Work Wise December 2008


Work Wise October 2008


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H2B crisis in USA

The number of foreign nationals able to undertake temporary work in the USA has been drastically reduced because of the expiry of an exclusion agreement that allowed ex-H2B visa holders to be re-issued with a visa outside of the official annual quota.

Since September last year, only 66,000 H2B visas have been issued to applicants, regardless of whether they held the visa previously.

H2B visas are awarded for non-agricultural seasonal work for up to 12 months. The previous exclusion policy, in place since 2005, expired last year and so far a renewal bill has not been passed.

Larry Rothchild from InterExchange in the USA, which offers an H2B programme for foreigners, said, “Since the expiration of the H2B returning worker exemption, it has become increasingly difficult for us to file petitions with USCIS [issuing authority] before the cap is reached.” He added, “A big worry is that the USA will increasingly lose its relevance as a destination for international participants seeking a cultural exchange experience.”

The expiration of the exclusion is also having a devastating effect on many seasonal tourist industries that traditionally rely on returning temporary workers from overseas to staff businesses. Mary Frances Grant from the Center for Cultural Interchange in the USA said that the cap of 66,000 was only introduced in 2005 and the current visa shortage is hitting employers in the USA hard. “This is having a negative effect on the economy,” she said.

“We now facilitate in-country extensions of H2B visas instead,” Grant added. “Visa holders can extend their visa up to 36 months as long as they have remained in status.” And she warned, “There are a lot of hotter topics on the front burner at the moment so nothing is likely to change in the next few years.”

Poland-Canada deal

The governments of Canada and Poland have signed a youth mobility agreement that will allow young people from both countries to travel and work in each other’s countries for up to one year.

The new agreement follows on from another visa change in March this year when Canada lifted the visa requirement for Polish visitors, allowing them to stay in the country for up to six months without a visa.

The visa changes are likely to have a positive effect on the language teaching and work placement industries in Canada. Chris O’Callaghan from Internex International Exchange, which organises work placement and volunteer opportunities in Canada, said that they had yet to see an increase in demand for placements from Polish students but he expected this to change in the near future. “I think in 2009, if you ask the same questions, we will have seen a marked increase in Polish youth undertaking mobility programmes in Canada,” he commented.

Tomasz Stempek from Glossa in Poland said he would probably send twice as many students to Canada on study programmes this year. “We expect that the new agreement will certainly make Canada more attractive [to our clients] and will boost the numbers of Poles studying English in Canada,” he said.

sydney school launches work/study agency

A language school in Australia has launched a new work and study job finding service.

Angela Smith, from Access Language Centre in Sydney, NSW, said that the new programme was launched due to the increasing number of countries with reciprocal Working Holiday agreements with Australia. “These include Access Language Centre’s key European markets – Germany, France, Italy etc – as well as Japan, Hong Kong and most recently Taiwan,” she said.

The Access Work&Study Job Find Service offers three packages with graded levels of services. Smith said that most jobs on offer are in the hospitality industry and added, ”The programme has been received very well. Whilst it is most popular with Working Holiday Visa holders it has also generated interest among our student visa holders who may work part-time for up to 20 hours a week.”

News in brief

Germany has made it easier for highly skilled workers from new European member countries to obtain a work visa. Previously, citizens from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania had to prove that there were no applicants from Germany or older EU nations that would be suitable for the job. Those with a university degree from these eight countries can now compete equally with other EU nationalities for a work visa.

The Australian government has launched a new aviation training package in a bid to encourage more skilled migrants to learn to be pilots in the country and help solve the aviation industry’s skills shortage. Anthony Albanese, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, said, “The new package will be an important resource for trainers, registered training organisations, potential trainees and those already in the aviation industry.”

A US-based volunteer organisation, A Broader View Volunteers (ABV), has expanded its operations in Africa in order to meet increased demand from clients. The company now offers an increased range of volunteer options in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Uganda. Ghana, Tanzania and Cameroon.

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Perth Education City

Princes College
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Twin Group
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