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Schengen (Dis)agreement

Posted on Apr 27, 2010 in Migration News |

I came across a very well illustrated blog post on Schengen visas. Maya, the blog owner seem to really hit a dead end with her visa application. Such problems are common and, I’m sure, everyone had a similar situation when dealing with authorities.   One common problem is when a person is applying for a Schengen visa for, let us say, France and then decides to stain in Spain for more days that he/she intends to stay in France. In that case the application will be canceled and the person will have to apply for a Schengen visa to Spain.   I have to agree with Maya on one thing “A passport does not make a person“. It would have been great if the authorities had a way to find that out and use...

The Universal Packaging Checklist

Posted on Apr 16, 2010 in Migration News |

Preparing for a trip is so easy now, as long as you have patience to research the Web for some travelling tips. Different Web sites compete to provide full information for the traveller—from cheap plane tickets to the targeted destination, to a top five items you must have in your backpack. Here is a tool,, created to provide some helpful information for those on the road. The information you will read there is controlled only by you: You generate your own packaging list by filling out some criteria first, such as dates of travel, way of transport, etc. The tool may be a bit old, and it may be repetitive at times, but it definitely provides you with detailed tips for your trip before you even leave your house. You can also select the type of information you need, such as descriptions, comments, anecdotes, and more. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself playing with it for awhile—it is engaging. Here’s what I stumbled upon while generating a packaging list for one of my imaginary five-year camping trips with a way of transport—a boat. “Since they [sandals] don’t cover your feet completely, they might give sand fleas (chiggers) a chance to get a fresh place to lay their eggs. Not dangerous, but very icky. I got them in Tanzania.” “I was once lost on a mountain in Sudan. I had a compass with me, but didn’t use it to find my way. Pretty stupid, I know. “ “Factor 15 was not enough last time I was up on a mountain, so I’ll go for at least factor 20 next time. And a hat.” “Remember not to shave in dirty or contaminated water since you can pick up a nasty disease that way. I tend to get small bleeding wounds after shaving, and it’s easy to see why that is bad.” “Be sure the pockets are tight enough to give pickpockets a hard time. I lost US$100 in a bar in Zimbabwe by ignoring...

Alcohol–the New Fashion

Posted on Apr 8, 2010 in Migration News |

Is alcohol the latest fashion trend among people, or is it really the way to have a good time? Either way, more and more people can’t have fun without it, and this is disturbing. Are we really that bored that good music, nice company, exciting trip, new club, etc. is not enough anymore? Alcohol has become a synonym of joy. And, to support the trend, manufacturers start producing more alcohol. In Australia,”Between 2006–07 and 2007–08, the total quantity of pure alcohol available for consumption increased by 1.4% from 168.1 million to 170.5 million litres of alcohol,” showed the Australian Bureau of Statistics. If we go back to 2005 and 2006, statistics are not looking good. Having in mind that more alcohol is being produced in recent years, we can only conclude that more is being consumed now. Alcohol is the second largest cause of drug-related deaths and hospitalisations in Australia (after tobacco) (AIHW, 2005a). Alcohol is the main cause of deaths on Australian roads. In 1998, over 2,000 deaths of the total 7,000 deaths of persons under 65 years, were related to alcohol (Ridolfo and Stevenson, 1998). Let’s look at some key points from the Alcohol Statistics in Scotland for 2009: In 2007/08 in Scotland, there were 42,430 alcohol related discharges from general hospitals–an increase of nearly 7% from the previous year (729 per 100,000 population in 2006/07). There was an increase of nearly 17% in alcohol related age standardised discharge rates from Scottish general hospitals over the last five years. In 2007/08 there were 6,817 discharges for alcoholic liver disease from general acute hospitals in Scotland. In 2007/08 there were 4,646 discharges for toxic effect of alcohol (alcohol poisoning) from general acute hospitals in Scotland.   Ireland is not falling behind–in fact, it is one of the leaders in drinking in Europe, according to the National Documentation Centre on Drug Use: “While alcohol consumption decreased from a peak of 14.3 litres of pure alcohol per adult in 2001 to 13.3 in 2006, Ireland remains among the top alcohol-consuming countries in Europe, after Luxembourg and Hungary.  In 2003, the...

