Growth spurt led by immigration squeezes capitals

Growth spurt led by immigration squeezes capitals

Australia’s population is booming on the back of the highest immigration intake for more than four years, piling pressure on house prices but helping staunch the flow of West Australians to the eastern states.

Australia’s population rose ­almost 350,000 — of which ­almost 200,000 was net immigration — to 24.2 million over the year to September, producing a 1.5 per cent growth rate, faster than almost any other country in the 34-nation OECD group of ­nations except New Zealand.

“Such growth means we need five new hospitals, 31 new schools and 35 new childcare centres every three months”, said Rob Tyson, an economist at Price­waterhouseCoopers, noting the growth was concentrated in Victoria and NSW.

“Their big cities are already ­experiencing the challenges of ­accommodating a rapidly growing population such as strongly and persistently rising house prices, more congestion and strained infrastructure.’’

Western Australia’s population growth has slowed to the lowest rate, 1 per cent, in more than 35 years, as the construction phase of the resource boom peters out, taking its toll on job opportunities and incomes.

“What started as a trickle has grown steadily to a strong flow of people leaving over the past few years,” Mr Tyson said.

Australian Immigration

The flow of people out of WA, which has been losing residents steadily since 2013, is accelerating: more than 9100 people left ­between September 2015 and last September, compared with 2700 the previous year.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s population is booming, increasing 127,000, or more than 2.1 per cent, over the year — the fastest pace since 2009 — on the back of rapid ­immigration from overseas and interstate, and strong natural population growth.

“That’s adding a city larger than Ballarat or Bendigo every year,” Mr Tyson said.

Matt and Jo Luscombe, of the Mornington Peninsula, said they feared Victoria’s rapid population growth would have adverse consequences for their one-year- old son Jack.

“With the prices of housing now, it’s a bit crazy if you’re a first-home buyer. So when he grows up, it’s going to be a lot harder for him to buy a house,” Ms Luscombe said.

Jack’s parents agreed immigration needed to be kept to a sustainable level. “If everyone keeps coming in, there is not going to be enough infrastructure for all these extra people,” Ms Luscombe said.

“Immigration is needed to bring skills in to do the job now, but obviously in the future it is going to affect Jack,” Mr Luscombe said.

The population growth figures come as governments scramble to find ways to ease the pressure of house price growth in Sydney and Melbourne (each up a further 10 per cent last year), and improve public infrastructure.

Greater Melbourne’s population has risen 25 per cent faster than Sydney’s since 2010, and is now more than 4.6 million.

South Australia’s population increased only 9000 over the year to September to 1.7 million, while Tasmania’s population rose only 2600 people to 519,000.

State population growth is a sum of natural increase (births minus deaths), interstate migra­tion and immigration.

Queensland and Victoria were the only states with net interstate immigration. All experienced natural growth and net overseas immigration.

Gareth Aird, a Commonwealth Bank economist, said strong population growth was giving a misleading indication of Australia’s economic performance. “The economy doesn’t look as strong on a per capita basis as it appears on an aggregate GDP growth basis,” he said.

Australia annual population growth soared above 400,000 during the height of the resource boom in 2008-09, when net immigration added more than 300,000 a year, but it since has tapered off. Source: theaustralian


Illegal Immigrants May Not Find Warm Welcome in Canada

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are fleeing to Canada. But Canadians may not want them, a new survey finds.

Nearly half of Canadians support “increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday. The same share said they supported sending migrants that crossed from the United States right back over the border, while just 36 percent said Canada should accept them and let them apply for refugee status.

The popular sentiment could pose a challenge to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who champions a pro-refugee and pro-immigration policy as a stark foil to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump’s anti-immigrant “build a wall” rhetoric launched him into the White House, but since getting there, he has faced significant political backlash and legal scrutiny over his policies. The debate is spilling over into Canada, where Trudeau is taking a political hit for keeping his country’s door open to refugees and immigrants. Forty-six percent of poll respondents disagreed with how Trudeau is handling the immigration situation, compared to 37 percent who agreed.

