18 May 2007

USA to Adopt Oz Style Point System Immigration

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An Australian-style point system is at the centre of a controversial new immigration overhaul in the USA that could transform the process for thousands of migrants looking to work in America.

This week has seen closed-door negotiations between the White House and key senators in both parties, as the reformation of America’s immigration process looks evermore likely to shift to a point system similar to that of Australia’s.

Traditionally, a point system is geared to attracting people who have attributes valued by the receiving nation, and that are judged to make the immigrant more likely to succeed economically. These include education, occupation, work experience, language proficiency and age.

In concept, a point system that awards visas on the basis of such factors could mark a radical change from the current system that awards the vast majority of the 1 million legal-permanent-residence visas (i.e. green cards) on the basis of a migrant’s family ties to relatives already residing in the US.

First devised in Canada, the point system was soon adopted in the ‘80s by Australia and New Zealand to great success, with the UK also incorporating it in 2003. The impact for hopeful US migrants should result in an exponentially easier process for educated or trained English speakers; certainly set to be good news for UK candidates.

While some US immigrant groups are concerned that such a scheme would result in an immigration process skewed away from America’s original mandate of ‘bring us your tired, your hungry, your huddled masses yearning to be free’.

However, it also comes with a new clause that would grant current illegal immigrants a new Z visa, allowing them to remain in the country legally for eight years, and after paying fees, fines and returning to their home country for a time, earning their full citizenship.

Candidates keen to find out whether they might already be qualified to gain an America visa as a skilled worker should complete an American Visa Bureau H-1B online assessment.

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