to be much more intelligently selective about who we let come here", and that anyone individual seeking permanent settlement should be able to command an annual salary of between 31,000 pounds and 49,000 pounds.

He said: "We need to know that you're not going to be living off benefits from day one of arriving here.

"We want people either to fill skill gaps we may have... [or] we want to know that they are being offered jobs that are genuinely at a skill level".

Green said, "Similarly with students, we want to make sure that they are genuine student studying genuine courses at a genuine institution".

US takes steps to attract foreign skilled workforce

Amidst pending comprehensive immigration reform, the United States has proposed several steps – including changes in the F-1 and H-1B visas – to attract foreign skilled workforce, a move likely to benefit professionals from countries like India.

Prominent among these reforms include providing work authorisation for spouses of certain H-1B visa holders, 17-month extension of optional practical training (OPT) for F-1 international students to include students with a prior degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, allow for additional part-time study for spouses of F-1 students and allow outstanding professors and researchers to present a broader scope of evidence of academic achievement.

In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that on February 22, it would launch its 'Entrepreneurs in Residence' initiative with an Information Summit in Silicon Valley.

This will bring together high-level representatives from the entrepreneurial community, academia and federal government agencies to discuss how to maximize current immigration laws' potential to attract foreign entrepreneurial talent.

These moves are in support of President Barack Obama's, efforts to meet 21st century national security and economic needs, the Department of Homeland Security said, adding that he is deeply committed to fixing our broken immigration system so that it meets national security and economic needs.

As a part of comprehensive immigration reform, Obama supports legislative measures that would attract and retain immigrants who create jobs and boost competitiveness in the US, including creating a "Startup Visa," strengthening the H-1B programme, and "stapling" green cards to the diplomas of certain foreign-born graduates in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

US Employment Situation - JANUARY 2012

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Job growth was widespread in the private sector, with large employment gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Government employment changed little over the month.

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in January to 8.3 percent; the rate has fallen by 0.8 point since August. The number of unemployed persons declined to 12.8 million in January.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.7 percent) and blacks (13.6 percent) declined in January. The unemployment rates for adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (23.2 percent), whites (7.4 percent), and Hispanics (10.5 percent) were little changed. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.7 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

In January, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs fell to 7.3 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.5 million and accounted for 42.9 percent of the unemployed.

The PDF version of the news release

Immigration visits Port Pirie

Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) officers will visit Port Pirie on February 23 to provide businesses and overseas workers with information on employer-sponsored visa options.

Two South Australian regional outreach officers will be available for individual appointments with regional employers and employees to answer a range of questions about skilled migration.

“Some businesses in regional communities can find it difficult to fill skilled vacancies with local workers and may want to consider sponsoring suitably qualified workers from overseas,” a departmental spokesman said.

“Our officers will be available to provide a range of information on visa options, market salary rates, health insurance, training requirements and employer obligations.

“The department’s regional outreach program enables people in communities outside capital cities to talk directly with an immigration officer about any specific issues they might face.”

Individual appointments will be available at Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North, 85 Ellen Street, Port Pirie, from 10am-5pm.

To book an appointment, contact Mr Jan Schmortte, industry and regional outreach officer, on 0434 076 437 or email or Ms Amanda Johnson, regional outreach officer on 0478 305 429 or

Media Enquiries: National Communications 0401 458 333 or 08 7421 7673

Online tourist visas for Brazil and Argentina

Tourists from Brazil and Argentina will be able to apply online for a visa to visit Australia from February 15, with applications for the e676 electronic tourist visa now open to them.

A spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) said the e676 allows people to apply for a tourist visa electronically using a fast, secure and convenient application process.

“These new arrangements mean applicants from Brazil and Argentina have the ability to check the progress of their application electronically,” the spokesman said.

“A notification is sent to the client at the time of decision, providing details of the visa, and airlines are able to confirm the visa entitlements through the Advance Passenger Processing system.”

The visa does not require a visa label to be placed in a passport but clients can, if they wish, print a copy of their visa approval notification email to carry with them while traveling to Australia.

Citizens of Brazil or Argentina who are unable to lodge an e676 application online can continue to lodge their tourist visa application directly with the Australian Embassy in Brasilia (Brazil) and Buenos Aires (Argentina) respectively.

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

Media Enquiries: National Communications (02) 6264 2244