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Stay in Melbourne for Free

Posted on May 20, 2010 in Travel |

Yup, you got that right—you can stay for up to four nights for free in a hotel room in Melbourne between June 1 and August 31—as long as you are a social networker. “Melbourne’s booking agents are looking for people with a keen interest in a creative field (not necessarily their job) and strong social networking connections,” according to www.smh.com.au. The online tourism guide Lost and Found offers the accommodation at the top of Little Collins Street. The room is furnished with products chosen specifically for their quality and to present Melbourne as the “city of creative people producing interesting things.” Guests can enjoy the free night at that room which is like a gallery showcasing artistic solutions from different designers and artists—from pillow cases, to lamps and lotions for the bathroom. “Part publication, part hotel room, part cultural therapist, part gallery and part guide” is how Lost and Found greets the visitors at their website www.wearelostandfound.com.au. In addition to the rather unusual offer, visitors will also have a private concierge who will make the bookings and will provide tips and information about exploring Melbourne. “Your concierge also writes copy for the Lost & Found publication so you can expect them to be very well informed,” Lost and Found say. Social networkers are the targeted guests because “social networking and digital media are now mainstream channels of communication,” Tourism Victoria’s Ali Garner, said. “These mediums are changing the way people travel, putting the consumer in control with the ability to create and share their own travel content.” For more information and reservation, visit...

Airplanes Vs. Airports—Which One Is Filthier?

Posted on May 19, 2010 in Travel |

Opposite to most people’s expectations, travellers are more likely to catch a cold or flu at the airport rather than on the plane. Airports appear to be full of germs, and according to Dr Deborah Mills, from the Travel Medical Alliance, the airport toilets are filthy and third of people don’t wash their hands when going in and out of there. Mills added that it’s a misconception to think that the airconditioning at the airplane spreads viruses and gets people sick. In fact, getting sick on the plane is as likely as getting sick at a shopping center. “The air on the plane is funnelled through the jet engines to purify it which kills all the germs,” she said.”The way the airconditioning works is that when the plane is running it only goes over a few seats and then gets sucked in.” Specialists also warn that the sanitizing gels that are massively being used when travelling cannot replace the actual hand wash with soup and water because the gel doesn’t remove the dirt and germs, and it cannot kill tougher viruses like hepatitis A.   Source:...

Guide Books and Maps Are Démodé—Rent a Local Friend

Posted on May 19, 2010 in Travel |

If you are travelling alone or if you have no idea where you are going; if you don’t know where to check for directions and how to get places—if only you had a local friend to ask…   Guess what: You can now rent a local buddy. Thoughtful journalist Alice Moura from Brazil first came up with this simple but very useful idea, which is already an official service. She created the website rentalocalfriend.com where one can literally rent a local friend from the visited place. Since he is local, the “friend” will be able to show you hidden gems and make you blend in with the culture, so you can experience the local spirit to the fullest.   This service is totally different from the usual organized guide tours and excursions which are quite limiting and not synchronized with the personal preferences.   “I thought mostly of backpackers. But many clients are elderly people who like personalized service. We also have families that don’t like inflexible tours, and young people who want to know trendy places,” Moura said at news.com.au.   The local buddy can take you anywhere you want according to your preferences and taste. He will take you places that are not popular tourist spots and only locals know of.   Moura created this service after she had been a traveller for years and discovered that the best way to explore and understand a culture is when she was interacting with locals. Then, she wanted others to experience the same.   The service is quickly gaining popularity and is now available in Brazil, USA, Portugal, Spain, UK, France, Italy, China and India.   Moura said that many clients have remained friends with their guides and had a lot of fun.   Here’s what somebody had to say about “Rent a Local Friend” at rentalocalfriend.com:   “During these days I can say I felt like a local. I had the opportunity to know the highlights of the city at the same time that I have discovered some exclusive and unique places that just Paris citizens know. I...

What Is a Substantial Criminal Record?

Posted on May 18, 2010 in Australia Working Holiday |

Applying for a visa (even if it’s a working holiday visa) is definitely stressful and time consuming as you are required to gather all kinds of papers and proofs that you are a normal person with good intentions. Sometimes you just need luck. We have all heard those stories where someone’s application was absolutely perfect and he or she was denied. Another one was quite negligent and still got the visa. Whatever the case, you don’t want to risk and take chances, so you better do as instructed. What’s more, don’t lie when filling out the papers. In an attempt to process everything faster, people sometimes omit important information regarding a criminal record from the past, thinking it wasn’t significant and it would take forever to gather additional information to describe the case. These people often end up with a denied visa to Australia and a ruined holiday they have dreamed of. Whether the criminal record was or was not significant, whether it was years ago, let the authorities decide. They appreciate the honesty, and even if they ask for additional documentation, that shouldn’t worry you—just plan more time for the visa application process, and you got real chances to actually get that visa. As people are often confused what is considered a serious criminal conviction, we have provided a list of character requirements for you from www.immi.gov.au.   Substantial criminal records A person is deemed to have a substantial criminal record if they have been: -sentenced to either death or life imprisonment -sentenced to a term of imprisonment for 12 months or more -sentenced to two or more terms of imprisonment (whether on one or more occasions), where the total of those terms is two years or more -acquitted of an offence on the grounds of either unsoundness of mind or insanity and, as a result, the person has been detained in a facility or institution. You will have to pass a character test to determine whether you are “of acceptable character” to enter Australia. Here are the requirements for the character test: A Character test A person...