Illegal Immigrants May Not Find Warm Welcome in Canada

While Canadians are split on Trudeau’s policies, the poll clearly shows the national debate over immigration is heating up. Nearly a quarter of Canadians believe immigration control to be a leading national issue, compared to 19 percent in a December poll. And some 40 percent thought accepting those fleeing from the United States could make Canada less safe.

Undocumented immigrants began fleeing to Canada in record numbers amid Trump’s political rise. In 2016, 1,222 fled the United States to Quebec alone, a fivefold increase from years past. Those who fled in January and February, after Trump first stepped into the Oval Office, risked frostbite and hypothermia to cross to Canada.

Canadian rights groups pin the blame solely on Donald Trump and his heavy-handed executive orders to crackdown on immigration. “There’s no question what’s driving them,” Paul Caulford, a doctor at the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Healthcare outside Toronto, told Public Radio International in February. “Virtually every person who’s crossed, from pregnant women in the back of trucks to those shepherding their children to safety, have said to us that the United States is no longer a safe country for them to be in.”

While the debate heats up, Canadian authorities insist they are upholding strict immigration standards at the border. Canadian authorities detain all asylum-seekers they find who slip across the border to escape Trump’s net. “If they are found to be inadmissible without a valid claim, deportation procedures are begun,” Dan Brien, a spokesman for Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, told Reuters.

Trudeau’s Liberal Party won’t face elections again until 2019. But experts say border crossings could surge when the weather warms up and Canada’s southern neighbor piles tightens the bolts on its immigration crackdown. Source: foreignpolicy

Canada has Launched Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Canada has Launched Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Launched on March 6, 2017, Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP) is a three-year pilot program. This new program is for those individuals who are willing to seek Atlantic Canada’s immigration.

This employer-driven program will process not less than 2,000 new applications in 2017. Moreover, ‘Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada’ (IRCC) is planning to process almost 80% of the complete applications within six months or even less.

The federal government and the Atlantic provinces are initiating factors of this new pilot program. The provinces taking part in this program are as under.

  • namely Nova Scotia
  • New Brunswick
  • Prince Edward Island (PEI)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador

Involvement of employers during every stage of this program is necessary. In addition, applicants must provide a job offer with a view to meet the eligibility criteria.

Canada has Launched Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Sub-programs of Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP)

Skilled workers may apply through these two sub-programs:

  • Atlantic Intermediate-Skilled Program (AISP)
  • Atlantic High-Skilled Program (AHSP)

International graduate students may apply through this sub-programs:

  • Atlantic International Graduate Program (AIGP).

Requirements of Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP)

The three sub-programs mentioned above have almost similar requirements. However, there are few specific requirements with respect to each of these sub-programs. For instance, education, work experience, and job offer requirements will vary depending on the fact that whether the candidate is applying as an international student graduate or worker. Nevertheless, there is no change regarding other requirements of this program.

Please refer to the given table for better understanding about requirements.

Individuals applying for this program must know that the language threshold is lower as compared to other programs.

Following aspects of the AIPP are also important for potential immigrants.

  • This program has no points system.
  • It follows the policy of first come, first served
  • AIPP works outside the ambit of Express Entry system.

Some Words about Employer Designation

Labour Market Impact Assessment process is not applicable to AIPP. Employers, willing to hire skilled immigrants should file an application to their province for receiving the designation. Moreover, employers must provide a separate designation for each province, if they are doing their business in multiple provinces. There are certain requirements for employers, which they must follow. Providing support to newcomers and their family to start a new life in Atlantic Canada is one of these requirements. Source: immigrationexperts

B.C. tech firms aim to lure workers as looming Trump visa restrictions stoke fear

B.C. tech firms aim to lure workers as looming Trump visa restrictions stoke fear

Some B.C. tech companies hope to take advantage of the cloud of fear over possible changes to U.S. visas for skilled foreign workers as they await Canada’s new streamlined process for permits to come into effect.

The virtual world is bracing for a dose of cold reality as the U.S. moves to tighten policies for H1-B visas, which allow highly skilled workers to live and be employed in high tech hubs like California’s Silicon Valley and Bellevue in Washington state.

Heads of some tech companies say the solution for people nervous about working for an American company lies in Vancouver.

“This uncertainty is really dialing down enthusiasm, especially for travel to the U.S. for long-term career moves. We’re seeing that change slowly happen,” said Igor Fatelski, CEO of Mobify, a tech company specializing in apps for retailers.

