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Top 10 Things to Do in Melbourne

Posted on Aug 28, 2015 in Australia |

Melbourne has recently been ranked the most liveable city in the world for the fifth year in a row. And we absolutely agree with this! The city is home of great number of attractions and plenty of surrounding destinations. Look at the top 10 places that you should visit in Melbourne according to us: National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria is free, apart from special exhibitions. There is a Kids Space on the ground floor for the children to play in. Designed by Sir Roy Grounds, the National Gallery of Victoria’s international art collection is really outstanding. You can spend a wonderful day enjoying the paintings, sculpture, fashion and photography exhibitions there. To go there use tram to St Kilda Road (multiple routes) or train to Flinders Street. It is open every day from 10am-5pm. Free City Circle Tram This is the best way to get around the city using the free City Circle Tram. It takes around 30 minutes and you can get on and off as many times as you wish. The City Circle Trams stops at places of interests such as Aquarium, Federation Square, Parliament House etc. The tram runs every day between 10 am and 6 pm. Royal Botanic Gardens One of the city’s most impressive treasures is the Royal Botanic Gardens and you can set aside a few hours to take a walk there. It is open every day from 7.30am till sunset. Enjoy a variety of trees, plants and flowers set on 38 hectres of land by the Yarra River. Australian Centre of the Moving Image This is the first centre of this kind in the world dedicated to the cinema and TV shows from the earliest time till the modern videos, moving image from the digital era nowadays. Films and documentaries are screened every day and there are many workshops even for kids. The centre is open daily from 10 am till 5 pm. St Kilda Beach One of the most favourite attractions to relax in Melbourne is St Kilda. It is near to the city surrounded by some...

Canadian vs U.S. Immigration Policies

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 in Canada, Living Abroad, USA |

Canada and the United States have very different immigration policies. One of the biggest difference between the migration systems of both countries is that Canadian immigration is based on employment and qualification while the U.S immigration is based primarily on family ties. Canadian migration policy is an example of employment-based system with a lot of programs enabling the economically-depressed regions to attract more skilled workers from abroad. Approximately 2/3 of all immigrants relocating to Canada are coming via different employment-based programs, while in the USA only 15% of all permanents residents are admitted on the basis of employment. 2/3 of all immigrants in the United States are accepted because they have a close relation to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Provincial Nominee Program In Canada The Provincial Nominee Program in Canada contributes for increasing the share of new permanent residents in less populated provinces. Generally, the PNP immigrants do well in the labor market. In comparison to that, there are no similar state programs in the United States. The U.S. immigration policy remains entirely in the hands of the federal government, compared to the de-centralized migration programs in Canada. Some of the most recent changes in the Canada immigration policy: – Change in the point system used for skilled visa. The focus on the age, Enlish or French language skills and having a job offer was increased while the emphisis on the formal education was decreased. – A separate program was created for skilled trade workers – Federal Skilled Trades Program. – Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – allowing temporary workers and international student switch easily to permanent residence. – Start of the Express Entry system in January 2015 to accept economic immigrants. While the US government has made almost no changes to their immigration policy since 1990s. The only major change have concerned the unauthorised immigrants. U.S. Green Card Lottery vs Canadian Express Entry There is no such program like the U.S. Diversity Lottery program in Canada. However, selected applicants in the Green card lottery are allocated on a random basis. Canada has another sort of pool called...

Labour Agreement will Lower the Income Threshold for 457 Chefs and Cooks in Australia

Posted on Aug 13, 2015 in Australia, Migration News, Work in Australia |

There is a shortfall of 56,000 Chefs, cooks and restaurant managers on Australian market according to Restaurant & Catering Australia. Employers say these are among the most difficult vacancies to fill. Cooks, chefs and restaurant managers were in Top 15 of the nominated occupations for 2014-15. And the sector demanded easier conditions from the Government to get overseas workers for these vacancies through the 457 program. It is expected that the industry will require additional 43,700 jobs by November 2018. As a result of this and to deal with the constant shortages in the sector, a historic labour agreement was negotiated with the Australian government for Cooks and Chefs. Waiters will also be included after national endorsement of this occupation. The labour agreement will lower the income threshold by 10% for restaurants should they meet particular criteria. Industry Labour Agreement outlines some specific requirements for both the business and the overseas worker, such as industry recognition through award programs, la carte menu, having uniformed staff and a maître d’ etc. for the employers; and certain skills, qualifications and English language requirements for the employee. Food and Accommodation sector in Australia was the largest user of the 457 temporary work visa program for the period 2014-15, with 4,350 approved applications. Mr. John, Hart Restaurant & Catering Australia CEO said: “Skilled migration has contributed to the evolution and fusion of cuisine types here in Australia. With migration comes innovation and new ways of thinking about food and the restaurant experience. With skilled migration also comes job creation for local Australians. The reality is most businesses find it difficult to remain open when they cannot find suitably trained staff. The facilitation of a small number of skilled workers under this agreement will ensure businesses remain open, are productive, and have the capacity to hire and train local workers Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about Australian visas, you can e-mail us at contact@visafirst.com. If you found this information useful, please share...

