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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...

Indian E-visa Program for British Nationals

Posted on Oct 28, 2015 in Migration News, Travel |

On 15 Aug, India finally opened its e-visa program for British nationals. The UK is one of the 113 nationalities eligible for Indian e-Tourist visa. The whole process and paperwork is much easier and cheaper. The aim of the Indian government is to boost tourism in India. Indian eVisa is for people who want to visit India for tourism, i.e. recreation and sightseeing, visiting friends or relatives; or for business visits. An Indian government statement said: “With this addition, the total count of countries under the scheme will go up to 113. Simultaneously, we are going to add seven more Indian airports as designated airports for entry on e-Tourist Visa from 15th August 2015.” Around 800,000 British citizens visit India every year. India announced that 7.68 million foreigners visited the country last year. Those willing to travel to India on e-TV should apply at least 4 days before the date of travel. This is because, the visa is not issued automatically, once the application is submitted, travellers get their entry documents within 4 days via email. The application process is simplified for Britons – no need to make a paper application. The passport should be valid at least six months from the date of arrival in India and all applicants should carry a copy of the e-visa while travelling. This visa is valid for 30 days from the day of arrival in India. VisaFirst is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about Tourist and Business visas, you can e-mail us at If you found this information useful, please share 🙂          ...

Meet us in Australia!

Posted on Oct 13, 2015 in Migration News |

Are you looking to remain in Australia but not sure of your visa options, then meet a registered migration agent! Declan Clune, a registered MARA agent is meeting clients across Australia helping people to find their options to stay on. Migration talks are taking place across the country: 19th October Monday Sydney 21st October Wednesday Brisbane 23rd October Friday Melbourne 25th October Sunday Perth If you want to meet face to face with migration expert and provider of information on relocation, services for living and working opportunities, register and book a placement now! Regardless of what stage of the process you are, we can help you out with the visa process. Your appointment will be confirmed once your booking is approved. Consultation fees of AUD 100 will apply but these will be deducted from your visa application...

Do you Know Your Working Rights in Australia?

Posted on Oct 7, 2015 in Australia |

The 10 basic rights all employees in Australia are entitled to are: Maximum of 38 hours working week for standard week plus additional hours Annual leave – four weeks paid leave Parental and adoption unpaid leave of 12 months with an option to request another 12 months Personal / carer’s leave of 10 days Request flexible working arrangements Public holidays leave Log service leave Community service leave Notice of termination and redundancy pay Provision of a Fair Work Information Statement What are the minimum pay rates for foreign workers? In Australia, all employees are treated equally regardless if they are temporary work visa holders or Australian citizens. No one should be paid less than the minimum wage. The national minimum wage in Australia as of July 2015 is $656.90 per week, or $17 .29 per hour. Can you be paid in cash? Yes, if your employer decides so and as long as the appropriate taxes are paid to the Australian Tax Office. Alternatively, you can be paid using cheque, money or postal order or money transfer into your bank account. You should also be getting superannuation. Taking your wages in cash and not paying any taxes is against the Australian laws. All employers should issue a payslip within 1 day of your pay day. What are your working rights as a 457 Visa holder: The employers hiring overseas skilled workers on 457 visa need to ensure the conditions and pay rate offered are not less favourable than those offered on their Australians working the same or similar job in the same workplace. You and your family can be covered all travel costs in case you need to leave Australia – you only need to request this in written You are only required to provide the duties related to your approved occupation Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about Canadian visas, you can e-mail us at If you found this information useful, please share...

Australian Skilled Migration Update – September 2015

Posted on Oct 1, 2015 in Migration News |

Applications for the old skilled visas, subclass 175, 176 and 475 visa that are no longer eligible under the new General Skilled Migration Program have been capped and taken to have never been made. The Australian Immigration will issue refund of the application fees, but could a refund compensate people waiting for their applications to be processed for 5 years and more! Most of the Skilled Independent 175 visa applications have already been allocated and processed but the most affected people were those submitted family sponsored applications. This underlines again the current government policy to reduce the number of family migrants. Current Update on the SkillSelect From October, there will be two invitation rounds which will mean shorter waiting time for visa invitation There were only 20 invitations for accounts in the September round. It is expected that the minimum score for invitation in this occupation would be 65 for the rest of 2015. There are no more available places for External or Internal Auditors for skilled 189 visa and family sponsored 489 visa until July 2016. These occupations are only eligible for state nomination visas (subclass 190 and 489). Anyone willing to gain more points and thus increase their chances for visa invitation may consider any of below options: Improve their English language scores Claim points for spouse’s skills Complete a professional year program in Australia Visa First is a leading international immigration consulting company. For additional information about Australian visas, you can e-mail us at If you found this information useful, please share 🙂  ...