Worldwide interest

Highly specialized tech workers from outside the U.S. typically use H1-B visas to work for American companies.

But U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced the government plans to suspend expedited applications for those visas.

B.C. tech firms aim to lure workers as looming Trump visa restrictions stoke fear

Fatelski said the change, along with uncertainty stemming from Trump’s revised travel ban, is generating more interest in Canadian companies, including his.

“We’re seeing more and more interest from around the world from potential employees that want to work in Canada because they’re not certain what’s going to happen in the U.S.”

Fatelski immigrated to Canada from Russia when he was 15. Now, he employs more than 100 people — and says he will need more.

“There’s a certain gap in talent and sometimes there’s not enough engineers or executives to hire for all of the companies in town,” he said.

Silicon Valley protest

Tensions are rising in the high-tech industry south of the border, where workers from other countries are facing obstacles.

Hundreds of protesters in Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, Calif., rallied on Tuesday against the U.S. government’s looming policies like the visa application change.

Some Canadian tech companies are spotting a chance to lure in-demand workers who feel uncomfortable about their future in the United States.

The Canadian government recognizes the same opportunity.

‘Game changer’

At the B.C. tech summit, Navdeep Bains, Canada’s minister of innovation, said the government will act quickly to fast track work permits to attract highly skilled talent from other countries.

“We’re taking the processing time, which takes months, and reducing it to two weeks for immigration processing for individuals [who] need to come here to help companies grow and scale up,” Bains said.

“So this is a big deal. It’s a game changer.”

That change will happen through the Global Talent Stream, a new program under the federal government’s temporary foreign worker program.  It’s scheduled to begin on June 12, 2017.

U.S. companies are taking notice and a Canadian firm, True North, is offering to help them set up shop.

“What we suggest is that they think about moving their operations, or at least a chunk of their operations, to Vancouver, set up a Canadian subsidiary,” said the company’s founder, Michael Tippett.

“And that subsidiary would be able to house and accommodate those employees.”

Industry experts says while the future is unclear for the tech sector in the U.S., it’s clear high tech in B.C. is gearing up to take advantage. Source: cbc

Why Students Want to Study in Australia

Australian Student Visa

Australia is the most favorite destination among the students across the globe. If you put a deep eye over the list of top educational institutes of the world, you will come to know that Australia possesses highest number of educational institutions. Moreover, Australia is occupying 3rd number in the list of students accommodating countries.

There are 7 universities in Australia who are listed in the top 100 universities in the world. This makes the Australian Student Visa more attractive for the students from all over the world. If you are a student of any developing country like Pakistan then Australia will be your smart choice for study.

Presently, there are approximately 1100 institutions in Australia who are offering up to 22000 study programs for the international students. According to the data available in U21 National System of Higher Education, Australia placed at 8th number in the list where Japan, Germany, and Netherland also possess an attractive place. In fact, the reputation of institutes in Australia attracting the students to get study visa and become the part of this fame.

Australian Student Visa

Australian institutes providing a quality education to its students. A record shows that about 2.5 million or more students are enrolled and they have completed their degree successfully. After completing their education they have a superb professional career in Australia. The whole Australia laws are quite friendly for the students and the culture of this country is very adoptive in nature.

Among the qualified students of Australia, 15 students are Nobel Prize Winners. This factor enhances the credibility the Australian Institutions and also witnesses the quality education in its institutes. On the other hand, there are a lot of inventions which are made by the talented and brilliant students of Australia. We are using Penicillin to cure our diseases, a vaccine to cure cervical cancer, Wi-Fi to connect our smart devices with the internet, evaluate the E.D.D, and growth of the child in the womb through ultrasonography are the astonish inventions by the students of the Australian Universities.

There are a lot of students who are applying for Australian Student Visa. The application number increases every year. The students who want to do some work to meet their extra needs in Australia can work during their study tenure. If you have completed your degree then you can apply for Permanent Residence in Australia.

Australian Student Visa category is available for you either you want to get study visa first time or you want to renew your current study visa. Before filling your application, you must keep in hand all the important documents and details of your family to save your time and reduce difficulties.

