If you’re looking to work or study in Canada or the UK this year, things are looking bright for you. February was a slower news month for test-takers than many, but there’s one continuing trend: English speaking countries need skilled migrants. So governments are making more changes to migration rules for those who can demonstrate a strong command of the English language.
Here’s what’s been happening in the last month.
Normality drawing closer for test-takers with IELTS centres open in 100+ countries
The leading English language test body has announced that test centres are now open once again in more than 100 countries. Among them are China, India and most countries in the Middle East and Europe.
International employment news
Yet more opportunities for UK-bound skilled migrants
The UK government has announced that pharmacist, laboratory technician, senior care worker, nursing and several other roles have all been added to the Shortage Occupation List of jobs in which the country needs more workers from overseas. The change largely clears the path to a UK work visa for those with the right skills. You can find the full list on the UK Gov website.
Also announced in the UK this month were plans to launch another new points-based visa for highly skilled migrants with a job offer from high-growth companies by 2022, focussing on those working in the finance, science, research and technology sectors. The new visa differs from that reported in our last issue, in that it doesn’t require employers to sponsor their international hires (‘sponsorship’ is where employees can hire people from abroad, but only if they have a license to do so).
There’s more, too: the government has this month published a review of the UK’s burgeoning fintech (financial technology) industry, which recommends the introduction of still more specialist migrant worker visas designed for that sector, in a bid to fend off fierce competition from European fintech hubs including Amsterdam and Berlin.
Light at the end of the tunnel for skilled migrants in New Zealand
New Zealand’s skilled migration programme has been suspended for a year now with current applications kept on hold, but calls are growing for the suspension to be reviewed. In a sign that migrants to New Zealand may soon have more certainty about their future, the country’s immigration minister has announced that visa policies in the Skilled and Parent categories will be reviewed by the end of March 2021.
The situation mirrors that of Australia which, as we reported last month, is also reviewing its skilled migration programme.
International study news
Students completing Canadian university courses from abroad now eligible for work permits
The Canadian government has relaxed the rules which require students at Canadian universities to complete their study within the country in order to acquire a Post-Graduation Work Permit. The change means that those who were forced to complete their studies online because of travel restrictions during the pandemic are no longer at a disadvantage to those who could attend in person. It applies to international students whose study programme began or begins in any semester between Spring 2020 and Fall (Autumn) 2021, or who were already studying in March 2020.
New UK visa for post-graduate employment set to open on 1 July 2021
International students on an eligible course will be able to remain in the UK to find work after their studies without the need for an advance job offer or any minimum salary requirements, under a new ‘Graduate Route’ opening later this year. The initiative aims to ‘retain the brightest and best’ students from overseas for up to two years of job searching and/or employment, or three years of Doctoral study.