What is the pass mark for the points tested visas?

A points test pass mark exists for the points tested skilled migration visas and the business innovation and investment visa.

The points tested skilled migration visas - subclasses 189, 190 and 489 have a points test pass mark of 60 points.
You should note that visa subclasses 885, 886 and 487 will remain open for new applicants until 1 January 2013. The points test pass mark for these visas will remain at 65 points.

The business innovation and investment visa - subclass 188, has an innovation points test pass mark of 65 points.

More information on the points test can be found on the visa subclass pages.

- See more at: http://www.immi.gov.au/skills/skillselect/index/faqs/

Top 10 H1B visa companies outsource jobs overseas: Report

The Top 10 companies benefitting from H-1B visas are offshore outsourcers, a US publication reported Tuesday, prompting an eminent American engineering organisation to seek a review of the ongoing immigration reforms.

"The data shows: Top H-1B users are offshore outsourcers," and Computerworld found that, "based on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data analysed, the major beneficiaries of the proposed increase in the cap would be pure offshore outsourcing firms".

"The analysis comes at a time when a bill before Congress, the "Immigration Innovation Act," would expand the H-1B visa programme from 85,000 visas to more than 4,00,000 annually," Computerworld said.

"This confirms that H-1B visas facilitate the transfer of high-skill, high-paying American jobs to other countries.

Congress should pass laws that create US jobs, not destroy them," said Marc Apter, president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA (IEEE-US).

Most of the largest H-1B users easily account for more than 35,000 H-1B visas under the "initial" visa plan, which includes new H-1B visa holders or those who work second concurrent jobs with a different employer, Computerworld said.

"This is just affirmation that H-1B has become the outsourcing visa," Ron Hira, a public policy professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and researcher of tech immigration issues, was quoted as saying.

Among the top companies to have received the H-1B visas in 2012 visas are Cognizant (9,281 H-1B visas), Tata (7469), Infosys (5600), Wipro (4304), Accenture (4037), HCL America( 2070), Mahindra Group (1963), IBM (1846), Larsen and Tourbo (1832), Deloitte (1668), Microsoft (1497), Patni Americas (1260) and Syntel (1161), the report said.

"The failure of Congress and the Obama Administration to close loopholes in the H-1B programme is reducing job opportunities for American high-tech workers and undermining their wages," Hira said.

"If that bill were to be passed we'd see a major hemorrhaging of American jobs and it would discourage American kids from studying high-tech fields," Hira was quoted as saying by Computerworld.

The Top 10 H-1B users received 40,170 H-1B visas in fiscal 2012 and applied for just 1,167 employment-based (EB) green cards. This is an immigration yield of 2.9 percent, IEEE-US said, adding that it supports additional EB green cards for skilled immigrants.

These visas allow immigrants to start their own companies and create US wealth and jobs.

"Any plan to increase skilled immigration should be based on green cards," Apter said.

What is the Career Test?

Career Tests are tests to measure your characteristics, such as: aptitudes, interests, values, and personality.

It will help you to find out which careers suit you best.

Are you ready to start the test?

BBC offers a career test.

  • The test has seven questions and should take between 5-10 minutes. 
  • It was developed by psychometric specialist Neil Scott of Cassin-Scott Associates.

NZ Education: Study Awards and Scholarships 2013

Applications for the first round of 2013 Special Education Study Awards and Speech Language Therapy Scholarships are now closed.

The second round of applications for the following study awards has now also closed. All applicants will be notified of the results by 7 December 2013.

  • Hearing Impairment
  • Vision Impairment
  • Special Teaching Needs
  • Early Intervention

If you are appointed as a Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) after the closing date of 9 November, you can still apply for the RTLB study award. We will be able to allocate RTLB study awards as long as you meet fit with the eligibility criteria, that you can still enrol into the course and that we have still funding available.

Further application rounds may be confirmed later so please check back to this website.

Please note: the eligibility criteria, terms and conditions and the value of the awards and scholarships are subject to change at the Ministry of Education's discretion.

The information on this website is provided as a guide to the value of a study award or scholarship. If your application is successful, the exact value of the award or scholarship will be confirmed in your letter of offer.

Study Awards and Scholarships categories

Learn more about the 2013 Special Education Study Awards and Scholarships including provision, course duration and structure, terms and conditions. More..

Application forms and guides

Information and Resources including application forms, application guides, selection process, information for employers and terms and conditions. More..

Career counselling

It seems that there is yet another way in which the new generation differs from the older — the advent of career and education counselling. Typically, it was customary for parents, or even the children, to choose the ‘correct’ career path — one that would balance both emotional and financial well-being.

Career counseling, career guidance and career coaching are similar in nature to other types of counseling or coaching, e.g. marriage or psychological counseling. What unites all types of professional counseling is the role of practitioners, who combine giving advice on their topic of expertise with counseling techniques that support clients in making complex decisions and facing difficult situations. The focus of career counseling is generally on issues such as career exploration, career change, personal career development and other career related issues.