Federal plan to fast-track foreign talent could capitalize on Trump’s crackdown

Moving to Canada

The federal government will launch a new program to fast-track “low-risk, high-talent” foreign workers to Canada this June.

The plan sets a two-week turnaround for processing visas and short-term work permits to give startups faster access to highly skilled workers.

“Canada certainly could benefit from some of the international talent affected by the actions in the U.S. recently,” said Patrick Snider, director of skills and immigration policy for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “That being said, we have to expect other countries will also look to capitalize on this moment as well.”

Snider said Canada is likely not going to be the only country to “see the potential from attracting global talent, so we will still have to make sure our system is fast and effective.”

The Global Talent Stream is a key component of the Global Skills Strategy, announced last fall and designed to help Canadian companies get the unique skill sets needed to help grow businesses.

Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science, and economic development, announced the June 12 launch during an event at Toronto’s Peraso Technologies Inc. today. His message to the world was in stark contrast to the U.S. administration’s steps to crack down on immigration and close its doors to travellers from six countries.

  • U.S. travel ban could be boon for Canadian high-tech
  • Trump suspends expedited visa for high-tech workers
  • Canada opens door to skilled immigrants

“We want to be more ambitious. We think globally, act globally. We want to be open to ideas, open to people, open to trade, open to investment,” Bains said.

Snider said while most companies are optimistic about the direction of the federal strategy, there are still many details to be fleshed out around which companies and workers will qualify as “high skilled” and “in shortage.”

Immigration to Canada

“If the restrictions wind up being too tightly enforced, it could limit the benefits of this program and leave many companies stuck with the longer processing times, so these will have to be implemented carefully,” he said.

More high-paid jobs for Canada

“We have already heard from companies looking to move operations into the country, which means more well-paying jobs for Canadians,” Snider said.

Trump has temporarily suspended an expedited visa program that helped foreigners get quicker access to temporary jobs at high-tech U.S. companies. The visa had allowed graduate-level workers in several specialized fields, including information technology, medicine, engineering and mathematics quicker entry, but Trump said it was being exploited by outsourcing companies to bring in low-cost foreign workers.

Bains’ announcement was welcomed by smaller business startups that have been hampered in past by bureaucratic red tape.

Benjamin Bergen, executive director of the Council of Canadian Innovators, attended Thursday’s announcement and said the new program will address a “critical gap” and streamline what is now a cumbersome, lengthy process.

Bergen, who previously worked in Liberal minister Chrystia Freeland’s Toronto constituency office and worked on her 2015 election campaign, said messaging south of the border could give Canada an edge in tapping top talent from around the world.

“As some countries are closing doors and making it more challenging, Canada is actually having a more open policy and speeding up time. Between that difference there is an opportunity,” he said in a later phone interview.

Place to call home

Bergen said highly skilled workers from around the world are not only looking for a salary and title, but an attractive place they want to call home.

“When your tone is one of openness and acceptance, that is a very strong and powerful tool,” said Bergen ‎who is registered to lobby various government departments and agencies on a number of policies and regulations, including the Immigration Department on visa time lines.

While the Global Skills Strategy targets the temporary workers, those who come here through the program can apply to emigrate to Canada on a permanent basis.

“As workers with in-demand skills and Canadian work experience, they will be well-positioned to successfully apply for permanent status through Express Entry if they choose to do so,” said Faith St-John, a spokesperson for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

“With an aging population and a relatively low birth rate, Canada’s economy relies on a robust immigration system to help keep our workforce strong.”

Victoria Lennox, CEO and co-founder of Startup Canada, called the Global Skills Strategy a “boon” for Canadian enterprises looking to recruit international talent. She said there is a lack of executives in the country with experience growing small businesses.

Canada‘s diversity is our unique strength,” she said, echoing a theme used by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Opening our doors will help early-stage companies to scale faster, and will also introduce Canada to new innovations and skills.” Source: cbc

Overseas workers: NSW government contractor didn’t check whether Australians were available

Immigration to Australia

The NSW government has confirmed that it did not check whether Australian employees were suitable to fill 32 computer software jobs, which its contractor filled using overseas workers.

