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1. AUSTRALIA - As part of "Subclass 457" visa reforms, the Australian government has announced a sponsor accreditation scheme, available beginning on November 1, 2011, for certain standard business sponsors.
2. BRAZIL - Judging by the growing number of foreign professional visa holders working in Brazil, it appears that the country is gaining more visibility in the international job market.
3. GERMANY - The conventional residence permit, the residence card and permanent residence card, and the replacement ID in paper form are being replaced by the electronic residence permit, which will be granted in a credit card-style format.
4. INDIA - India tightens in-country compliance and registration requirements.
5. ITALY - Five thousand new work visas are available for those who want to come to Italy to learn a trade, and 1,300 work visas left over from last year are available.
6. NETHERLANDS - The government has increased fees for certain applications.
7. UNITED KINGDOM - The UK government is struggling to come up with further restrictions to achieve a reduction in annual net migration into the UK, and has made recent changes to various categories.
8. Member News - Member News
 

 
 
1. AUSTRALIA
 

As part of "Subclass 457" visa reforms, the Australian government has announced a sponsor accreditation scheme, available beginning on November 1, 2011, for certain standard business sponsors.

The Australian Government has announced plans to introduce Accredited Sponsor (AS) status, beginning on November 1, 2011, to facilitate the priority processing of company nominations and temporary entry subclass 457 visas for sponsored employees. AS status can be applied for either with a new sponsorship application or by variation of an existing sponsorship.

The new accreditation process recognizes that many Australian businesses have a long history of good dealings with immigration authorities, including lodging a high volume of good quality, decision-ready applications and an excellent record of compliance with relevant laws.

Once accredited, the sponsorship agreement will last for 6 years; this compares with the current 3 years for standard sponsors. The same form will be used as for an application to become a standard sponsor. If the criteria for AS status are not met, the application for standard sponsorship will proceed and be assessed in the usual way.

To qualify for AS status, sponsors must demonstrate several additional characteristics above the standard sponsorship requirements at the time of application. The sponsor must:

  • be a government agency, a publicly listed company, or a private company, with a minimum of A$4 million turnover per year for the last 3 years
  • have been an active 457 visa sponsor for the past 3 years (with a break of no more than 6 months, not due to any sanction)
  • have no adverse information known about them based on monitoring by Australian immigration and workplace authorities, including formal warnings and sanctions
  • have had at least 30 subclass 457 visa holders granted in the previous 12 months
  • have lodged a high level of decision-ready applications over the previous 2 years
  • have a non-approval rate of less than 3% for the previous 3 years
  • have Australian workers comprising at least 75 percent of their workforce in Australia and a commitment to maintain this level
  • have a Collective Agreement or Enterprise Agreement that covers all 457 visa holders earning less than A$180,000 per annum.

If a sponsor fails to maintain these characteristics, AS status can be revoked, resulting in loss of access to priority processing arrangements.

Australian ABIL member Katie Malyon has indicated that the last of these requirements for AS status means that few sponsors apart from State/Territory governments will be able to access the scheme.
For more information, see http://mia.org.au/media/File/Sponsorship_Accreditation_Update.pdf?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MIA+Notice+Issue+201140+New+Sponsor+Accreditation+Scheme+Perth+RSMS+Fact+Sheet+Character+Test+Fact+Sheet&utm_content=MIA+Notice+Issue+201140+New+Sponsor+Accreditation+Scheme+Perth+RSMS+Fact+Sheet+Character+Test+Fact+Sheet+CID_ac9bd4bc75ade33def564400ed3ba888&utm_source=Email+marketing&utm_term=Click.

 
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2. BRAZIL
 

The number of foreigners entering Brazil has increased, according to data released by the Ministry of Labor, making Brazil an international tourist center as well as a possible future cluster of jobs.

In the first half of 2011, according to the semiannual assessment of the Ministry of Labor and Employment, the number of foreigners who entered Brazil with a work visa increased 20% over the same period of 2010. The sector that attracted the most foreigners was oil and gas, which attracted more than 8,000 foreign professionals, according to recent surveys by the Ministry.