How it works

Counselling started out primarily as a way for young college-students to explore their passions, and thereby find a way to make a career out of these interests. The major question of ‘what should I be doing in life?’ was more easily answered with the help of a professional. Career counselling centers offered the students one-on-one time with a counsellor, and after a few meetings or talks, a plan was suggested, with inputs from the parents, student and the professional, to ‘get on the right track’, so to speak. Later, personality and psychometric tests were added, to accurately gauge not only the students’ interests, but also their aptitude. A combination of the two was analysed to provide career guidance to the student.

Emerging trend

As more of the youth and their families became interested in seeking advice, the field broadened to include education counselling as well. The once self-made decisions about where to study and what course to study in college are now being carefully assessed and made with the help of a knowledgeable counsellor.

Today, many counselling centers offer services in four broad areas — aptitude and psychometric testing, career consultations, higher-education consultations and entrance examination tutoring. Specific packages are available that can be further customised to suit each individual student’s needs. For example, a student in college who is unsure of what career to choose, or maybe even unsure of the necessary steps to take for his/her career, would set up an appointment with a counsellor. After a preliminary discussion (for a certain fee), the student can either choose to continue with the counsellor, or walk away. A typical plan for a student of this nature might include some initial testing, followed by a detailed career guideline, resume building, and interview practice.

Benefits of Career Counseling

Professional career counselors can support people with career-related challenges in many ways. Through their expertise in career development and labor markets, they can put a person's qualification, experience, strengths and weakness in a broad perspective taking into consideration their desired salary, personal hobbies and interests, location, job market and educational possibilities  Through their counselling and teaching abilities, career counselors can additionally support people in gaining a better understanding of what really matters for them personally, how they can plan their careers autonomously, or help them in making tough decisions and getting through times of crisis. Finally, career counselors are often capable of supporting their clients in finding suitable placements/ jobs, in working out conflicts with their employers, or finding the support of other helpful services.

Intrigued by the idea of counselling? Following are some popular Indian counselling centers that have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of students find great colleges and/or careers. Young Buzz, situated in Mumbai and Bangalore, promises holistic guidance for educational and career development. Career Guardian, with offices all over India, provides its students with the latest trends and information in education and careers, as well as proper admission and application guidance. There’s no harm in finding out more about these companies … you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2013 TeachNZ Early Childhood Education Scholarships

If you're a graduate or undergraduate and want to be an Early Childhood teacher, a TeachNZ Early Childhood Education (ECE) scholarship may be just what you’re looking for.
There are two types of Early Childhood Education Scholarships available this year.
The ECE Graduate and Undergraduate scholarships are for those who would like to train as early childhood teachers and have experience working with either Māori or Pasifika communities.
The ECE Maori and Pasifika language scholarships are for those who are fluent speakers of te reo Māori or a Pasifika language and want to teach in the early childhood sector.
Applications for these scholarships open 1 February 2013 and close 4 March 2013.
Scholarships cover core study fees and an allowance of $10,000 over the period of study.
These scholarships are for people who will either commence or continue their study in the 2013 academic year. If your study year starts in Semester 1, you'll need to be enrolled in an approved ECE teacher education qualification before applying.
The academic year for early childhood teacher education study has two intakes – one at the start of the calendar year and one that commences mid-year. This scholarship is for:
  • students starting their study year in the first semester of 2013 (start of year). If a TeachNZ ECE scholarship is awarded, fees will be paid from Semester 1, 2013; and
  • students starting their study year in the second semester of 2013 (mid year). If a TeachNZ ECE scholarship is awarded, fees will be paid from Semester 2, 2013.
Please note that your study year must be starting from either Semester 1 or Semester 2 in 2013, i.e. Graduates who started study towards their Graduate Diploma mid-year 2012 are not eligible to apply for this scholarship. For undergraduate applicants, it can be the start of your first or any subsequent year of study. 

Which scholarship is right for me?

ECE Graduate and Undergraduate scholarships

ECE Graduate Scholarship – for people with a degree or diploma (a Level 7 qualification) wanting to complete a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education), who have knowledge, understanding and experience working with Māori or Pasifika communities, who want to teach in the early childhood sector. 
ECE Undergraduate Scholarship – for people who have knowledge, understanding and experience working with Māori or Pasifika communities who want to teach in the early childhood sector. 

ECE Māori and Pasifika Language scholarships

ECE Māori Language Scholarship: for people who are proficient in te reo Māori and have knowledge, understanding and experience working with Māori communities, who want to teach in the early childhood sector. 
ECE Pasifika Language Scholarship: for people who are proficient in a Pasifika language, have knowledge, understanding and experience working with Pasifika communities, who want to teach in the early childhood sector.

How do I apply?

