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Australia this week announced that it needs 20,000 skilled workers to fill its labor shortage. Trades people, doctors and engineers are highly desired in the largest immigration drive in Australia in 40 years.
A declining birth rate and a dramatic decrease in immigration rates are believed to be causing a leveling off in New Zealand's population. According to figures released by New Zealand, New Zealand's estimated resident population on June 30, 2005 was 4,098,200. Population growth for the year to June was estimated at 36,800, compared to 52,200 in the June 2004 year. New Zealand, which also has a shortage of skilled workers, last week announced that it is looking to Germany to find more workers.
US immigration officials have stopped accepting applications for H-1B visas on August 11 because they already have filled the 2006 quota. The visas are granted for up to 6 years to foreigners in specialty professions such as scientists, engineers and computer programmers. The quota does not apply to cases filed for individuals with U.S. masters' degrees or above who are eligible for one of the 20,000 special H-1B cap exemptions.
Some English colleges and universities are concerned about the success of Scotland's Fresh Talent Initiative. Higher education institutions in England believe the Scottish Executive's Fresh Talent Initiative may go against EU competition law, because it gives Scotland preferential treatment over other parts of Britain. The English universities told UK ministers that the program, which aims to keep foreign graduates in Scotland by offering them a two-year visa extension, has created "unfair competition" and should be reviewed.
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