This increase in work visa issuance is due to a lack of skilled workers in various sectors of Brazil, especially in the oil and gas industry. Despite the fact that Brazilian professionals are trained to perform these functions, they do not have expertise in some activities whose needs are met by foreign labor.

According to the latest data released by the Ministry, the United States is the biggest exporter of skilled labor to Brazil. About 7,550 U.S. professionals went to Brazil in 2010.

Judging by the growing number of foreign professional visa holders working in Brazil, it appears that the country is gaining more visibility in the international job market. Brazilian companies specializing in immigration and relocation services seek to increase their scope of work to meet the rising demand.

 
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3. GERMANY
 

The conventional residence permit, the residence card and permanent residence card, and the replacement ID in paper form are being replaced by the electronic residence permit, which will be granted in a credit card-style format.

Since September 1, 2011, applicants for a German electronic residence permit (elektronischer Aufenthaltstitel or eTA) must attend an in-person meeting at the foreigner's office (together with any family members). Fingerprints and biometric photographs will be taken. The conventional residence permit (adhesive label), the residence card and permanent residence card, and the replacement ID in paper form are being replaced by the electronic residence permit, which will be granted in a credit card-style format.

The electronic residence permit is equipped with a contact-free chip inside the card on which biometric features (photograph and two fingerprints), ancillary conditions (special requirements), and personal data are saved. In addition, the chip is capable of being used as an electronic identity document and qualified electronic signature. The photograph is saved on the body of the card and on the chip. Two fingerprints will also be saved on the chip for all residents of non-member states age 6 and up. For that reason, it is necessary to appear in person for the application.

Only official entities (such as the police of aliens authorities) are authorized to access the photograph and fingerprints. Ancillary conditions are saved on the chip and on a unique supplementary sheet that comes with the electronic residence permit.

Authorized service providers such as banks and official authorities may offer electronic services in which the holder identifies himself or herself electronically using the electronic residence permit. This simplifies the process of such activities as logging into Internet portals, filling out forms, and verifying one's age on the Internet or at machines. Only providers who possess state authorization will receive access to the holder's data. In addition, the holder must confirm the transfer of his or her personal data with a six-digit PIN number. The service providers are not able to read the biometric features when using the online identification function.

The electronic residence permit can also save a certificate with a qualified electronic signature. This provides electronic residence permit holders with the option of signing legally effective digital documents if desired.

The permits are not produced by the foreigner's offices and must be picked up. However, there is no need for the applicant to appear in person and it is possible to grant a power of attorney to allow another person to pick up the permit.

Finally, any permit that was granted before September 1, 2011, will remain valid until no later than April 30, 2021.

 
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4. INDIA
 

India tightens in-country compliance and registration requirements.

Under the Indian Bureau of Immigration’s general policy, all foreign nationals who arrive on a visa valid for more than 180 days and who expect to remain in India for more than 180 consecutive days during a single visit or stay must register at the designated registration office in the place of residence.

Until recently, employment visa holders intending to remain in India for more than 180 consecutive days were required to register (unless otherwise indicated on their visa endorsement). However, now all foreign nationals with employment or visas that are valid for more than 180 days must register with the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO) within 14 days of arrival in India.

Accompanying spouses and dependents who intend to reside in India also must register. Such individuals now must submit additional documents at the time of registration. For example, a spouse on a dependent visa must present the original civil marriage certificate authenticated with an apostille. In cases where a country does not issue apostilles, the certificate must be legalized by an appropriate Indian consular post. A dependent spouse also must provide a “no work” letter to the FRRO confirming that he or she will not engage in any productive work while residing in India. Currently, the FRROs are not asking for authenticated birth certificates for dependent children, but this could change with little or no advance notice.

List of Mandatory Documents

The following documents are required at almost all the FRROs when registering on an employment visa:

  1. Original valid passports and Indian employment visa;
  2. Four passport-size photographs;
  3. Three copies of the applicant's passport;
  4. Copy of applicant's Indian visa;
  5. A letter from the Indian employer, requesting registration;
  6. A letter of undertaking signed by an Indian national working with the company in India assuming full responsibility for the applicant;
  7. Proof of police verification;
  8. Proof of residence address;
  9. Evidence of C-Form compliance if staying at a hotel;
  10. Employment contract;
  11. Proof of compliance with Indian income tax if the applicant has worked in India in the past; and
  12. A copy of the applicant's earlier registration booklet if he or she has been registered in the past.