The overseas workers on 457 visas were hired after the government’s ServiceFirst shed more than 200 employees who had provided computer support services.

After laying the 200 off, the government outsourced its computer support services for IT, HR, payroll, finance and accounting to global companies. The companies have taken all responsibility for checking overseas workers are genuinely required to fill a serious skills shortage.

These contractors are only required to keep 70 per cent of jobs onshore, allowing 30 per cent to be offshore.

In response to a freedom of information request, the NSW Department of Finance said it was unable to provide details of that market testing which led to 32 IT workers being hired from overseas on 457 visas.

Australian Immigration

Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton has tasked the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration to review the skilled migration program to ensure it better reflects “genuine” labour market needs. The 457 visa program was designed to fill serious skills shortages to give Australians priority.

Research has shown that an increasing number of IT professionals from India being granted 457 visas and paid base salaries of $53,900 or less, much lower than experienced Australian IT professionals.

The state government has been criticised for allowing jobs previously held by Australian citizens to be filled by overseas workers who are paid less.

The NSW Department of Finance said the employment of staff on 457 visas was the responsibility of IT companies Infosys and Unisys. They had been contracted to provide staff to the renamed ServiceFirst – now called GovConnectNSW service centre – in Parramatta.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge asked the Department of Finance for the labour market testing but it was unable to provide it saying this was the responsibility of the contractors.

“The Coalition have now got to the point where they are even outsourcing their outsourcing,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“Without any oversight by the state government they have allowed a low-wage multinational to decide for itself there were no skilled local workers to do government IT work. Read More: smh

8 Important Questions about Immigration to Canada

Immigration to Canada

There are a lot of questions which arises in the mind of every immigrant who is planning to Move to Canada. Sometimes applicants missed to understand the different kinds of Canadian Immigration. Do not worry here are the 9 most important questions and their answers about Immigration to Canada.

What are these provincial nominee programs?

Provincial Nominee Programs are introduced by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The basic purpose of these programs is to choose the prospective applicants. So, these applicants contribute to the economic development of Canada.

Whether Quebec is a Part of Provincial Nominee Program or not?

The simple answer to this question is yes! Moreover, there is an agreement between Government of Canada and Quebec province. This agreement gives a full authority to select applicants who desire to settle in this province. This province has its own criteria to select the applicants having required a set of skills.

Does Provincial Nomination Serve as a Pre-requisite for Canadian Immigration?

You can immigrate to Canada without Obtaining a Provincial Nomination, but this process is quite difficult and lengthy. Moreover, there are very few chances to get Permanent Residence without obtaining Provincial Nomination Certificate.

What are the Benefits of Getting a Provincial Nomination?

If you want to move to Canada quickly, then Provincial Nomination is the best way to achieve your target. This Program will enhance your chances for Canadian Permanent Resident visa.

Move to Canada

Where to File an Application under the Provincial Nominee Program?

After selecting the desired Province of Canada, you can file your application to the government of your selected province. When you provide the details of the required set of skills then the concerned province issue you an invitation to apply.

Does getting a Provincial Nomination is sufficient to obtain Canadian Immigration Visa?

When you receive Provincial Nomination then you must provide your information to satisfy IRCC. This information will consist of your authenticity of provided documents, your physical health, and security etc.

What is the criterion of Provincial Nominee Program?

You must show your intention to settle in your selected province. Moreover, below are some very important requirements which you must fulfill to get Immigration to Canada.

  • Required Education
  • Details of your close relations in your selected province
  • Your abilities to adapt to life in your concerned province
  • You must have a successful job offer
  • You must possess the French and/or English language skills
  • You must have experience for the specific skills critical of the province

What is a “base” Provincial Nomination?

Canada has ten provinces and three territories which offer Provincial Nominee Programs. If you are an eligible candidate then the respective province award you Nomination certificate. Moreover, this PNP works outside the ambit of Express Entry System.

The “Base” nominations are actually a special kind of nomination which gives a second chance to those candidates who failed to provide certain requirements. There are two steps involved for the permanent residence, first to receive the base nomination and then you can apply for PR in Canada.

If you are a Pakistani individual and want to Move to Canada then you must apply in any one of the Provincial Nominee Programs. The present time is very important for those individuals who are planning to get Immigration to Canada, because, Canada has introduced more than 10 PNPs to boost its economy.

