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Immigration news from around the world

Published: Mon, 8 May 2006 12:03:55 +0100

Copyright: Copyright 2006

Latest H-1B cap figures

Mon, 08 May 2006 12:03:00 +0100

Since it began accepting applications on April 1, 2006, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved 3,907 H-1B beneficiaries with an additional 8,806 applications pending. This is as of April 24, 2006.  In that same period, USCIS approved 898 H-1B Advanced Degree beneficiaries wth 1,460 applications pending. The respective caps are 58,200 for H-1B visas (with an additional 6,800 set aside under Free Trade Agreements with Chile and Singapore) and 20,000 for H-1B Advanced Degree visas. USCIS estimates the number of beneficiary applications needed to reach the cap, with an allowance for denials and revocations, at 61,000 for H-1Bs and 21,000 for H-1B Advanced Degrees.


Tue, 02 May 2006 11:38:00 +0100

On April 20, 2006, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff and Julie Myers, Assistant Secretary for ICE, unveiled the Department's new strategy to expand interior enforcement efforts. The new plan, will target employers of undocumented aliens, immigration violators inside the US, and criminal networks. The announcement followed on the heels of the employer raids last week that made national headlines and resulted in the arrests of over 1,000 alleged undocumented workers, and the arrest and criminal indictment of several corporate managers. If government agents question you, it is important to understand your rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) Know Your Rights brochure provides effective and useful guidance in a user-friendly question and answer format.  It apprises you of your legal rights, recommends how to preserve those rights, and provides guidance on how to interact with officials.  This free brochure is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Farsi, and Somali.  Brochures can be ordered by calling 800-775-ACLU (2258).  The Brochure in English can be downloaded at 


Thu, 27 Apr 2006 17:40:00 +0100

Starting on April 1st , employers filing a Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker (Form I-129) should mail that form directly to the Vermont Service Center. Also starting on April 1st , employers filing an Immigrant Petition for an Alien Worker (Form I-140) should mail that form directly to the Nebraska Service Center. Employers should file any accompanying forms at these same centralized locations.

These changes mark the first phase of the USCIS initiative to use centralized filing and bi-specialized adjudication. Through this effort, USCIS will align similar workloads between two "sister" service centers. After April 1st , the Vermont and California Service Centers will process all I-129s and related dependent applications. The Nebraska and Texas Service Centers will process all I-140s and related permanent residency applications. Pairing work between service centers will allow USCIS to better manage cases and improve customer service.

Customers will receive a receipt notice from the service center that will process their case. Applicants and petitioners should note that the filing location for the form type is not necessarily the Service Center that will decide the case. USCIS will continue to process cases received before April 1 st using pre-existing procedures. USCIS has previously instructed customers to file I-129 and I-140 petitions at one of its four service centers. Once the amended filing instructions take effect on April 1 st , however, USCIS will not reject any I-129 or I-140 sent to the incorrect service center. Instead, USCIS will accept the filing, redirect it to the correct location, and honor the initial receipt date.

The April 1st changes, establishing a new filing location for forms I-129, I-140 and related forms, do not affect other aspects of the forms’ instructions and do not change the forms themselves. USCIS will continue to honor previous versions of the forms. More information about this change is available by calling USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) toll-free at 1-800-375-5283 or by visiting

Advisement Against Potential Fraud

Thu, 27 Apr 2006 17:04:00 +0100

USCIS states that no new temporary worker program, or any other immigration law, has passed recently. A lot of confusion has arisen due to the recent debate on immigration legislation in the U.S. Congress.

The reason for confusion is that a lot has been reported in the press of late, especially in newspapers abroad in countries like India, making it appear that some bill has passed, or is likely to become the law, that will help many people to obtain the green card more quickly.

Unfortunately, in the world of immigration and many other areas, unscrupulous individuals or businesses seek to take advantage of unsuspecting and desperate individuals by perpetrating fraud against such individuals. Current news reports are only attempting to explain the varying proposals and further the debate. President Bush has ruled out deporting the estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the United States and also praised a plan that offers a path to citizenship for many current illegal aliens. "Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic. It's just not going to work," he told the Orange County Business Council. "You hear people out there hollering, 'It's going to work.' It's not going to work." If and when an essential worker program is ever established and actually becomes law, it will widely be reported by trustworthy sources including governmental websites. There is nothing that anyone can do unless and until such program actually becomes a reality by law. Thus, foreign nationals need to be on their guard and wary of promises related to such programs or benefits at this time.

Certificate of Approval for Marriage (COA) applications

Wed, 19 Apr 2006 09:30:00 +0100

Following a judgement in the High Court on 10th April 2006, the Home Office has suspended decisions on some Certificate of Approval for Marriage (COA) applications.These are ones which would normally fall for refusal under current guidelines. The Home Office will be writing to those applicants affected by the suspension.

COA applications which meet the criteria will continue to be decided.

The Home Office is currently considering the full implications of the judgement and this may include amending current guidelines.

In the meantime, if you are currently planning to submit a COA application, you should submit it in the usual way [ie on the COA (M/CP) application form and with the £135.00 fee].

Lifting of visa restrictions and changes to visa services in Nigeria

Fri, 17 Mar 2006 12:32:00 +0100

The British High Commission, Nigeria has announced that the lifting of the the temporary suspension of visa services for first time visitors aged 18-30 will take effect on Friday 17 March.

The restriction was a temporary but necessary measure introduced in April 2005 owing to unprecedented levels of demand for UK visas in Nigeria.

