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Posted on Jan 12, 2012 in Living Abroad |

Australia will fast-track work visas for skilled workers

Similarly to Canada, which is about to start recruiting Irish workers, Australiais to fast-track work visas for foreign skilled workers. Due to skill shortages in the mining and technology sectors, Australia came up with a plan to attract foreigners as applications for 457 work visas are fast-tracked. In addition, the current three years for employer sponsorship will be increased to six. Currently the application process for 457 visa is 22 days on average, and the aim is to reduce the days to 10. Businesses that wish to be included in the programme, need to meet certain criteria: At least three quarters of their domestic employees must be Australian; They have been a 457 visa sponsor for the last three years, and have at least 30 overseas workers on 457 visa for the past 12 months. For the period 2010-11, Australia granted 113,725 skilled migration visas compared to the 107,868 in 2009-10. At present, Indiais the second of the top three source countries for permanent and temporary migration of skilled workers. The 457 visa is the most used program for Australian or overseas employers to sponsor skilled foreign workers to temporarily work in Australia. Those who are on visa 457 in Australia, can travel in and out of the country as many times as they wish. blog.visafirst.comMore...

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Posted on Jan 12, 2012 in Living Abroad |

Britons Leaving Australia?

A great number of Britons are leaving Australia recently, but the same activity is seen among the Australians who live in the United Kingdom– they are returning home as well. The strong bound between Australiaand theU.K.has been a well-known fact for many years now. As a result, thousands of Britons have immigrated toAustralia, and a huge number of Australians have been coming to the U.K. Recently, however, both sides are massively returning back to their home countries. What could be the reasons for this phenomenon? Britons in Australia Britons are attracted mainly by the weather inAustralia– many dream of an outdoor life, sunny days, barbeque with friends, more space, as well as relaxed lifestyle. Another major fact that looks very appealing is the Australian thriving economy in contrast with the economic downturn inEurope. According to statistics, however, for the period between 2009 and 2010, over 7,000 Britons have left Australia and returned back to the U.K.This is considered “the largest emigration” in recent years, as per statistics from theAustralia’s immigration department. Experts say the reasons for this occurrence is that British people, just like most immigrants anywhere in the world, feel homesick. They simply miss home and are willing to sacrifice the sunshine, the ocean view, the high living standards, in exchange to the feeling of belonging and  feeling at home with friends and family. Australians in the U.K. Apparently, everyone wants what they can’t have. Australians, in contrast with the British people, are attracted by the U.K. for its history and historic surroundings, and mostly the proximity with the rest of the European countries. The fact that Australiais too far away from the rest of the world, encourages many natives to move away and settle somewhere closer to other countries. And, U.K.  seems to be the most logical choice due to the language and close relationships the two countries have. In recent years, however, the rough economic situation in Europe makes sunny Australia more attractive for the Australian immigrants in theU.K. Many of them have trouble finding jobs in U.K. which, on top of the rainy days, is...

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Posted on Nov 10, 2010 in Gap Year, Living Abroad |

‘Gap Year’ – A New Trend Among U.S. Students

‘Gap year’ is recently becoming very popular among U.S. students, although it was once seen as a waste of time. The advantages of taking a gap year, however, are countless. Parents used to (and some still do) rush their children to study, take exams, go to college right after high school. As a result, teenagers often regret about the degrees they signed up for because at that age they rarely know what they want from life. According to statistics, most students who took a year off from school are more focused in college. Holly Bull, a president of the Center for Interim Programs, a consulting firm focused on helping students plan gap years, often speaks at gap fairs and emphasizes the benefits of time off-school. She said that time off helps students become more mature, prevents the repeated change of majors, and it makes them party less once in college. “Low achievers, ultra-high achievers, and those in between,” can benefit from time off, to stave off burnout and indulge in a little self-discovery,” Linda H. Connelly, post-high school counselor at New Trier Township High School, said. “They want to explore what’s out there in the world. It’s a time to reflect and not at such a fast pace. Students learn a lot, it helps them figure out what they want. I see kids blossom, find their passions.” It was wrongly assumed that taking a gap year is for those who are more financially secured because it is related to bigger expenses. Bull explained that students can either explore distant and exotic places, or go somewhere closer to home and participate in certain programs which provide lower costs in return of service. Many service-oriented programs exist out there, such as volunteering at a school for the deaf, clearing national forests, etc. They may also offer stipends, or students can work during the summer in order to pay for the costs. If the students can spend the time travelling is, of course, the best investment as being on the road and coping with different situations by themselves does clear their minds...

