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A group of eight US senators has released a draft law which would radically reform the US immigration system. The main changes would be
- A $4.5bn increase in security along the Mexican border
- The establishment of a ‘pathway to citizenship’ for the estimated 11m illegal immigrants living in the US.
- Employers will have to check the immigration status of potential employees
- There will be a new ‘w-visa’ for unskilled workers
- The number of H-1B temporary skilled work visas will more than double.
The US Congress will vote on the bill in the summer.
A Canadian judge has ruled that immigration minister Jason Kenney did not break Canadian law when he terminated some 280,000 visa applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program in July 2012. Mr Kenney said that he had cut the FSWP backlog which was out of control. On 18th April 2013, Justice Donald Rennie said that the decision might seem unfair but said that he had no power to overturn it.
Some people had been waiting for up to eight years. Lawyers for the applicants are considering whether to appeal the judge's decision.
UK immigration minister Mark Harper has said that changes to the UK’s Tier 4 student visa have not driven international university students away. Mr Harper said that, while the total number of Tier 4 visas had fallen by 20% in 2012, this was because there were fewer non-university students. There had actually been a 1% increase in university students with many coming from China and India.
Mr Harper said, in the past, many colleges were selling ‘immigration not education’. He said that 500 such colleges have lost their licences to teach foreign students.
Indian outsourcing companies may be hit by proposed US immigration reform. Outsourcing firms, many of which are Indian, rely heavily on H-1B temporary skilled work visas. The proposed law would greatly increase the number of H-1B visas available, but would also penalise ‘H-1B dependent employers’. The top ten recipients of H-1Bs last year were outsourcing firms.
The law would see firms whose staff comprise between 30 and 50% H-1B and L-1 workers pay $5,000 for each extra visa. Companies with over 50% H-1B and L-1 workers would pay $10,000 per visa. No Indian outsourcing firm has yet commented on the proposals.
Spain’s population fell by 206,000 to 47.1m last year because 216,000 immigrants left the country. A Spanish statistician, Albert Esteve, said that they left because of a lack of jobs. Spanish unemployment currently stands at 26% and youth unemployment at 50%. Many immigrants from South America, Romania and Morocco travelled to Spain during a lengthy economic boom which ended in 2008.
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