For more information please contact us for assistance.

Changes to the Immigration Rules - leave to remain and settlement

Mon, 13 Mar 2006 12:26:00 +0100

From March 13 2006, there will be important changes in Immigration Rules, which will affect people applying for leave to remain, and indefinite leave to remain (or settlement), in the UK. The changes will take effect from 3 April this year.The changes, in summary, are: -

  • For all employment-related categories of entry to the UK, and those who have entered under the Ancestry category, the qualifying period for indefinite leave to remain (settlement) is now 5 years.

  • The initial grant of leave to remain will now be 2 years (except for Work Permit holders and Retired Persons of Independent Means), followed by a subsequent period of up to 3 years. The rules previously allowed for an initial period of up to 12 months leave to be granted, followed by a subsequent period of up to 3 years,

  • The UK ancestry provision has been changed to allow leave to be granted in a 2 and 3 year pattern, rather than allowing one single period up to the settlement qualifying period.

  • Retired Persons of Independent Means will still be eligible for one single period of leave all the way up to the settlement qualifying period as before.

  • Work Permit holders will still be eligible for an initial grant of leave up to the currency of their work permit.

  • Highly Skilled Migrant's will now be able to amalgamate continuous time spent in the UK as a work permit holder, Highly Skilled Migrant and / or an Innovator when applying for indefinite leave to remain as a Highly Skilled Migrant.

Please contact us for further information.

Termination of UK Sectors Based Scheme

Tue, 07 Mar 2006 17:57:00 +0100

The Home Office Command Paper, "A Points-Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain", was published today.

The Command Paper announces the Government's intention to terminate the Sectors Based Scheme for the food processing sector at the end of December 2006. This decision reflects the Government's policy, set out its Five Year Strategy on Asylum and Immigration, that existing quota-based low skilled migration schemes would be phased out over time in the light of the availability of labour from an enlarged EU. The decision was taken in the light of, in particular, the numbers of nationals of the new Member States that have registered under the Worker Registration Scheme for employment in the food processing sector since 1 May 2004 (16,995 between 1 May 2004 and 31 December 2005).

The current SBS quota expires at the end of June 2006. The quota for the July to December period has yet to be determined but will be announced in due course.

The Command Paper makes clear that the Government will retain the flexibility to set up future quota-based low-skilled schemes to meet temporary labour shortages.

The planned Skills Advisory Body will be the mechanism for identifying those labour shortages to which such schemes may be an appropriate response.

HSMP Points Calculator

Thu, 29 Sep 2005 18:40:00 +0100

HSMP Points Calculator
Complete this quick online assessment to find out if you qualify for the UK HSMP Visa.

If you upload your CV you can also get a full assessment from a registered immigration consultant.

Immigration Opportunities for Skilled Migrants

Thu, 29 Sep 2005 14:50:00 +0100

Skilled Independent Migration has become increasingly popular with a number of countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Essentially, Skilled Independent Migration allows individuals with strong experience and/or education to migrate to another country with the right to work WITHOUT first needing to find an employer to sponsor a work permit.Skilled Independent Migration has become increasingly popular with a number of countries, including the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Essentially, Skilled Independent Migration allows individuals with strong experience and/or education to migrate to another country with the right to work WITHOUT first needing to find an employer to sponsor a work permit. This gets round the problems faced by people seeing great jobs that they cannot apply for because the employer is unwilling to sponsor their work permit.The purpose of allowing people to enter the country with the right to work already gained is to encourage the entry of people with exactly the skills that the country needs. These visas tend to be more flexible for the individual as they do not tie the person to only one company.United KingdomThe HSMP (Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) is a points based system. Applicants are awarded points for their education, experience and previous earnings and must be awarded a minimum of 65 points to qualify. Applicants who are under 28 will get points for this and find the criteria for other areas easier in terms of lower criteria for points being awarded. MBA students from certain universities around the world are also awarded HSMP purely based on their education. The HSMP Visa allows for an initial one year period, with a further three year extension to be applied for at the end of the first year. This scheme has proved very popular since its creation. You can use an online points calculator to get an idea as to whether you are likely to qualify, such as the UK HSMP Visa Points CalculatorCanadaThe Federal Skilled Worker Visa is again a points based system, but rather more complex than the UK version, with additional points being available in a wider range of areas. These can include points for having a relative in Canada, for having a job offer, for French and English language skills and more. This Visa takes a considerable time to be approved presently, but many feel that the opportunities available in Canada make the wait more than worthwhile. Again, there are online points calculators available to find out if you qualify, such as the Canada Skilled Worker Visa Points CalculatorAustraliaSkilled Workers wishing to migrate to Australia face two main options - the full Skilled Worker Visa and the Skilled Independent Regional Visa. As its name suggests, the Regional Visa allows you to work in a specific region of Australia and is designed to encourage development of these areas specifically. The full Skilled Worker Visa allows you to work anywhere in Australia but requires you to gain a higher level of points. Again, these visas are more complex than the UK version.New ZealandNew Zealand is working hard to encourage skilled migrants to move there and have lowered the pass mark from 195 points in 2004 to its current level of 100 points. As with Canada, having a close relative in New Zealand will gain you extra points and previous work experience gained in New Zealand can also gain you extra points.For individuals with good education and/or experience, there is a strong initiative in these countries to try and encourage you to bring your skills and experience to their economies, representing increasing options available for individuals to experience different cultures and career opportunities. [...]