The following additional documents are required at some FRROs:

  1. Details of the applicant's movable and immovable property;
  2. A copy of the applicant's Permanent Account Number (PAN) card or proof of having applied for a PAN card;
  3. Monthly salary certificate;
  4. A certificate from the Indian company stating that no qualified Indians were available for the proffered job;
  5. A copy of a major utility bill from the landlord of the leased premises where the applicant is residing (if applicable);
  6. A copy of the Indian company registration certificate; and
  7. Evidence of Tenant Information Form compliance.

The following documents are required at almost all the FRROs when registering on an entry (dependent) visa:

  1. Original valid passport and Indian employment visa;
  2. Four passport-size photographs;
  3. Three copies of the applicant's passport;
  4. Copy of applicant's Indian visa;
  5. A letter from the principal applicant's Indian employer, requesting registration of the dependent;
  6. A letter of undertaking signed by an Indian national working with the company in India assuming full responsibility for the applicant;
  7. Proof of police verification;
  8. Proof of residence address;
  9. Copy of marriage certificate (needs an apostille for some FRROs); and
  10. A copy of the applicant's earlier registration booklet if he or she has been registered in the past.

The following additional documents are required at some FRROs:

  1. Details of the applicant's movable and immovable property;
  2. A copy of a major utility bill from the landlord of the leased premises where the applicant is residing (if applicable);
  3. Evidence of Tenant Information Form compliance.
  4. Declaration from spouse that he or she will not undertake any business or work-related activities while in India.

Visa Extensions

Per recent changes, all employment visa applications must include the following additional documents:

Foreign nationals granted employment visas before October 2010, who earned an annual salary of less than US $25,000 (approximately INR 1,145,000) must ask their Indian host company for a salary attestation declaration from the appropriate Employee's Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) confirming that the employee will earn at least US $25,000 for the coming year.

The Indian host company must supply a confirmation letter that no qualified Indian national workers are readily available to assume the employment visa holder's current position as their specialized knowledge services continue to be required in India.

An employment visa holder must submit a photocopy of his or her PAN card or evidence of official registration for a PAN card, along with a duly signed and stamped income letter by the Indian host company confirming the itemized remuneration paid to the foreign national employee, including his or her annual base salary, allowances, and any bonuses to be paid for the coming year.

Spouses renewing their dependent visas must submit their authenticated marriage certificate. Those whose renewal applications are already filed with the FRRO should check whether their marriage certificate will be required. Those submitting their renewal applications but who do not possess their marriage certificate should submit a letter confirming that they will obtain appropriate certification as soon as possible.

Dependents also must submit a “no work” letter to the FRRO confirming that they will not engage in any productive work while resident in India.

Documentation Tip

All FRROs have not publicized or updated their websites to reflect these changes and seem to be asking for additional documents in an ad hoc fashion. It is best to be prepared with all the documents that may be needed, irrespective of the specific requirements of any FRRO, so that they are available if required at short notice.

 
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5. ITALY
 

Five thousand new work visas are available for those who want to come to Italy to learn a trade, and 1,300 work visas left over from last year are available.

For non-European Union nationals who want to come to Italy to learn a trade, the government has announced 5,000 work visas for those who want to participate in a training course. The course must be previously accredited, for a maximum of 2 years, with the applicant receiving a certificate at the completion of the course. An additional 5,000 visas are available for internships that must be approved by the Region where the internship will take place. In either case, the applicant must file an application at the Italian Consulate abroad with the necessary documentation as stated above.

Upon entry into Italy with the visa, a permit of stay for studies will be issued. Upon completion of the training/internship, it may be possible to convert the study permit into a full-time subordinate work permit of stay, if the applicant finds a sponsor and a conversion is available at that time.

Also, 1,300 work visas left over from last year have been re-issued and are available. These are to be used to convert a currently valid permit of stay into one for subordinate work: 597 to convert a permit of stay for study or internship; 571 to convert a permit of stay for seasonal work; 99 to convert a long-term permit of stay from another European Union (EU) country; and 5 to convert a long-term permit of stay from another EU country into self-employment.