Over 400 international students call Lake Charles home for now as they pursue degrees at McNeese State University

Australian Immigration

With students from 45 countries, 22 states, and 37 parishes — students hail from such far-flung places as Egypt, Nepal and Zimbabwe —McNeese State University is a true melting pot.

Nikesh Kandel, president of the Nepalese Student Association and a senior majoring in engineering, had never been to the United States until he left Nepal three years ago bound for Lake Charles to begin his freshman year of college at McNeese.

“When I first got here, it was very hard to be away from my family, but they are happy for me to be able to further my education by attending McNeese,” Kandel said. “There are many Nepalese students here. We stick together and support each other. We all get apartments in the same area; we split the bills and groceries; and we decide who is going to cook, do the dishes, and even the laundry. We do everything together as a family because that’s what we are now.”

Kandel said one of the things that really appealed to him when he first got to Southwest Louisiana was the weather. “The climate is very nice and it reminds me a lot of the area where I come from in Nepal,” he said. “I like that it’s easy to find spices here to make dishes that I enjoy from home and that there are also restaurants nearby that serve the kinds of food that I’m used to. But I also like the foods here, especially crawfish. My friends and I buy a lot of crawfish, and we eat it as often as we can.”

The affordability factor as well as the solid reputation of its engineering program attracted Kandel to McNeese. “I was able to get some scholarships for engineering because I had really good grades,” he said. “I really enjoy that people are so friendly here, our faculty does everything it can to help us, and there are so many things to get involved in. I used to do a lot of walking when I first moved here, but I have a car now and I like going on long road trips. I’ve now been to about 20 states and have gone on some nice vacations in the summer. On one of them we drove from here to Michigan and then went to New York and Washington, D.C., and then drove back to Louisiana.”

After graduation, Kandel said he may go to graduate school but wants to stay involved with the engineering field and hopes to open his own business someday.

Omar Zayed, a freshman majoring in computer science, is the only student from Egypt attending McNeese. He credits his fraternity brothers from Pi Kappa Phi with helping him become acclimated to both McNeese and Southwest Louisiana.

Immigration to Australia

“I met some of my fraternity brothers when I was going through orientation and we all just hit it off,” he said. “From that point on we have spent lots of time together, we do philanthropic projects on campus and in the community, and we also have a lot of fun. They are some of my best friends now.”

Zayed juxtaposed his previous life and his current life perfectly when on a recent trip to visit family and friends in Egypt he took a photo with his fraternity’s flag while standing in front of a pyramid. “I’m from Egypt but by bringing the flag with me when I left Lake Charles it’s like I had my fraternity brothers with me while I was away.”

Students who arrive on McNeese’s campus are here for a variety of reasons: Some are drawn to particular areas of studies, others are here because they got academic or athletic scholarships, some are drawn to the climate and way of life in Southwest Louisiana and still others are following in the footsteps of ones who came here from their countries and had positive experiences while here.

Preble Giltz Girard, director of international programs at McNeese, has been in her position since 2002 and said she enjoys watching international students interact with students from countries they are from but also with countries other than their own. “It’s amazing to watch,” she said. “For instance, I enjoy watching a student from Zimbabwe interact with a student from Nepal; or a student from Australia interact with a student from China. It’s fascinating to see the friendships and support develop through those interactions.”

Girard works to help international students with their transition to life in a new country as well as doing what she can to help them get acclimated to life on a college campus. Some of the things that her office can assist with ahead of an international students’ arrival include: the college application process, admittance requirements, paperwork for a student visa as well as immigration documents, and information on flights to the United States.

“Affordability is a major reason that many of the international students decide to attend McNeese,” Girard said. “We have exceptional programs at McNeese as well.”

Zayed echoes that and gives a lot of credit to Girard and her staff for their assistance in preparing him for McNeese and Southwest Louisiana. “I wouldn’t be here at McNeese if they hadn’t helped me so much,” he said. “Their office called me, emailed me, wrote to me, helped walk me through the entire process. I was very surprised by how people here are just so nice, friendly, and always smiling.”

