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Explore Auténtica Cuba

Posted on Jun 3, 2016 in Tips and Tricks, Travel Destinations |

Over the past 18 months, Cuba has been in the news more than it has been in recent years. This is obviously due to the normalisation of U.S.A. – Cuban relations and the relaxation of the Cuba Trade Embargo. However, there have been many media reports pointing out that soon Cuba will be a changed country due to an influx of American tourists and goods; Cuba will be a homogenous tropical tourist destination, just like anywhere else in the Caribbean. Of course, anyone who has been to Cuba knows that this is unlikely to be the case. Millions of Canadian, Australians, Europeans, Russians and Chinese people visit Cuba each year, bringing with them plenty of the culture these nationalities share with Americans. It surprises many people but in some regards, Cuba is more modern and developed than people realise. Here’s a quick run-down of what to expect and what to do when you get to Cuba: Cuban Surprises You can get Coca-Cola! And Heinz ketchup, Nike clothes, Marlboro cigarettes, Disney toys and many other products by American brands. The products are usually manufactured or produced in Mexico or other Latin American countries but Cubans have access to these goods. Not everyone drives a Lada or a 1950’s Ford. In fact, contemporary motors by European and Russian manufacturers are just as plentiful as classic cars. Virtually every Cuban you meet will be bi- or tri-lingual. Spanish is the national language but most people can speak English as well as French or German. Prior to 1991, Russian was taught as student’s second language in schools so many Cubans are fluent Russian speakers too. Cuba has the best education system in Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuba also dedicates more of its national budget to education than any other country in the world! Plus, education is free in Cuba which means most Cubans are highly educated to third or even fourth level. However, the most sought after jobs in Cuba are careers in the tourist industry. Tourism jobs pay more than most jobs – partially due to tips, so it’s not unusual...

World’s Best Place to Live – Melbourne, Australia

Posted on May 27, 2016 in Migration News |

Melbourne Australia has been voted the best liveable city in the world according to ’’The Economist” and its annual report “Global Liveability Ranking 2015”. In the report were included 140 cities across the globe. The ranking is based on 30 factors including safety, healthcare, educational resources, infrastructure and environment. UK and Ireland immigrants are amongst the top 10 nations moving to Australia according to Visa First manager and immigration expert Edwina Shanahan. “Visa First helps thousands of those people to get Australian Visa to live and work” she adds. Top 8 of Most Livable Cities Melbourne, Australia; Vienna, Austria; Vancouver, Canada; Toronto, Canada; Calgary, Canada 5th; Adelaide, Australia; Sydney, Australia. Noticeable is the strong presence of Australian and Canadian cities in this report. There are multiple reasons for the leading position of Melbourne – economical, social, cultural, all contributing for this result. The city is famous for its cultural diversity and people from many different corners of the globe contributing for the unique atmosphere of the city. The infrastructure and public transport are very well developed and contribute for the easy daily commuting of the local people. Besides the great infrastructure and great opportunities for work and study it is a great place for your free time as well. There are many museums and galleries displaying many interesting pieces of art and of course good number of museums showing the life and culture of Aboriginal people. Melbourne is considered a Unesco city of literature because of the literary festivals, book stores, great history of famous award winning authors. To read the full report – click here. View a complete list of Australian Visas processed by Visa First – click...

Ireland Needs More Highly Qualified Professionals

Posted on May 20, 2016 in Migration News |

The past few years were not very good for the Irish economy and its qualified workforce. The so called “brain drain” was a big factor for a significant part of the economy and the corporate world in Ireland. Since the economic recession is gone there is a good sign of economic recovery showing an interest in the corporate world to hire non EU professionals to help grow the local business. There is a visible trend of increasing number of immigrants and visa work permits for granted to professionals in HSE and IT sector. The growth in 2016 is going to be around 9 000 compared to 7 353 in 2015 according to Visa First expert Edwina Shanahan. Link to the interview of Visa First expert Edwina Shanahan click...