Preference will be given to those with a seasonal work permit ready to expire. The Ministry of Labor noted that some workers already present in Italy could find themselves at risk regarding both their immigration status and ability to work.

 
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6. NETHERLANDS
 

The fees for certain applications were increased.

The fees the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) charges for applications that enable foreign nationals to work or study in the Netherlands, or to form or reunite a family, were raised on July 1, 2011.

The IND fee for an entry clearance visa (MVV) for the purpose of family reunification was raised enormously, from EUR 830 to EUR 1250. Also, a residence permit for this purpose without a MVV was raised to EUR 1250.

The IND application fee for an entry clearance visa (MVV) and residence permit for labor migrants were also substantially raised. The fees for the MVV and residence permit were EUR 433 and EUR 188, respectively. Now the fees are EUR 600 for the MVV and EUR 300 for the residence permit.

Also, the IND fee for a knowledge migrant residence permit application without an entry clearance visa was raised from EUR 331 to EUR 750.

The fee increase does not apply to Turkish nationals and their family members who can derive rights from the EC-Turkey Association Agreement, or to European Union/European Economic Area citizens.

 
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7. UNITED KINGDOM
 

The UK government is struggling to come up with further restrictions to achieve a reduction in annual net migration into the UK, and has made recent changes to various categories. Several related articles appear below.

(1) UK Immigration: Open and Ready for Business?

A Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules, detailing changes that came into force on April 6, 2011, was laid before Parliament on March 16, 2011. Among other immigration categories, the statement announced changes to the Tier 1 category of the Points-Based System as expected, and in particular to the Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) categories, but with more changes than anticipated. A definite Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category was established and so the Tier 1 category seems to have been redesigned in accordance with recommendations published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in their report of November 2010: the Tier 1 (Investor) and (Entrepreneur) categories were changed with the aim of attracting direct foreign investment as well as creating jobs, and the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category seeks to attract the brightest and the best, a recurring theme throughout Parliament's amendments.

On March 22, 2011, changes to the Tier 4 category of the Points-Based System were announced by Home Secretary Theresa May. The Tier 4 category, which deals with non-European Economic Area student migrants, will be redesigned by April 2012 with the stated goal of serving the brightest and the best students. The Home Secretary has also promised a new entrepreneur route aimed at students that would allow those with business ideas and a potential to create wealth an opportunity to remain in the UK after graduation.

These changes seem to be consistent with the Coalition Government's objective of supporting a private-sector-led economic recovery while reducing net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands. However, while they do send the message that the UK is open and ready for business, Britain must be careful not to favor only those willing to invest large sums in the country or those who are ready to develop businesses, and should provide ways for those who will contribute to UK economic recovery in other ways to enter the country also.

Tier 1 (Investor)

Beginning April 6, 2011, migrants who apply under the Tier 1 (Investor) category of the Points-Based System enjoy increased flexibility in their status and require less time to be able to settle in the UK. Initial leave is granted for three years and four months. After investing £5 million in the UK, an investor may settle in the country after three years, and after an investment of £10 million, after two years, both significantly shorter periods of time than the current minimum of five years required for settlement. In addition, investors are permitted to be absent from the UK for up to 180 days in any 12 months without jeopardizing their right to settle, which is double the current limit of 90 days.

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur)

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants are also granted an initial leave of three years and four months, with a potential extension of two years and settlement after five years. Entrepreneurs are now able to accelerate settlement after three years in the UK, however, if they generate a turnover of £5 million or create ten jobs in a three-year period. As with investors, entrepreneurs are permitted absences from the UK for up to 180 days in any 12-month period. Most important, while the standard investment threshold will remain at £200,000, businesses that the UK Border Agency considers as "high-potential businesses" may enter the country with £50,000, as long as the sum is provided by registered venture capitalists regulated by the Financial Services Authority, registered UK entrepreneurial seed funding competitions, UK Government Departments, or a combination of the three. Entrepreneurs may enter the UK with business partners if they have access to joint funds.