To apply for a TeachNZ Early Childhood Scholarship, download an application form and guide from the right hand side of this page. As there are two types of ECE scholarships, please ensure you download the correct application form and guide.
You'll need to read your guide thoroughly before filling in your application form. If you fill out the application form electronically, you'll need to print it out and send it to TeachNZ.
Note: The closing date is 4 March 2013.
Send your application to TeachNZ on or before the closing date.
To post:
TeachNZ Early Childhood Education Scholarships
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140
To courier:
TeachNZ Early Childhood Education Scholarships
Ministry of Education
Level 3, 45-47 Pipitea Street
Wellington 6011

Need help?

To make applying for a scholarship easier, TeachNZ has developed online helper videos to guide you step-by-step through the application process. View the online helper below – simply turn on your audio and click the Play symbol.
You can also learn more about scholarships by reading our Scholarships: Frequently Asked Questions page.
Remember, we’re here to help. If you have any questions, you can email us onteachnz.admin@minedu.govt.nz or call us during business hours on 0800 165 225.
Image courtesy of domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Romania hits back at UK immigration deterrence campaign

Bulgaria and Romania are due to accede to the EU later this year, providing all citizens with the full benefits of membership, including the Freedom of Movement. This means citizens of either country will be able to live and work in the UK without the need for a UK visa.

The last time several Eastern European countries acceded to the EU - Poland, Latvia and Lithuania in 2004 - UK immigration rates soared and concerns have been raised that a similar scenario could occur later this year or early 2014, placing further strain on already struggling public services.

While there is still some contention over the effect the accession will have - the Government have so far refused to release official estimates - reports early this week suggested the Government was considering a negative ad campaign designed to deter Romanians and Bulgarians.

The ads - which were quickly derided and dismissed by politicians - were supposed to feature a dreary Britain with a rainy, cold climate and little opportunity for work.

Whether any such ad campaign would have ever materialised or not, one Romanian newspaper has taken it upon themselves to create their own ad campaign - designed to attract Brits to Romania - using tongue-in-cheek 'facts' and stats about Britain and Romania under the tag line 'we may not like Britain, but you'll love Romania'.

One ad claims that 'half of [Romanian] women look like Kate [Middleton]. The other half, like her sister.' and, continuing in the vein of mocking the monarchy that 'Harry has never been photographed naked once'.
Photo: romania-insider.com

US Senate introduces Bill for doubling H1B visa cap

A bipartisan group of top US Senators has introduced a legislation in the Senate aiming at several changes in immigration norms, including doubling of H-1B visa cap and establishing a market-based escalator.

The other proposed measures include recapturing of unused Green Card numbers, eliminating country cap and recommending a series of new provisions to provide legal permanent residency to talented and brilliant.

Introduced by Senators Marco Rubio, Orrin Hatch, Amy Klobuchar, the The Immigration Innovation (I2) Act of 2013 proposes to increase H-1B cap from 65,000 to 115,000 and establish a market-based H-1B escalator, so that the cap can adjust to the demands of the economy.

The bill includes a 300,000 ceiling on the ability of the escalator to move.

If the cap is hit in the first 45 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 20,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately.

If it is hit in the first 60 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 15,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately and if the cap is hit in the first 90 days when petitions may be filed, an additional 10,000 H-1B visas will be made available immediately.

In case the cap is hit during the 185-day period ending on the 275th day on which petitions may be filed, and additional 5,000 H-1B will be made available immediately, the bill proposes and calls for uncapping the existing US advanced degree exemption (currently limited to 20,000 per year).

The legislation focuses on areas vital to keep US competitiveness intact in the global economy.

It proposes increased access to Green Cards for high-skilled workers by expanding the exemptions and eliminating the annual per country limits for employment based Green Cards.

The legislation also aims at reforming the fees on H-1B and Green Cards so those fees can be used to promote American worker retraining and education.

Furthermore, it authorises employment for dependent spouses of H-1B visa holders, thus meeting a long pending demand.

It also proposes to increase portability of high skilled foreign workers by removing impediments and costs of changing employers, establishing a clear transition period for foreign workers as they change jobs, and restoring visa revalidation for E, H, L, O, and P non-immigrant visa categories.

The legislation, if passed by the Congress and signed into law by the US President, will enable the recapture of Green Card numbers that were approved by Congress in previous years but were not used.

It will exempt certain categories of persons from the employment-based Green Card cap, including dependents of employment-based immigrant visa recipients, US STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) advance degree holders, persons with extraordinary ability and outstanding professors and researchers.

The legislation also provides for the roll-over of unused employment-based immigrant visa numbers to the following fiscal year so that future visas are not lost due to bureaucratic delays, and eliminate annual per-country limits for employment based visa petitioners and adjust per-country caps for family-based immigrant visas.

The legislation calls for reforming fees on H-1B visas and employment-based Green Cards and use money from these fees to fund a grant program to promote STEM education and worker.