5 Reasons To Visit Beautiful Eastern Australia

Posted on May 20, 2016 in Migration News |

It looks like Australia is going to continue to top people’s bucket list of vacation spots. Tourism Australia recently released figures for yearly international visitors which hit a record 7.67 million for this past year, a year-over-year increase of 8.7%. With almost 8 million kilometres of land, Australia is a treasure trove of desert, rainforest, coral reefs, mountains, islands, grasslands and cities. Unless you have weeks or months to spare, you are unlikely to fit it in all of Australia’s diversity in one trip which is why visitors to Australia usually pick one area to focus on while on holiday. In 2015, the east coast proved to be the most popular with tourists and it’s pretty easy to see why. If you can’t decide where in Oz to go, these five reasons to visit eastern Australia might help you make up your mind: Hyams Beach According to the Guinness Book of Records, the whitest sand in the world can be found at Hyams Beach. It’s kind of relaxing just to imagine all that fine white sand between your toes! Hyams Beach is the very definition of idyllic – the seaside town is dotted with cottages and old fashioned beach houses overlooking the Pacific. Snorkelling and diving are popular activities but Hyams Beach is also a great spot for wildlife watching due to its proximity to two national parks and a botanical garden. It’s not unusual to see whales, sharks, dolphins and octopus as well as native Australian birds and animals. Byron Bay If you want to holiday like the stars, head to Byron Bay. Over the past few years, Byron Bay has become the go to vacation spot for Australian and international celebrities. Known as one of the East Coast’s quirkier and more alternative cities, Byron Bay is a popular resort for people attending music or film festivals, yoga retreats and even pagan gatherings. Surfing and whale watching are also popular tourist activities as well as visiting one of the Bay’s many regular farmer’s markets. Sydney It may be the obvious choice but that’s no reason to leave it...

Fort McMurray: Fire & Rescue

Posted on May 16, 2016 in Canada, Canadian Immigration, Working Abroad |

For decades, Fort McMurray has been the hallmark of the Canadian energy and natural resources industry, situated in the north of Alberta, Canada. It is a cold industrial city with temperatures rarely reaching above 10 °C. However, Fort McMurray is a big draw for people from overseas or from less economically stable parts of Canada like Newfoundland and Labrador. Fort McMurray is a massively multicultural city, with people moving hoping to find lucrative work in Tar Sands and oil fields. Even as the economy declined and work in the oil industry dried up throughout 2014, 2015 and in to 2016, people from all corners of the world flocked to Fort McMurray. The Burden of the Fort Mac Wildfire On May 1st 2016, the Fort McMurray blaze took hold. With the potential to be more devastating than any economic or financial disaster in the area, the fire in Fort Mac will likely become one of Canada’s biggest and most costly natural disasters. At the time of writing, the fire has been burning for two weeks. Currently no cause has been identified but it is speculated that a drier than usual winter high temperatures in the region led to the wildfire outbreak. Although wildfires are a natural and necessary occurrence, the Fort McMurray Fire has been exceptionally devastating to both the environment and the economy: The wildfire spans more than 2400 square kilometres with smaller hotspots outside the city perimeter; 94,000+ residents were evacuated; 2400 homes and buildings have been destroyed with some areas reporting losses of 70% and 90% of all homes; 530 buildings have been damaged; The oil industry is estimated to lose $760 million worth of production in the month following the outbreak of the blaze; The recovery cost is currently estimated at $9 billion with insurance pay-outs estimated to be between $2.5 and 5 billion; A significant spike in O2 emissions is expected; A general surge in waste , toxicity and water and air pollution. What Comes Next Over the coming months, huge rebuilding operations are set to take place in Fort McMurray. With the extent of...

6 Misconceptions About Australia and New Zealand

Posted on Nov 26, 2015 in Australia, New Zealand |

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT AUSTRALIA Not all animals are poisonous in Australia. In fact you can hardly come by bad spiders and snakes, so they could be easily avoided. Furthermore, Australia is the home of one of the sweetest animal – the Quokka. Not all Aussies live outback. Actually half of Australia’s population live in the five largest cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Aussies and Kiwis are not the same. While they do are more similar to each other compared to Chinese or Arabs, the two nations are quite different. It’s like saying that Canada is part of the United States of America and vice versa. Kiwis are really tetchy on this topic. MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT NEW ZEALAND New Zealand is 100% green. Some tourists get the impression that everything is clean and green in New Zealand. This is not true. New Zealand is not as green as people think it is. In fact the environment records are not that impressive. New Zealand has 20 sheep for every person. Although, no one’s going to deny the fact that sheep farming has been crucial in the development of New Zealand’s economy, it now stands at seven sheep per human. The capital of New Zealand is Auckland. If you hear Auckland all the time this is because Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and main transport hub. But New Zealand’s capital since 1865 is Wellington. Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about New Zealand visas, you can e-mail us at If you found this information useful, please share...