Prospective Entrepreneurs

Prospective entrepreneurs may enter the UK with a new type of visitor visa designed especially for those looking to set up businesses in the UK. Unlike those who enter the country with a business visitor visa, prospective entrepreneur visa holders are permitted to apply for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) entry clearance or visa while they are in the UK.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)

As of August 9, 2011, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) started accepting applications for the new Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) Category. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) is for those foreign nationals who are "internationally recognized as world leaders or potential world-leading talents in the fields of science and the arts." During the first year of this category, there is a limit of 1,000 grants of entry clearance (700 in science and 300 in the arts), and the limits will be reviewed by April 2012. These foreign nationals will not require employer sponsorship but will need a Unique Reference Number (URN) from the UK Border Agency and a nomination from a Designated Competent Body (DCB) before applying for the entry clearance visa at the UK consular post in their country of residence. The Designated Competent Bodies and their allocations are:

  1. The Royal Society: 300 nominations;
  2. The Arts Council England: 300 nominations;
  3. The Royal Academy of Engineering: 200 nominations; and
  4. The British Academy: 200 nominations. 

There will be a cap on the number of visas available in the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) category, with the UK Border Agency allotting a total of 1,000 spots between August 9, 2011, and April 5, 2012. The first 500 are available for use between August 9 and November 30, 2011, and the second 500 between December 1, 2011 and April 5, 2012. The UK government will reassess the need for additional visas in March 2012.

Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa holders will initially be permitted to stay in the UK for up to three years and four months. They will be able apply for an extension, allowing them to stay for two additional years. If these individuals complete five years of residence in the UK under this status, they will qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (permanent residence).

Tier 4

Changes to the Tier 4 category, designed for student migrants, will be implemented starting April 2012. The category will be changed to cater to and "protect" only the best and brightest students, in the words of the Home Secretary. In her statement on March 22, 2011, Theresa May expressed her goal of making the student category a route through which migrants would come to the UK "for a limited period," "to study, not work," and to "make a positive contribution" to the UK.

To realize this goal, more responsibilities will be placed on both academic institutions and students. Beginning in April 2012, institutions must be classified as "Highly Trusted" sponsors and be accredited by statutory education inspection bodies by the end of 2012 before they can sponsor students. Students will lose their right to work unless they are at universities and publicly funded further education colleges and will no longer be able to bring dependents unless they are postgraduate students at universities or government-sponsored students (currently all students on longer courses are permitted to bring dependents). The overall time that a migrant can spend in the UK on a student visa will also be reduced for some. While the limit will remain at three years for lower-level courses, it will be reduced to five years at higher levels (at present, a limit for study at or above degree level does not exist). Students will also have to demonstrate a proficiency in English at a higher level: at the B2 (upper intermediate) level instead of at the B1 (lower intermediate) level.

See below for more details on changes to Tier 4.

The Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) category, which will close in April 2012, allows students to seek employment in the UK for two years after the end of their courses. Students may find alternative routes to stay in the UK after graduation if they receive an offer of employment (and apply under the Tier 2 category) or if they qualify as "innovative student entrepreneurs"; the Home Secretary has expressed plans to create a new entrepreneur route for students with business ideas and plans to create wealth in the UK.

Conclusion

Through changes in the Tier 1 (Investor) and (Entrepreneur) and Tier 4 categories as well as plans to establish Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), a prospective entrepreneur visitor visa, and a new entrepreneur route for students, the UK seems to be sending quite an eager message that the country is open and ready for business, at least to those who qualify under the changed Immigration Rules. However, if Britain is to live up to the Coalition Government's aim of a private sector-led economic recovery while also reducing net migration, it must be cautious that the Immigration Rules do not merely favor those with large sums to invest, those who have been internationally recognized for their endeavours, or even those who show promise to do so. It must be especially cautious not to penalize legitimate migrants who wish to enter the UK to contribute to the country for the reason that they are unable to demonstrate significant wealth or the clear potential to create wealth at the time of their application, such as recent graduates. Universities and employers have already noted that many talented students choose to study and work in the UK following their studies rather than in the U.S., Australia, or Canada because of the country's unique immigration system. Britain must not be blinded by the simple goal of reducing net migration, but should consider who will truly and most significantly make a contribution to UK economic recovery, and provide ways for them to enter the country.

