Forget foreign languages, lack of deep dish pizza, and being far from family. Often, the hardest part about the living abroad experience is just dealing with the paperwork to get there. Today Writer Abroad welcomes guest writer Lauren Fritsky, an American journalist and blogger currently living abroad in Australia, to talk about visa requirements and terms–and how they’ve changed.
Visas for Living Abroad
by Lauren Fritsky
Thinking of moving abroad? Then you might want to brush up on the latest visa requirements and terms. Here is what’s changed in recent years in some countries.
Before: Individuals used to apply under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) to seek work or self-employment opportunities in the UK without a specific job sponsorship. Work/holiday seekers could apply to the various individual programs in operation, such as BUNAC’s Blue Card Work in Britain program and Gap Year.
Now: In 2008, the UK changed immigration policies to a points-based system. The HSMP now falls under Tier 1 of the five-tiered system, and applicants still don’t need visa sponsorship (Tiers 2 through 4 do). Tier 5 now takes in work/holiday programs such as BUNAC.
More changes to UK immigration policies are possible in 2010. Reports claim Parliament might allow non-Masters degree holders under the Tier 1 Visa.
Web site: www.bunac.org/usa/interninbritain/
Before: Upon receiving the work/holiday visa (subclass 462), you had three months to enter the country. Under the skilled–independent visa (subclass 885), which allows you to work and permanently reside, candidates had to apply for a skills assessment, but only had to take it if their visa submission was accepted.
Now: You now have a full year from the time your work/holiday visa is granted to head down under. As of Jan. 1, those wanting a skilled-independent visa must obtain a skills assessment prior to applying.
Web site: www.immi.gov.au/
Before: You could change certain visas to other types, and American visitors could get a visa within a day.
Now: Between the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and last year’s swine flu outbreak, China has tightened its visa requirements. Express visa service is no longer available, and visitors must fill out visa applications in person. You can also no longer change tourist (L) and business (F) visas to other types.
Also, visa applicants may now be required to provide letters of invitation or certificates of family relationships.
How about you? Was it difficult to get permission to live in your country? Do you have to renew permits every year? Writer Abroad wants to know!
Lauren Fritsky is a journalist and blogger from New Jersey currently spending a year in Sydney, Australia, on a work/holiday visa. Her work has appeared on major Web sites including AOL and CNN and in magazines such as Weight Watchers. Read her blog at www.thelifethatbroke.blogspot.com.