7 Top Places to Visit in Perth

Posted on Nov 13, 2015 in Australia, Australian Immigration, Living Abroad, Travel, Travel Destinations |

Perth is ranked one of the best places to live on the planet and also one of the world’s most sunniest capital city. These are the top 7 places to visit in Perth: 1. Kings Park and Botanic Gardens Kings Park and Botanic Garden is often called the green heart of the city. It is located in the top of St. George’s Terrace. The park is one of the most popular destinations among the tourists in Western Australia. There are extraordinary river and city views from the park. With its barbeque and picnic facilities, Kings Park is preferred by families with young children. 2. Perth Cultural Centre The Perth Cultural Centre includes the Western Australian Museum, the Library of Western Australia, the Art Gallery, the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts and The Blue Room Theatre. It is a place to learn new things, get involved in different activities or just enjoy the sunshine. Near to the public transport and adjacent to the Perth central train station, the Cultural Centre is a dynamic and lively public area. 3. Fremantle Harbour Fremantle has recently been named in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2016. It is one of Australia’s busiest ports. There’s a great weekend market here with locally grown produce and live music. The streets are full of trendy cafes and bars, musicians and collections of art. Tourists are also attracted by the waterfront at the western end of Victoria Quay as it is open for people to watch the port’s workings. 4. Cottesloe Beach Cottesloe Beach is one of Perth’s best and most popular beaches. Walking along the coastline, surfing, diving or snorkelling are just a few of all the activities you can enjoy here. In March Cottesloe Beach becomes an open gallery. 5. Rottnest Island  Rottnest Island attracts half a million visitors a year. It is a nature reserve and an idyllic little island offering a range of marvellous white beaches with crystal clear water, bays and coves, reefs and wrecks. 6. Perth Zoo What you can find in Perth Zoo is a diversity of 164 species of animals and a...

Visa Applicants Encouraged to Move to Regional New Zealand

Posted on Nov 5, 2015 in New Zealand |

New visa criteria applied from 1 November 2015 for those willing to apply for New Zealand Permanent Skilled Visa and Essential Skills Temporary Work Visa. Changes on the New Zealand Skilled Migrant Program: Points for job offer outside Auckland for Skilled Migrant Visa are increased from 10 to 30. Points for entrepreneurs under the Entrepreneur Work Visa are increased from 20 to 40. More clarity for employers in the visa process through streamlined labour market test. Applicants who have claimed 10 points for job offer outside Auckland and whose applications have not yet been processed will automatically get the additional points now. Skilled migrants getting permanent visa should not take up work in Auckland for 12 months after their skilled visa is granted. They will need to remain outside Auckland for 12 months if they’ve not yet taken the position or have been in their job for three months or less. Changes on the New Zealand Essential Skills Program: Employers can now seek advice from Work and Income Service New Zealand to obtain a Skills Match Report before a visa application is lodged, not after that. It is expected that this will significantly cut the visa processing time as Immigration New Zealand officers will no longer need to do routine checks after visa application is submitted. All employers are now encouraged to contact Work and Income prior to applicant’s visa application although they will still be able to hire low skilled occupations without a Skills Match Report. This will be possible until March 2016 when all low skilled applicants will need to submit a Skills Match Report as part of their visa application. The Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said: “The changes will encourage skilled migrants and entrepreneurs to settle outside Auckland. For skilled roles that are hard to fill in certain regions we should be doing more to attract and retain high calibre migrants to help those regions grow. These changes will contribute to a better balance in our immigration settings and will allow regions to access more of the people, skills and investment they need to build the...