Little Advice for Big Australia

Posted on Apr 7, 2010 in Travel |

Travelling does make you feel alive. Going places, meeting people and taking pictures is breath-taking, fulfilling and incomparable. Memories remain and make you feel nostalgic about the good times you once had. You don’t want to remember these times with regret. That is why you need to ensure the fun as much as possible. Planning the trip too much does not work out most of the times because it ruins the adventure. Knowing what’s coming up next just kills the excitement for some people. They prefer to hit the road with a small backpack–and improvise. It is truly great times–if you are lucky. A survey targeting backpackers from Ireland, who went to Australia,  showed that more than 35 per cent said they wished they had saved more money and hadn’t  spent it all in one place. Because they didn’t plan their budget, they missed the opportunity to visit all the places they originally intended to see. A common problem among backpackers on a working holiday visa is that they have had a hard time finding a job in Australia, and thus, they hated the whole travelling experience. Jobs are never guaranteed upfront, but one thing you can do is research where and what jobs are currently available. Try to contact some employers, send out resumes, contact with other travellers through forums and blogs for advice. Going with the flow also can get you trapped in one place, while the real action is still out there. It’ll be a shame to spend half of your trip in Sydney for example, as 8 per cent of the survey participants said. They all regretted that they didn’t leave the big city earlier, and that living there is really like living in any other big city. In short, planning without ruining the trip is possible–and smart. Researching the area you are going to, checking the weather and getting answers to your questions increases the satisfaction, and more importantly–it’s...


Posted on Apr 7, 2010 in Uncategorized |

The online classifieds and community site has  gained  massive popularity among the travelling folks. According to our survey, 22 per cent of people found accommodations through Gumtree. Gumtree is the biggest Web site in UK for local community classifieds, and is mostly used in the UK, Ireland, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The site advertises more than 25,000 new rooms a month, meaning at least 10,000 rooms are being rented through it. One can practically find anything there–flat share, flat rentals, cars, jobs, dates, pets, stuff for sale.  ...

Wear Sunscreen, Mate!

Posted on Apr 6, 2010 in Migration News |

It’s not the snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks or jellyfish that can ruin your holiday in Australia because you can easily avoid them–it’s the sun, mate! Lying on the beach, walking, camping–pretty much any outdoor activity has the danger of sunburn. Most backpackers simply underestimate it until they suffer through it. “You will see a lot of skin cancer clinics around Bondi Junction in Sydney – the sun above Australia (and even worse in New Zealand) shines through a big hole in ozone layer and will not only burn you badly – it’s much more likely to cause skin cancer than the sun in Northern Hemisphere,” says European and North American travelers are in love with the beautiful Australian beaches because many of them are just empty–locals stay away from the direct sun. In contrast, tourists literally fry themselves to death under the sun. Due to the hot weather, they automatically uncover themselves while outside–a huge DON’T! “The sun is dangerous. Wear a big hat, sunscreen, cover up and take a water bottle with you wherever you go. People have died or nearly died because they ignored that advice,” advises Look at some of the tips below from fellow backpackers, who have learnt their lesson, and try not to repeat their mistakes. At last, enjoy the trip! “Lots of sun cream! Make sure to have enough money to last until you get a job and just have fun!” “Make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen, make sure you travel everywhere and go to all the adventure parks!” “Go…don’t think about it…live the dream and wear sunscreen…visit Ayres Rock!” “Put sun cream on during summer! I saw so many people burnt and had to lose a week due to this...

Applying for Visa Can Be Hassle-Free

Posted on Mar 22, 2010 in Working Holiday Visa |

Applying for a visa for a first time might be a little frustrating because it is time-consuming and related to tons of paperwork. At the end, if your visa gets denied due to incomplete or wrong documentation, or missed deadlines, your plans for travel and vacation crash dramatically before your eyes. And, you are to spend a couple of hundred dollars application fee at the embassy which would not guarantee your visa approval. Since accuracy and timing are the most important factors  determining the visa status, you can’t afford to make mistakes. By choosing a visa processing agent, one such as Visa First, prospective working holiday makers will certainly avoid a lot of problems simply because the agents are better prepared to get the situation sorted out in a timely fashion. The fee that applies over the embassy fee is usually less than what the client time is worth. Dealing with your visa might take several days at times, so you will probably earn more money in that time than what you will spend on the service. Working Holiday Visa Charges for Australia Service VisaFirst DIAC 48h Australia Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417) 295 AUD 230 AUD 2 Weeks Australia Working Holiday Visa  (Subclass 417) 275 AUD 230 AUD So, you pay 45 AUD more to us–Visa First–to process your visa application for two weeks, and to guarantee complete accuracy. The VF rates are for those who apply for a first time for working holiday visa for...

(Un) Employment ?