Migration

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 news.bbc.co.uk, 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  globalissues.com:   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;...

International Movers – Let Professionals Help You

Posted on May 15, 2010 in Living Abroad |

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. intlmovers.com 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...

Do I Need Savings to Stay in Australia

Posted on May 15, 2010 in Australia Working Holiday |

“Do I have to have savings to stay in Australia” is what many working holidaymakers ask themselves. You do need to bring money with you when going to Australia, even if you are on a working holiday visa and plan to work. Few are lucky to find jobs prior or with their arrival, and few manage to get really well-paid jobs. According to our latest survey, most backpackers needed about two months to find jobs as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth have significantly more job opportunities than other places. Thus, in order to avoid ruining your experience, make sure you have enough at least for the beginning. But how much is enough? The amount of money you might need strongly depends on where you are, how long you are staying, how long it will take till you find a job, what life style you are used to, etc. According to the immigration rules, however, if you are going to Australia on a working holiday visa (1 year), the minimum amount you must have is 5,000 Australian Dollars, and if you are on a six-month tourist visa, you must have at least 6,900 Australian Dollars.  At the airport in Australia, the customs randomly check people entering the country, and if you don’t have a proof (bank statement, traveler’s check, cash) of the required amount, you are likely to be sent back home. If you decide to risk and leave with very little money, you might have unplanned expenses or situations that could definitely spoil the fun. In case you want to transfer money from UK to Australia, check your bank’s fee, as TransferMate could transfer up to 15,000 Euros just for 10-15 Euros. Also, research the area you are going to through Web sites like gumtree.com and seek.com. These are good sources to find a job or cheap...

Immigrating to the UK might become harder

Posted on May 10, 2010 in Living Abroad, Migration News |

On May 7, the Conservative party won the elections with the majority of the votes—10,706,647. If the conservatives keep their promises about better immigration control, they will tighten up the rules for everybody who wants to enter and stay in the country. They will supposedly start monitoring closely immigrants from outside the European Union coming in for economic reasons; introduce stricter rules for UK student visas; apply English language test for non-EU immigrants entering the country to get married, and reduce illegal immigration. It will soon become obvious whether the plan will work out or not. We only hope for clarity and...

Labour Party on Immigration

Posted on May 4, 2010 in Living Abroad, Migration News |

The Labour party believe that controlled immigration has a positive effect on the country. Based on the years of experience, they are confident they have done a lot of positive changes in the immigrant rules. They are implementing “a new Australian-style points-based immigration system,” which will help to let only the skilled immigrants in the country—to help build a stronger economy, per www.labour.org.uk.   They promise that by the end of 2010, in addition to the 100% biometric visas and ID cards for foreign nationals, they will start electric border controls to count people in and out of the country. In order to gain positive results from the new strategy, there will be a points-based system for permanent residence and citizenship, with clearly stated rights and obligations of the candidates—“…because we believe those who look to build a new life here should earn the right to do so.” Such requirements will be to learn English, pay taxes, obey the laws.   “Our Earned Citizenship plans for newcomers, together with the points-based immigration system will reduce overall numbers of economic migrants coming to Britain and the numbers awarded permanent settlement,” say the...

Liberal Democrats on Immigration

Posted on May 4, 2010 in Migration News |

According to the Liberal Democrats, the Government has acted ineffectively and incompetently with the immigration problem. As a result, the public has lost confidence that the country can be liberal towards immigration–as it’s always been before.   The Liberal Democrats see immigration as beneficial for Britain, thus they will support legal immigration and promote integration, but will not allow uncontrolled border passing.   “Liberal Democrats would take control of our borders and immediately reintroduce entry and exit checks,” say the Liberal Democrats according to libdems.org.uk, adding that the National Border Force will be empowered to arrest and bring law violators to justice.   In addition, foreign families that have been living in the country for years and have been paying taxes, will have a way to get a citizenship. The families need to prove they want to work, speak English and “commit to the UK in the long term.”   Another step the party will take is to direct the immigration to under-populated areas, or wherever it’s needed like Scotland, for instance.   At last, the Liberal Democrats promise to establish an asylum system, “for those fleeing real persecution.” The system will be fairer because it will charge “a Canadian-style independent agency” to operate separately from the Home Office. This step will “reduce the number of decisions overturned on appeal.” Finally, the party will allow the asylum-seekers to work in order to support themselves, and this way they will not be dependant on benefits....