New Zealand Immigration Rule Change

Posted on Aug 11, 2015 in Migration News, New Zealand, New Zealand immigration |

From 1 November 2015, points awarded for New Zealand Skilled visa to people with a job offer outside Auckland will be increased from 10 to 30. Under the current immigration requirements the applicants who can get 140 points get residency. Kiwis will still be given priorities for jobs but if there are no locals to fulfill the places, it will be easier and more attractive for overseas workers to settle outside of Auckland. Government’s goal is to spread migration across the country. People who get the extra points will need to spend at least 12 months in the Southern region of New Zealand, which is an increase from the current 3 months. It was also announced that streamlined labour market tests will now be available nationwide not only in Queensland, to make the whole process more expedient for both the employees and the employers. The new change will enable the employers to get advise from New Zealand Work and Income service before they lodge the visa application, rather than Nz Immigration contacting the Work and Income service after the visa lodgement. Another change that is coming up is that people applying for an Entrepreneur Work Visa who want to set up business outside Auckland will get now 40 bonus points rather than the current 20 points out of 120 points to get residency. It’s not only about the perspective migrants though. A new pathway to residency was announced for all long-term temporarily visa holders in the Southern parts. This policy will also allow low-skilled workers based in the South Island whose visas rolled over for more than 5 years to be offered residency where they have put down roots. There are many migrants who settle in Auckland and at the same time many employers based in other parts of the country experience difficulties in finding enough skilled workers. Prime Minister John Key who announced the policy earlier said we could not be sure how many migrants will move elsewhere as a result of the policy but it was likely to be effective. Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting...

Au Pairs Allowed to Stay with One Family in Australia for Up to 12 Months

Posted on Aug 3, 2015 in Australia, Backpacking, Migration News, Work in Australia |

Au pairs are now allowed to work in Australia on their Working Holiday visa for up to 12 months with one employer, i.e. in one family. Previously they needed to stay no more than 6 months with one family because of the conditions of working holiday visa. What is Au pair? This is usually a young foreign national living in a host family helping with the childcare and household. Au pair is growing in Australia as more and more families avail of its numerous benefits. Au pairs willing to extend their 6 months stay with the same family can now apply for an extension for up to 12 months. This rule comes into effect immediately. It will also be available for au pairs already in Australia who want to extend their stay with another 6 months. To qualify for an Australian Working Holiday visa, you need to be aged 18 to 30 and hold a passports from one of the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Sweden and Taiwan. You also need to meet the other criteria for Working Holiday visa, which can be found here – Eligibility. Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about Australian visas, you can e-mail us at contact@visafirst.com. If you found this information useful, please share 🙂...

15 Tips for a Better Flight

Posted on Jul 13, 2015 in Tips and Tricks, Travel |

You may have noticed that most of the countries have different policies concerning the items you are allowed to have with you when on board so you may wish to contact them and try to get more information before you start packing but here you are some basic general tips that are useful in any case. 1. Know what items are allowed to avoid being asked to leave something behind at the airport. 2. Check the allowances and charges for baggage as they are constantly changing. 3. Take your laptop from your baggage and put it in a plastic bag. 4. Keep your boarding pass with you. 5. Never ask someone else to watch your luggage and don’t do this for someone else. 6. Keep it quiet in the airport and on the plane. While you might be going on a vacation, the passenger next to you might be working or trying to get some sleep. 7. Put carry-on liquids in a separate bag. Remember, no containers over 3 ounces. 8. Respect other’s personal space – this relates to both physical and mental space. 9. Do not over pack. Don’t bring with you items that you never use, especially if you plan to visit different locations. 10. If you use medications that you need to carry with you, declare this to an airport security officer and they will be screened at the checkpoint. Mind for medicine without proper labelling and if possible bring your doctor’s prescription. Baby food and formula should also be declared and labelled properly. 11. Be careful with lighters, pocketknives, needles, nail cutters. Some airlines will not allow you to bring any of these. 12. Bring your shoes and belts in a separate plastic bag. 13. Wear noise-reducing headphones – very useful if there are unhappy kids around. 14. Dress up comfortably. 15. Be friendly and acknowledge others. Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about moving abroad, you can e-mail us at contact@visafirst.com. If you found this information useful, please share 🙂...