(2) UK Government Struggles to Reduce Net Migration

Following the United Kingdom's changes to the Immigration Rules implemented on April 6, 2011, including the execution of an annual cap of 20,700 migrants to work in skilled professions under Tier 2 (General) of the Points-Based System, the coalition government continues to identify further restrictions to achieve its stated aim of reducing annual net migration to below 100,000 by 2015.

Changes to Tier 4 of the Points-Based System

A major public consultation on the reform of Tier 4 of the Points-Based System took place from December 7, 2010, to January 31, 2011. Initial changes to the Immigration Rules were subsequently implemented on April 21, 2011, including the introduction of an interim limit on sponsors who did not meet new accreditation criteria and changes to the English language requirement so that those coming to the United Kingdom (UK) to study at the degree level must demonstrate their ability to speak English at an upper intermediate level. Further amendments set forth before Parliament by Immigration Minister Damien Green in a written ministerial statement on June 13, 2011, took effect on July 4, 2011. These revisions include:

  • restricting work entitlements to those studying at higher educational institutions and publicly funded further education colleges only;
  • restricting the sponsorship of dependents to those studying at post-graduate levels at a higher educational institution and on a course lasting for 12 months or longer and government-sponsored students on courses lasting six months or longer;
  • requiring institutions to vouch that a student's new course represents genuine academic progression;
  • ensuring that maintenance funds are genuinely available to applicants by introducing a declaration on visa application forms;
  • committing to publish a list of financial institutions that are considered not to have verified financial statements to a satisfactory standard in the majority of a sample of cases;
  • introducing a streamlined application process for those considered to be "low risk" nationals (including Australian and U.S. nationals) applying to attend a course at a highly trusted sponsor. Applicants under this route will be required to submit fewer evidentiary documents;
  • extending the list of courses for which students must receive Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance;
  • restricting the ability to offer accounting courses accredited by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) to those sponsors accorded platinum or gold status; and
  • clarifying the position of overseas universities with campuses in the UK.

Although a number of these changes appear to have been implemented to restrict abuse of the student migration system, it is equally apparent that changes to working entitlements and the sponsorship of migrants' dependents in particular are provisions primarily motivated by the coalition government's commitment to the reduction of net migration. Indeed, the UK Border Agency has stated that it is expected that these new policies are likely to lead to a net reduction of around 230,000 student migrants over the full term of the current government, a figure inconsistent with the commitment of an annual reduction of 70,000 to 80,000 student migrants given by Home Secretary Theresa May on March 22, 2011.

The forthcoming changes have led to comments from the higher education sector that the coalition government is jeopardizing an industry worth £40 billion annually to the UK economy. Additionally, an official UK Border Agency published impact statement indicates that reforms will cost more than £3.2 billion over the next four years in economic output and a further £330 million in lost tuition and immigration application fees. Jonathan Portes of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research has expressed concern that the impact statement shows that "changes to student visa rules will reduce growth and exports." It certainly appears that the amendments due to be implemented to the student migration system are inconsistent with the coalition government's priority of economic recovery, as well as with the stated aim of continuing to attract "the brightest and the best" migrants to the UK.

Consultation on Employment-Related Settlement

A 12-week public consultation on reforms to the routes to indefinite leave to remain in the UK -- commonly referred to as settlement -- available to employment-based migrants began on June 9, 2011. The consultation will address Tiers 1, 2, and 5 of the Points-Based System and Overseas Domestic Workers. Damien Green has asserted that the consultation is focused on breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration and expressed the concern that "settlement has almost become automatic for those who choose to stay." The consultation document outlines a number of proposals for consideration:

  • Defining Tier 2 as "temporary" to end any assumption that settlement will be available for migrants who enter the UK under this category;
  • Considering whether certain categories of Tier 2 migrants of particular economic or social value to the UK should retain an automatic route to settlement;
  • Creating a new category that would allow the most exceptional Tier 2 migrants to apply for settlement after three years. Other Tier 2 migrants would be allowed to stay in the UK for a maximum period of five years, after which they and their dependents would be expected to leave;
  • Introducing a new English language requirement for adult dependents of Tier 2 migrants applying to switch into a settlement route;
  • Considering restricting the maximum period of leave in Tier 5 (Temporary Workers) to 12 months, as well as removing their ability to sponsor dependents and raising the minimum skill level in the government-authorized exchange scheme to graduate level; and
  • Abolishing the route for overseas domestic workers or considering restricting leave to a six-month period as a visitor or 12 months where accompanying a Tier 1 or Tier 2 migrant, as well as ceasing to grant settlement to domestic workers in diplomatic households.

