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Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Volume 9, Issue 6; February 17, 2010

Let’s Go Canada

Australia to cancel 20,000 visa applications

Abroad Perspective

New Zealand, a study destination for Chinese students – again.

Over The Counter

New system to track activities of international students in UK/em>

Globe Tipping

Making the connection: converters and plug adapters

1) LET’S GO CANADA – Australia to cancel 20,000 visa applications

Changes to Australia’s immigration policy will result in the cancellation of 20,000 visa applications from foreign nationals who have been staying in the country under the existing skilled migration program.

The new system, which was unveiled on Monday, includes an overhaul of the list that identifies occupations in demand and awards points on the basis of professional qualifications of the applicants.  The new system favours skilled workers such as nurses, medical practitioners, engineers and teachers instead of groups such as cooks and hairdressers. Cooking and hairdressing courses have been central in the huge numbers of south Asians currently in Australia on student visas.

Foreign students who have qualifications for an occupation no longer considered in demand, can apply for a temporary 18-month visa, allowing them to gain work experience.

However, foreign graduates who fail to find an employer willing to sponsor their applications will have to return to their country of origin.

Source: “Australia to cancel 20,000 visa applications”, Times of India, February 8, 2010.

2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – New Zealand, a study destination for Chinese students – again.

New Zealand is reportedly welcoming its largest number of Chinese international students since the nineties after seeing major declines in 2002 to 2003.
According to Robert Stevens, Education New Zealand’s Chief Executive, international education industry is worth $2.5 billion (NZD) and is expected to grow by more than $250 million in 2010.

Chinese students used to flock to New Zealand for studies until eight years ago when the closure of some private schools and a major case involving the extortion of an Asian student impacted its image, explained Stevens. These factors coupled with the increase of marketing efforts by other countries in China, have seen the retention rates of Chinese students drop by two-thirds.

Thanks to an additional $2 million government fund, New Zealand has nearly doubled its international education marketing budget in China.

Source:  “Chinese scholars return to NZ.” Stuff (New Zealand), February 18, 2010

3) OVER THE COUNTER – New system to track activities of international students in UK

UK’s recent ban on student visas in North India and Nepal has been partially lifted and applications can be submitted as of March 1, 2010. The announcement was made early this week by Pat McFadden, Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills, during his visit to the Campus of Open Learning (COL) Delhi University.

The visa application ban that took place as a result of a huge influx of applications (13,500 applications between October and December 2009 compared to 1,800 applications in the same period in 2008) is still in effect for students applying for study permits in non-higher education institutions such as English schools or other lower levels. However, this partial suspension would be lifted once the new college/university sponsorship system takes place.

As of February 22, 2010, all UK study permit applicants will be assigned a unique virtual number known as the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This number is assigned by the sponsor (university or college the student is admitted to) and it would mean that all relevant data, such as the program of study and duration will be uploaded into a central data management system accessible by the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Once the student accepts the sponsoring college/university admissions condition, the student would not be able to switch to another institution without reapplying for the study permit.
Even if a student chooses to change programs within the institution, the information will be updated and will be accessible to UKBA. This new CAS system will make it possible to track the activities of visa students while they are in the UK.

Sources:
“UK to partially lift ban on student visas.” The Times of India, February 14, 2010.
“UK tightens student visa rules for Kenya.” Business Daily, February 9, 2010.

4) GLOBE TIPPING – Making the connection: converters and plug adapters

If you’ve traveled outside of North America, you’ve probably had to pack a voltage converter or travel adapter for your electronic devices.  However making the connection can be tricky.

The international voltage standard is 220 volts whereas the North American standard is 110 volts. Some appliances include a voltage switch (either manual or electronic) that allows them to work with either 110 or 220 volts.  To avoid confusion and disappointment on your trip, be sure to check the voltage of your device and if necessary, invest in a voltage converter or adapter.

Make sure that the adapter you purchase includes information about the various electrical plugs and their sockets, as these differ by country in shape, size and type of connectors. In general, there are four types:

1. Round pins: used in Europe, Middle East and parts of Africa
2. Flat angled blades: used in Australia, New Zealand and China
3. Three pronged blades: used in UK, Ireland and parts of Africa
4. Two pin flat parallel blades: used in North America and parts of South America and the Caribbean

Source: “Travel Advice/Travel Tips -  Converters and plug adapters.”
http://www.thereareplaces.com/infgdes/traveltips/pwrplg.htm

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