Running For The Border
Not very long ago, the U.S. Senate approved a bill aimed at comprehensive immigration reforms, which needless to say, have not been very populist. With the task of curbing the continued influx of immigrants in mind, formulating complex policies has been the norm. Countries all across the globe have had to decide whom to let inside their borders. In the wake of the U.S. immigration reforms, we take a look at the maze of immigration policies popular countries have.
United States of America
Though the United States is friendly to immigrant students and employees as long as they are in the country, getting into the country is difficult, and particulars of deportation are foggy at best. International students who want to work in America after graduation have to navigate through a labyrinth of immigration law that demands incredible amounts of money, time, and uncertainty. There is no direct path from graduating at an American university to gaining permanent residence. The American Immigration Council grants visas for residence under a number of categories, each having its own requirements and restrictions in terms of the number of visas handed out. Amongst the eligible candidates, visa holders are chosen by a lottery. The visa a student pursuing a postgraduate degree in the United States requires is an F-1 visa. The application process is lengthy and demands a lot of attention. Once accepted into the university, a student is advised to embark on this endeavor immediately, having to submit an I-20; form later. Proof of residence in one’s own country with no intention of leaving it, the funds to pay for education, and the intent to leave the United States of America as soon as the course is over, are eligibility criteria for the F-1 visa.
From 4.6 million in 2001; to 7.5 million in 2011;, the United Kingdom has seen a dramatic spike of immigrants. With the annual number of people entering the country far exceeding the number of those leaving, immigration has become the country’s most important issue. Adding to the problem, the U.K. Border Agency discovered that hundreds of thousands of migrants with expired visas may still be residing in the country, prompting the prime minister to call for tougher immigration reforms aimed at visa abusers. There have been reports stating government proposals to slap a £1,000; (U.S. $1,532;) fee on migrants coming to the U.K. to work or study. The fee will serve as a security bond to be returned only when immigrants return home following the expiration of their visas. Given that a huge chunk of the immigrants are international students, the UK government has tweaked a few rules in their favour. In the Tier 2 route, the application process has been split so that the applicant needn’t pay the fee up front. Further implications are that students are also not required to submit his/her passport while the application for endorsement is being considered. There are also provisions to allow PhD students to stay in the UK for an additional year to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur.
The foreign population in Japan accounts for only 1.7% of the total population. Not surprising for a nation favoring a racially unique and homogenous society, which is advocated by the strict immigration policies that draw much flak. Japan’s ageing and declining population of 128; million is, however, staring at a possible shrinkage by a third come 2060;, thereby forcing the country to embrace more open policies. Japan rolled out a points-based system that provides highly skilled foreign professionals with preferential immigration treatment. This policy introduction is in the hindsight of the contribution that could be made by the highly skilled foreign nationals to the economic growth.
Germany has been a fairly hospitable country for international students. Since January 2005; the country has issued singular permits for both residence and employment in an effort to attract students and skilled migrants to the country and ease their arrival. Low tuition fees and internationally recognized Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees have made Germany an attractive place for foreign students. New regulations passed by the federal parliament provide for far-reaching changes over and above the EU requirement. On graduation, students can now stay for 18; months instead of 12;. Furthermore, foreign academics will be granted a resident’s permit for up to six months. DAAD, the German student exchange service, insists that the new regulations provide more freedom to the students to make decisions.
The country manages to attract a good number of students as it promises quality education. Being a “non-gazetted country” it’s a tad more difficult for us to bag a student visa, having to deal with “Favourable Genuineness Assessment” (FGA) from the Australian Embassy before applying to the educational institution for acceptance. The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection has streamlined the visa application process through series of changes in the assessment level requirements and the living cost criterion.
Denmark, less looked at by students as an educational hub, has been in the news for having the most controversial immigration rules, practically driving away immigrants from the country with cash incentives. Sweden, on the other hand, is ranked first in the Migrant Immigration Policy Index, to see a jump in asylum seekers by 50;% in a year. Most countries form their immigration policies catering to their economic growth which is also sustainable. Countries do try to streamline the visa application process, but not against the interest of its citizens or resources.