Posted on Mar 18, 2010 in Living Abroad, Migration News, Working Holiday Visa |

Economic downturn, recession, crisis, stagnation, unemployment–we are all tired of hearing those as they bring fear and no desire for a little sweet vacation, or escape, or what have you… We got some news for you. Winter is coming to its end, and despite the economic situation that’s been ruling along with the cold for awhile, we see the sun, the beach and the fun at the end of the tunnel. Let’s take a look at some stats and see why Australia is still the place to be for working holiday for the European adventurous souls.   Unemployment Rates – January 2010 Netherlands – 4.2% Australia – 5.3% New Zealand – 7.3% Germany – 7.5% UK – 7.8% Canada – 8.3% US – 9.7% France – 10.1% Ireland – 13.8% Spain – 18.8%     Per stats at, Netherlands has the lowest unemployment rate from the countries in the EU–4.2%, while the average unemployment percent in the EU is 9.5%. Spain has  one of the highest rates of 18.8%, followed only by Latvia with 22.9%. Ireland, with its 13.8% unemployment, is not quite promising yet, either. So far, Australia’s 5.3% is a keeper. Those who want to go there on a working holiday visa and work while having all the fun from being away from home-in another continent-should consider the following: Overall, the employment increased 400 to 10,971,100. However, “Full-time employment increased 11,400 to 7,659,700 and part-time employment decreased 11,000 to 3,311,400,” according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As a visitor on a working holiday visa for one year, you are allowed to work practically anything for six months after which you need to change the employer. If you look at the statistics, you might want to try to find either a full-time or a part-time job–don’t concentrate on the part-time only as you may have a hard time getting one. The full-time job may give you less time for fun, but on the bright side you will be paid more, and you can still escape from the routine for awhile. References:

Illegal Workers Cost More Than What They Are Worth

Posted on Mar 16, 2010 in Australia Working Holiday |

Australian employers  are now encouraged to use the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service as part of a national campaign designed to educate employers about the importance of legal workers. The participating organizations in the campaign are the National Farmers Federation, Australian Workers Union, Horticulture Australia Council and the Australian Industry Group. Whether you are an employer illegally hiring foreign workers, or an employee illegally working in Australia, there will be serious consequences. For example, employers  will “face fines of up to $13 200 and two years’ imprisonment while companies face fines of up to $66 000 per illegal worker,” says The Fair Work Ombudsman campaign  is to  spread light on the subject specifically in the horticulture industry because a huge number of the backpackers in Australia occupy this field, and ” it was crucial for the industry complies with immigration requirements in its employment practices,”  Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman said. In short, if you plan to go to Australia to work, make sure your visa status allows you to as your employer is highly likely to check your visa entitlement. VEVO, being an online system for organisations to check visa holder entitlements, appears to be of a great help to confirm workers’ eligibility. It is mostly used by labour supply companies and employers, education providers, or other organizations that need to check whether the person is permanently or temporarily in Australia. In addition, visa holders can also take advantage of the system as they can see details regarding their visas.   For more information on how to use VEVO, visit

Hit The Road, Jack!

Posted on Mar 12, 2010 in Working Holiday Visa |

Who said travelling is for the youngsters? Seniors now, more than ever,  have reasons to reach their dream destinations, and more importantly have lots of advantages as being older. So, why not hit the road? Nothing can stop the adventure-seeking folks– after all, age is just a number for them and cannot be an excuse to live in monotony and boredom. Interesting enough, the number of these folks is growing despite the economic downturn–“59 per cent of 55 to 64 year old will not let the current economic downturn hinder their plans to see more of the world,” a recent survey showed. They are also likely to wander around Europe, Australia and New Zealand as top destinations. Another survey from last October indicated that people over 65 don’t dream back on their past, but rather envy the young about their lifestyles: “Seventy per cent wished they had had more sex, 57 per cent would have liked to have travelled more, and 45 per cent wished they had quit their jobs and changed profession,” per For travelling, however, it is never too late, thus there is no need to envy the youngsters. Here’s why: Senior years are a great time to travel because age brings respect, which is particularly important for older women who want to travel alone. As a senior solo female, you will be far less disturbed by unwanted male attention. You will get the sympathy of local women too, which comes handy at times. Older travellers are more financially stable too, thus they have a high impact on the tourism industry. Those, who have difficulties funding their travel, however, can enjoy a variety of discounts and privileges. “Even if your college days are a distant memory, it’s possible to travel on a student discount over spring break this year,” says “Student travel agencies are beginning to actively court non students and older travelers, extending their low prices to the not-so-youthful set. Though it has quietly offered discounts to non students for years, STA Travel began actively promoting “flights for everyone” on its home page late...