The US is planning to change its citizenship test to make it less subjective . Currently, permanent residents wanting to be Americans are tested on their ability to read, write and speak English, as well as their knowledge of U.S. history and government. They are asked questions from an approved list, but each testing officer can decide which questions to ask. As a result, the test varies depending on who is asking the questions and where the test is given. Instead, the US plans to spend $6.5 million to revise the test and have the new questions in use by January 2008.
In the past few weeks, two major immigration destinations - the US and Australia - have publicly begun to comment that their young people are no longer interested in joining the trades. The desirable move these days for most young people is to enter university after school ?€“ not to enter an apprenticeship. Still, both countries need hairdressers, plumbers and electricians, and the trend is becoming worrisome as older people retire from those professions, and younger people are not there to fill the vacancies. Australia, for one has launched a major campaign to attract new workers. The US , on the other hand, is currently debating a new immigration bill that might give illegal immigrants the right to stay and live in the US for a few years, although not permanently. workpermit.com will continue to update you on both...
This week, the US Senate-passed measure to provide additional foreign worker visas for the high-tech and specialty fields was dropped from a budget bill that passed the House early on Dec. 19 , disappointing technology and manufacturing companies in search of skilled workers. The Senate plan would have allowed 30,000 more of the popular H-1B visas each year and increased fees for those visas to help trim the budget deficit. House and Senate negotiators also dropped a plan to increase fees on another kind of visa, the L-1 , which companies use to transfer to the United States workers they already employ abroad. The boost to H-1B visa numbers and various fees was intended to save money.
This week, the European Union continued its debate over ways to attract more skilled, legal immigrants. One idea that has been proposed is an EU-wide work permit that would be granted by one member state, but allow the immigrant to work in any of the 25 EU member countries. EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini said the EU is aiming at coordinating immigration standards , but that individual member states will keep the right to decide how many immigrants to admit. The commission also hopes legal migration will cut the estimated 500,000 illegal arrivals to the EU each year. Frattini said the EU is not seeking to increase the "brain drain" from which many non-EU countries already suffer. However, he said the EU must compete with the United States and other countries that attract high numbers of skilled workers.