Moving to Ireland – Complete Guide

Posted on Jul 3, 2015 in Ireland, Living Abroad |

Moving abroad is always a big step requiring a lot of planning and coordination. So, be prepared for this change in your lifestyle. It might be good to know that all European Union passport holders are not required a visa to live and work in Ireland. However, people from the countries below need to get a visa prior to landing in Ireland: Afghanistan Guinea-Bissau Papua New Guinea Albania Haiti Peru Algeria India Philippines Angola Indonesia Puerto Rico Armenia Iran Qatar Azerbaijan Iraq Russian Federation Bahrain Jamaica Rwanda Bangladesh Jordan Sao Tome and Principe Belarus Kazakhstan Saudi Arabia Benin Kenya Senegal Bhutan Korea Serbia Bosnia and Herzegovina Kosovo Sierra Leone Burkina Faso Kuwait Somalia Burma Kyrgyzstan Sri Lanka Burundi Laos Sudan Cambodia Lebanon Suriname Cameroon Liberia Syrian Arab Republic Cape Verde Libya Tajikistan Central African Republic Macedonia Tanzania Chad Madagascar Thailand China Mali Timor-Leste Colombia Marshall Islands Togo Comoros Martinique Tunisia Congo Mauritania Turkey Congo Mauritius Turkmenistan Cote d’Ivoire, Micronesia Uganda Cuba Moldova Ukraine Djibouti Mongolia United Arab Emirates Dominican Republic Montenegro U.S. Minor Outlying Islands Ecuador Morocco Uzbekistan Egypt Mozambique Venezuela Eritrea Namibia Vietnam Equatorial Guinea Nepal Virgin Islands (U.S.) Ethiopia Netherlands Antilles Yemen Faroe Islands Niger Zambia Gabon Nigeria Zimbabwe Gambia Oman Georgia Pakistan Ghana Palau Greenland Palestinian National Authority Guinea Types of Visas In case you need a visa for Ireland, you can avail of different visa options depending on your intentions – whether you plan to work temporarily or move to Ireland permanently. Irish Working Holiday visa is for young Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and Americans between 18 and 30 years old to visit Ireland for an extended holiday supplemented by casual employment for 12 months. Apply for your Ireland Working Holiday Visa here. Ireland General Employment Permit  – the Irish Work permit is for non-EU citizens to work legally in Ireland for an employer in a particular occupation. The validity of the permit is two years. In order to qualify you need a job offer from an Irish employer. There is a requirement for the employer to have a minimum number of EEA nationals employed...

Is it Better to Live in Australia or New Zealand?

Posted on Jun 22, 2015 in Migration News |

They usually say: “If you want bucks, go to Australia, if you want quality of life, choose New Zealand”. But how true is that and why people are constantly comparing Australia and New Zealand? Perhaps, there are many more things in common than there are differences between them both. Let’s start with the similarities: both Aussies and Kiwis share many common traits such as culture, equality, mateship, ‘tall poppy’ syndrome, both love outdoor lifestyle, and sports. Most probably, some of these differences come from the various size and population – Australia’s population is 22.26 million, which is 5 times more than New Zeland (4.37 million). And here come the job opportunities, higher salaries, bigger market, stronger competiton etc. Australia’s Pros: More job opportunities. Unemployment is higher in New Zealand. Higher incomes and higher standard of living Higher salaries Warmer weather – If you’re coming from a cold climate, you may prefer the New Zealand climate though. No earthquakes More culturally diverse More internationally connected New Zealand’s Pros: Lower taxes (NZ tax rate is half of Australia’s one) Lower cost of living (around 10% lower in NZ) Not that high temperatures Friendlier people (especially in the larger cities) No snakes, poisonous spiders, hurricanes, bushfires etc. Safer compared to Australia – the crime rate is 12 times lower than that in Sydney and Melbourne and Australia boosts for having a very low crime rate than most parts of world! Stunning natural beauty – although Australia’s nature is magnificent, New Zealand’s one is much more diverse. Cost of Living Comparison Between Australia and New Zealand source: www.numbeo.com   Australia  New Zealand Meal for 2 at a Restaurant 80.00 A$ (90.06 NZ$)     79.95 A$ (90.00 NZ$) Milk, (1 liter) 1.42 A$ (1.60 NZ$)     2.35 A$ (2.64 NZ$) Loaf of Bread 2.80 A$ (3.15 NZ$)     2.25 A$ (2.53 NZ$) Rice (white), (1kg) 3.05 A$ (3.43 NZ$)     2.36 A$ (2.65 NZ$) Eggs (12) 4.54 A$ (5.11 NZ$)     4.03 A$ (4.54 NZ$) Apples (1kg) 4.26 A$ (4.79 NZ$)     3.26 A$ (3.67 NZ$) Oranges (1kg) 3.77 A$ (4.25 NZ$)     3.17 A$ (3.56 NZ$) Tomato (1kg) 4.79 A$ (5.39 NZ$)     5.04 A$ (5.68 NZ$) Potato (1kg) 3.07 A$ (3.46 NZ$)     2.24 A$ (2.52 NZ$) Water (1.5 liter bottle) 2.46 A$ (2.77 NZ$)     2.30 A$ (2.59 NZ$) Bottle of Wine 15.00 A$ (16.89 NZ$)     12.88 A$ (14.50 NZ$) Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle) 4.96 A$...