It is apparent that these proposals have the potential to restrict significantly the routes to settlement for those who have entered the UK under employment-based routes, although further details on the implementation of such proposals will not be available until the conclusion of the consultation on September 9, 2011, and parliamentary approval of the subsequent statement of changes to the Immigration Rules.

There continues to be disquiet in the business community that the coalition government's economic policies restrict business growth because of the lack of flexibility in recruitment that they have caused, a perspective previously corroborated by Business Secretary Vince Cable. Although the proposals outlined in the consultation document would be unlikely to be of relevance to businesses seeking to employ overseas migrants on a short-term basis, they would certainly be of concern to organizations with long-term business strategy and recruitment considerations. It is arguable that multinational organizations may be discouraged from establishing and continuing overseas businesses in the UK as a result of the restrictions that these proposals would impose.

Conclusion

It is apparent that the coalition government continues to implement robust changes to UK immigration law to achieve its commitment to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands by the next general election. However, the success of these policies to date may be questioned. The Office for National Statistics figures published on May 26, 2011, state that net migration to the UK has increased by almost 100,000 to 243,000 in the past 12 months. This is partially due to a reduction in levels of emigration. While these figures indicate that attaining an annual net migration to the UK of fewer than 100,000 is unlikely to be an attainable target within the stated timeframe, it additionally indicates that increasingly forceful immigration policies are likely to be implemented if the government is to continue to pursue its stated aim.

 
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8. Member News
 

Jacqueline Bart was issued a Certificate for Excellent Legal Paper from the Inter-Pacific Bar Association at the Kyoto Annual Conference on April 23, 2011, for "Disability Discrimination and Immigration Laws in Canada." Her paper addresses the issue of the apparent disconnect between immigration law and employment law in Canada related to the hiring of foreign workers with disabilities. The paper notes that the interpretation of "excessive demand" under Canadian immigration law limits the ability of companies to hire foreign workers with disabilities, or who have dependents with disabilities, irrespective of the benefits they may offer Canada.

Katie Malyon has been nominated and short-listed by the Women Lawyers' Association of New South Wales (NSW) for the "NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Award 2011 - Woman Lawyer of the Year in Private Practice." The award will be presented on September 23, 2011. Criteria include individual achievement of professional excellence; encouragement and influence on other women to pursue a legal career; and a commitment to the support, encouragement, and promotion of the careers of women within the legal profession, including mentoring and advocacy. Ms. Malyon has been a registered migration agent for over 15 years and is recognized as one of the leading immigration law practitioners in Australia.

Marco Mazzeschi won "Corporate Immigration Law Firm of the Year, Italy," awarded by Lawyer Monthly. The 2011 Lawyer Monthly legal awards recognized firms "that have dedicated their resources to innovation, built on their depth of expertise and performed outstandingly over the year."

Chambers Guide 2011 gave Julie Pearl the only "Star Individual" ranking in Northern California, a region with more than 2,000 immigration attorneys. The firm was ranked in the Top Band for Immigration - one of only two immigration firms in Northern California receiving this distinction.

Ms. Pearl also was named by the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal as one of the "2011 Women of Influence in Silicon Valley." Now in its fourth year, the Journal honors 100 Silicon Valley women each year for their leadership in business, as nominated by peers and selected by business leaders.

Bernard Wolfsdorf was named corporate immigration lawyer of the year, for the second year in a row, by Who’s Who Legal. For more information, see http://www.whoswholegal.com/news/features/article/29126/an-interview-bernie-wolfsdorf-corporate-immigration-award-winner-2011/.

Several ABIL Global members were also named among the "Nation's 20 Most Powerful Immigration Attorneys" by HR Executive Magazine, including:

Julie Pearl

Bernard Wolfsdorf

For the full list, see http://www.humanresourceexecutive-digital.com/humanresourceexecutive/20110616?pg=52#pg52.

 
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