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Posted on Oct 20, 2010 in Living Abroad, Migration News |

Germany – Failed to Create Multiculturalism

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that Germany has failed to create a multicultural society where aliens are well-integrated. According to her, people from so many different nationalities cannot live side by side without adapting to the German society. Her Christian Democrats (CDU) party has been demanding from her to take stricter actions against those who don’t show willingness to integrate. In response, she agreed rules have been too lenient towards foreigners before, and that the main thing they should do once in the country, is learn German. This way, they could attend school and have greater chances to find jobs. Germany does need skilled foreign workers, she added. The Labour Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) even suggested simplifying the entry requirements for some foreign workers in order to cope with the lack of about 400,000 skilled workers in the country. “For a few years, more people have been leaving our country than entering it,” she told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. “Wherever it is possible, we must lower the entry hurdles for those who bring the country forward.” Horst Seehofer, chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU’s sister party, said there was no room in Germany for more people from “alien cultures,” and completely rejected the idea to lower the barriers for aliens wanting to immigrate in the country. The whole debate over foreigners in Germany started as a result a book by the former central banker Thilo Sarrazin who accused Muslim immigrants of lowering the intelligence of German society. Despite he was censured and dismissed from the Bundesbank, his views were widely supported by the majority of Germans, a poll has revealed. Merkel has tried to stay objective and back both sides, saying that immigrants must make efforts to integrate, but Germans should accept the cultural diversity foreigners bring into the country. blog.visafirst.comMore...

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Posted on Jul 30, 2010 in Living Abroad |

European Immigration Paradox

Europe is stressing on the high number of immigrants floating the continent, and some of the biggest economies like Germany and UK fear that immigrants harm – rather than support – their economies and cultures. In UK the immigrants, who are increasing extremely fast, are filling up the job availability, and the UK nationals fear that the unemployment rate will keep growing. In addition, the constant wave of foreigners coming into the country is bringing foreign traditions and customs with it, and is thus completely changing the national culture – slowly but surely. Despite all fears and problems coming with the mass immigration to Europe, Brussels says Europe needs more of it in order to recover from the economic downturn. Brussels authorities plan to make it easier for workers to enter Europe for temporary seasonal jobs in farming, tourism and other industries. According to Cecilia Malmstrom, EU home affairs commissioner, more immigrants are needed to fill “labour shortages.” She plans to speed up procedures for hiring managers, specialists and seasonal workers from outside the EU. “We need immigrant workers in order to secure our economic survival,” she said. “We know unemployment rates are still very high in Europe. Paradoxically, at the same time there are labour shortages,” she also explained. The British Home Office, however, does not approve such action, and insists Britain to refuse signing up the latest overhaul of EU border controls. Source: blog.visafirst.comMore...

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Posted on May 17, 2010 in Living Abroad |


The word “migration” usually evokes more negative associations than positive. People naturally feel endangered by foreigners coming into their countries—immigrants— because the newcomers could take their jobs or could change their culture. On the other hand, those who are moving to a new place—emigrants–are scared from the unknown and unexpected. Migration, in fact, is not necessarily a bad thing. In an article at, by Dr. Marlou Schrover, history department, Leiden University, Netherlands, he explains: “Fear of migrants rests upon the fear of change, and especially changes to culture. Culture is, however, not a fixed concept. Cultures change continuously over time. The cultures as we know them today are the result of centuries of migration. “ In addition to the cultural diversity immigrants contribute to, they are often willing to work jobs that natives wouldn’t work—at lower salaries.  They also bring in healthy, fresh ideas and experience. Emigrants inevitably experience cultural shock when they move to another country. Overall, however, emigration is good for these folks keeping in mind that they are leaving their home lands for a reason–to improve their standards of living or to escape from unemployment, misery, war, etc. Here are some major facts about migration below from   Worldwide, there is an estimated 191 million immigrants; The last 50 years has seen an almost doubling of immigration; 115 million immigrants live in developed countries; 20% (approximately 38 million) live in the US alone, making up 13% of its population; 33% of all immigrants live in Europe; 75% live in just 28 countries; Women constitute approximately half of all migrants at around 95 million; Between 1990 and 2005 There were 36 million migrations (an average of approximately 2.4 million per year); 33 million wound up in industrialized countries; 75% of the increases occurred in just 17 countries; Immigration decreased in 72 countries in the same period;   Visa FirstMore...

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Posted on May 15, 2010 in Living Abroad |

International Movers – Let Professionals Help You

Whether you are moving out temporarily or permanently from UK to New Zealand, Canada, USA, Australia, or whichever other country, there is a lot to be organized and researched upfront. It can be stressful for those who have never done it before, especially since you have to be extra careful while applying for your visa. Life can be much easier, however, if you take advantage of the shipping and moving services available out there. Here is a suggestion that might be helpful in case you are moving away from home. is a Web site that provides all the information about anything related to relocation, shipping and moving. It will send you free quotes from different companies so you can compare the prices and choose the one that best fits your needs. It also gives you a moving checklist and tips, costs, immigration information, and much, much more. Visa FirstMore...

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