Lillian Mambiri, a junior at McNeese is from Zimbabwe and she originally heard about McNeese through her brother who had been attending college in Florida but was completing an internship at Sasol while studying chemical engineering. “My brother called me and said that I really needed to look into Lake Charles and McNeese because he liked everything he was seeing,” Mambiri said. “Arriving here was my first experience with being in the United States and it has been so perfect. But I didn’t realize everything would be so big. The vehicles that people drive seem so huge. It’s simpler in my country and a lot of people walk. But a Third World country is going to be more basic in many ways.”

Mambiri hopes more than anything that she can make a difference in the world and especially in Zimbabwe. “As much as I love it here, the whole purpose of me getting an education in the United States is so that I can return to Zimbabwe and put my knowledge to good use. I want to eventually work for the energy authority in Zimbabwe or open up a new one. There’s an energy crisis there and I would like to work toward coming up with a cheaper alternative for energy. Perhaps I can work briefly for a company here after I graduate and then take all of my ideas to Zimbabwe and put them to good use and make some change.”

She said she has often gotten assistance or advice from the international office at McNeese as well as the church she attends, Our Lady of Good Counsel. “They really make us feel welcome there and one of the sisters made a gumbo at the student center at church and it reminded me of the stews we have back home so it really hit my heart and made me think of Zimbabwe.”

Girard, whose office is open year round, said “word of mouth” is powerful and when students from other countries talk about their positive experiences here it leads to other students wanting to follow their path to Southwest Louisiana and McNeese. “Really, it’s a soft diplomacy that takes place; students become our best ambassadors.” Source: americanpress

Auckland primary school students plead for minister to grant visas to grieving shidu parents

New Zealand Visa

A class of 10-year-old primary school students have challenged Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse to change his mind and grant China’s grieving shidu parents lifelong visas to visit their children’s graves.

The year six Bayfield School pupils posted letters to the minister on Tuesday, expressing their anger, frustration and disappointment at his refusal to offer long-term visitor visas to Chinese parents who lost their only child in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake.

In the letters, the 27 students asked the minister to show “mercy”, questioned how he would feel if he lost his only child in a disaster in a foreign country and said they felt “ashamed” over the way the shidu parents had been treated.

“I know your job is hard, having to make a lot of difficult decisions, but on this one you are making a mistake,” 10-year-old Maya Brophy wrote.

Eva Simmonds, 10, said: “I’m ashamed. This isn’t the country that the shidu parents trusted and that we trusted.”

Last month, a Herald investigation uncovered the plight of China’s shidu parents – those who lost the only child they were ever allowed to have in the CTV building, the sole building that completely collapsed in the Christchurch quake due to engineering deficiencies.

New Zealand Immigration

These parents pleaded for the Government to grant them lifelong visas to they could visit and clean their children’s graves every year, as per the annual Chinese tradition of tomb sweeping.

This request was declined by Woodhouse, who said he felt sympathetic for the families but was not considering providing special assistance to them by way of a lifelong visitor visa. A spokeswoman for Woodhouse’s office told the Herald yesterday the minister had “nothing to add to the previous statements he has made in regards to this matter”.

Immigration New Zealand area manager Darren Calder confirmed the law does allow for exceptions to visa policies under compassionate or humanitarian grounds.

Bayfield Primary School teacher James Graham assigned his class to read the Herald story and write to the minister because he thought the exercise would “stir emotion, compassion and empathy” in his students.

He said he was both surprised and impressed at the level of maturity the students had demonstrated in their letters.

“You don’t want writing to sit in kids’ books and be put away at the end of the day. It’s always best if learning can have an end result and our end result is sending these letters. The kids feel really impassioned by that because they know someone will be reading them and that their ideas and opinions will be heard.”

The best result for the students would be receiving a letter back from the minister, Graham said.

“It would really make these kids be aware that even though they are young, they still have a voice,” he said.

Chinese citizens are eligible for long-term entry visas, allowing them to visit New Zealand multiple times over three years. But, speaking through a translator, the shidu parents told the Herald they did not know how to apply for these visas and some did not own a computer and could not afford the application fees.

They wanted to be granted an annual visa exemption to avoid having to undergo the bureaucratic and financial barriers every three years. Read More: nzherald