Migration Prospects in 2013:  Which County Offers More Visa Numbers?

 Australia has been one of the best performing economies in the last three years (2009-2012) owing to mining, and vast amount of land bountiful with natural resources. So does Canada.  UK and Europe on the other hand, had been hard hit by recession, bailouts brought about by excessive public spending and incalcitrance of public service workers to reduce their pay and work benefits.  New Zealand on the other hand, remains an attractive entry-point for students seeking residency status and subsequent migration to Australia, Canada, UK or the USA.

 So what does 2013 bring?

 Canada: 7th Consecutive Year of Attracting Immigrants

 The Canadian Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, reports “overall immigration to Canada is expected to remain stable, with between 240,000 and 265,000 new Permanent Resident visas to be issued in the upcoming year. 2013 will be the seventh consecutive year that immigration targets are set at this level.”

 Like the other four countries with permanent migration programs, Canada has three main migration classes – Economic, Family and Humanitarian.

 For 2013, the target quotas are 158,600 under the Economic Class, 73,300 Family class and 28,500 in the Humanitarian category.  The proposed target for each subcategory in the Economic Class, 55,300 will be for Federal Skilled Workers; 42,000 for Provincial Nominees; 33,400 for Quebec selected skilled workers; 10,000 for the Canadian Experience class; 9,300 for Live-in caregivers and 6,000 for Federal business (investors, entrepreneurs).

 Australia: Skill Selection Targets

 Down Under, he Australian government reports that the 2012–13 Migration Program has been set at 190,000: 60,185 for family migrants (sponsored by family members already in Australia), 129,250 for skilled migrants who are selected because of their work or business experience, business qualifications, skills or sponsorship and 565 for special eligibility migrants who are former permanent residents and have maintained close business, cultural or personal ties with Australia.

The Skill Stream comprises 68 per cent of the program while the Family Stream comprises 31.7 per cent.

Until last July 2012, Australia had been conducting Skills Expo worldwide, registering qualified applicants and accepting independent or sponsored nominations by the States or Territories.  Independent skilled migrant meeting the required number of points based on age, education, experience and English proficiency may apply directly on the Federal or State/Territory level.

The current procedure now requires applicants to lodge their applications online thru SkillSelect, wait for an invitation to apply for permanent residency as independent migrant or as a nominee of a State, Territory, Regional government or Australian employers. The current pass mark is 60 points.

United Kingdom: High and Low Numbers

Skilled migrants or those in specific occupations are not eligible for direct migration to the United Kingdom.  Certain family members may be directly sponsored but workers and students would have to be eligible switch or change status after studying (Tier 4) and working (Tier 2) in the UK.

The Tier 2 (General) category is for foreign nationals who have been offered a skilled job to fill a gap in the workforce that cannot be filled by a settled worker. A yearly quota does not bind foreign nationals with high salaries.  On the other side of the migration spectrum, the limits to workers to foreign workers to be admitted had been reduced.

The UK Border Agency announced  “for the year from 6 April 2012 to 5 April 2013, a maximum of 20,700 skilled workers can come to the UK under Tier 2 (General) to do jobs with an annual salary below £150,000.

There is no limit on the number of workers coming to the UK to do jobs with an annual salary of £150,000 or above.

New Zealand: Skills Thicker Than Blood

 Like Australia, New Zealand gives more visa allocations to Skilled Migrants as opposed to those who are seeking permanent residency through Family sponsorship.

 There are different Residency Application Substreams in New Zealand: Business/Skilled, Family Sponsored and International Humanitarian.  In its latest Residency Statistics published, NZ Immigration Service shows total Business & Skills at 20,540 in 1997098; jumped to 34,824 in 2004-05 then returned to the 27,000 average level in 2010-11, tapering to 25,167 the year after,

 Meanwhile, Family Sponsored visa allocations for both capped and uncapped categories had 8,728 in 2004-05; increased to 10,173 in 2004-05 and remaining steady in the 10,000 level till 2010-11, moving up to 12,168 in 2011-12.

 The international/humanitarian stream mirrors the same level of increase in the same periods: 2,873 in 1997-98, 5,317 in 2004-05 and 3,191 in 2010-11.  The migration flow is not likely to change in 2013.

 One Million a Year in the USA

 Six years after the 1990 Act (which dramatically increased the visa allocation for both the Family and Employment-based categories, the total number of immigrant visas issued to foreign nationals (in the non-quota and preference categories) was 915,900 with Mexico on top with 163,572 and the Philippines a distant second at 55,876.

 The 1990 Immigration Act created a flexible annual cap with a worldwide limit of 675,000 which includes 480,000 family-sponsored immigrants, 140,000 employment-based and 55,000 for winners in the diversity visa program (for countries with less than 50,000 annual immigrant visa applicants yearly). The countries which traditionally have oversubscribed their quotas were excluded, among them Mexico, the Philippines, China and India.

 In 2010, the immigrant visa issued worldwide was 1,042,625 and 1,062,040 in 2011.  Of this total, 410,209 were from Asia, 95,429 from Europe. Migrants from America (Canada and Newfoundland, Mexico, Caribbean totaled 426,981 in 2010 and 423,277 the year after.

 While there had been hot debates on whether to suspend or slow down migration numbers, the yearly allocation and immigrant visa issued are likely to remain in the one million level since the quota and exclusion from numerical limits of spouses, minor children, parents of US citizens are results of laws passed by the US Congress.

 With immigrants showing their strength in numbers, spelling the difference in state and presidential elections, reducing the current visa numbers is not likely, especially with a slow but continuing recovery - despite the dreaded fiscal cliff.

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About the Author

Crispin Aranda

Crispin Aranda

Crispin R. Aranda is an established International Visa Conselor and Immigrant Advocate. He is the president of IVC and is in several migration radio programs.


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