How to Start a Business in Australia?

Posted on Jun 15, 2015 in Australia |

Starting a new business might be really scary – it involves a lot of planning and financial decisions. Australia is considered as very friendly to business-minded people. You need to decide first what your intentions are: investing in a new business, working as a foreign company or acquiring an existing company in Australia. There are four basic business structures Down Under – think which one is most suitable for your business: sole trader, companies, partnerships and trusts. Each and every company in Australia are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. Before you Start a Business, you need: Business Plan – this is the first and the most crucial step. It gives you the insights of your business for the coming years and it outlines the route you intend to take, the prospective revenues, costs, competitors etc. Get an ABN – This is an unique 11 digit number which is individual for each business and is called Australian Business Number (ABN). If you have already worked in Australia and you have a TFN, the ABN doesn’t replace it but it’s used for business tax purposes. Business Visa Options Australian Business Short Stay Visa – this 3-month visa might suit you if your plans are to attend meetings, negotiations and business visits. It doesn’t allow you to work in Australia. Australian Business Innovation and Investment Visa (provisional) – this is a 4-year visa that might be useful if you want to manage a new or existing business and/or make an investment in Australia. It gives you an option to extend your stay for another 2 years should you need to develop your business there. You first need to submit an Expression of Interest and to be nominated by an Australian state. Australian Business Innovation and Investment Visa (permanent) – this visa allows you to continue your business in Australia. In order to qualify you need to have a state nomination and to hold one of the visas below: the provisional Business Innovation and Investment visa or 457 Business (long term) visa or Special category visa Australia Business Owner visa...

Moving to New Zealand

Posted on Jun 8, 2015 in Living Abroad, Migration News, New Zealand |

Where t o Move in New Zealand? There’s no one best place in New Zealand to head off – it all depends on your intentions. Whether you’ll give priority to your job and move to a place with excellent job prospects or you prefer to run away from the crowded metropolitan area and get back to nature – it’s all your choice! Auckland is the largest city with a population of over 1.2 million people. It’s a multicultural and industrial centre. The city transport is perfectly organized and you can find accommodation easily. Although Auckland is considered an expensive destination, it’s an ideal place to start your new life. Christchurch is the second largest city in the country with an excellent climate, educational and social facilities and you can get a perfect combination of working and relaxing here. Wellington is the windy capital city of New Zealand and the first place where European settlers arrived. It’s also an administrative and cultural centre with some of the best galleries, museums and restaurants in New Zealand. Its hilly terrain automatically grabs all newcomers’ attention offering a spectacular city view both at day and nighttimes. Hamilton is a lovely city located alongside the longest New Zealand’s river – Waikato river. Its major benefit is the short distance to beaches, mountains, lakes and caves. It offers a great outdoor life. It’s also a student centre with more than 25,000 people involved in studies. Cost of Living According to Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey, New Zealand’s major cities are more affordable compared to the metropolitans in the USA or in some European areas. New Zealand Cost of Living Meal in a Restaurant 18.00 NZ$ Beer (0.5 liter) 7.00 NZ$ Water (0.33 liter) 2.80 NZ$ Bread (500g) 2.50 NZ$ Rice (1kg) 2.60NZ$ Cheese (1kg) 10.25 NZ$ Tomato (1kg) 5.50NZ$ Potato (1kg) 2.50NZ$ Apples (1kg) 3.60NZ$ Transportation One-way Ticket (Local Transport) 3.50 NZ$ Taxi 1km 2.75 NZ$ Gasoline (1 liter) 2.00 NZ$ Utilities (Electricity, Heating, Water, Garbage) for 1 bedroom apartment (Monthly) 180 NZ$ 1 min. of Mobile Tariff Local 0.60 NZ$ Internet (6 Mbps) 89 NZ$ Rent Per Month (1 bedroom apartment) in City Centre...