Thursday, Apr 24th

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Immigration news

Immigration and nationality application fees increased

"We set our fees at levels that are fair to our customers"

The immigration and nationality application fees have gone up. The new immigration fees were introduced on 6th April 2011 for foreign nationals applying to visit, study, work or settle in the UK, and for employers and education providers applying for a sponsor licence.

This follows Parliamentary approval to proposal to increase immigration and nationality application fees.
The new fees were announced on 28th February by Immigration Minister Damian Green.

“If you are making an application on or after 6 April 2011, please ensure that you enclose the correct fee. We will return any applications where an incorrect fee is paid,” the UK Border Agency said.

“Under the current spending review,” the UKBA said, “the Home Office is implementing a real terms reduction in budgets of up to a 20 per cent. The UK Border Agency is already seeking to offset this income gap with efficiency savings of approximately £500 million by reducing support costs, increasing efficiencies, boosting productivity and improving value for money from commercial suppliers.”

The UK Border Agency said that the new measures will not go far enough, and to address the funding shortfall they’ll need to increase fees for financial year 2011/12.

The Agency is convinced that the proposals to increase fees continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls and ensuring that the fees structure does not inhibit the UK’s ability to attract migrants and visitors that make a valued contribution.

“This will help to support the immigration system, maintain public confidence and ensure that migration is managed for the benefit of the UK.”

The UKBA further said that they charge fees to ensure that they raise the money needed “to run a strong, robust immigration system and to offer a world-class level of service. We set our fees at levels that are fair to our customers.”

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Potential of migration for Africa largely untapped - Report

African governments need to do more to realize full economic benefits migration

Potential benefit of migration could be enormous if managed properly, a new report by the African Development Bank and the World Bank has revealed.

The report "Leveraging Migration for Africa: Remittances, Skills and Investments" shows that recorded remittances into Africa, which grew fourfold between 1990 and 2010 to reach nearly $40 billion in 2010, are the continent’s largest source of foreign capital after foreign direct investments.

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Employment Equality - Italy taken to EU's Court of Justice

The European Commission has referred Italy to the EU's Court of Justice concerning the transposition of Directive 2000/78/EC, which prohibits discrimination in employment on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation.

Directive 2000/78/EC establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment, occupation and vocational training (Employment Equality Directive).

The Directive covers direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment in employment and training on the grounds of religion or belief, age, disability or sexual orientation. It includes specific requirements for reasonable accommodation for disabled people.

The Commission brought infringement proceedings against Italy (IP/09/1620) following its failure to fully implement the EU Directive.

Italy is being referred to the Court of Justice for having incorrectly transposed the Directive. Article 5 of the Directive requires that the employer provide reasonable accommodation for disabled persons so that they can have access to employment and advance in their careers.

In referring Italy to the Court of Justice, the Commission pointed out that Italy has not completely transposed this provision, as Italian law does not provide for a general rule whereby the employer has to provide for reasonable accommodation for all disabled persons and regarding all aspects of employment.

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Italy to issue temporary permits to Tunisian migrants

Tunisian authorities have agreed to reinforce controls to avoid massive departures of Tunisians to Italy.

Italy’s Home Affairs Minister Roberto Maroni and his Tunisian counterpart Habib Essid sealed the deal on 5th April in Tunis.

Under the deal, Tunisians who have already arrived in Italy by boats will be issued temporary residence permits.

Tunisia will at the same time accept rapid re-admission of its citizens who arrive in Italy illegally.

Italy will donate 10 patrol boats and about 100 jeeps to Tunisia to help the local police control the country’s coasts.

Mr. Maroni said their objective was to block new boat arrivals. “The deal will enable us to do so by fully collaborating with Tunisian security forces and by supplying them all the necessary means,” he said.

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250 migrants missing after boat capsizes near Lampedusa

Italian Coast Guard and local Italian fishing boat rescue 50

More than 250 migrants are feared dead after a boat carrying some 300 people sank in the early hours of the morning, some 40 miles off the island of Lampedusa, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

Forty seven survivors were rescued at sea by the Italian Coast Guard and three by a local Italian fishing boat.   

The vessel, which was laden beyond capacity, had left the Libyan coast with migrants and asylum seekers from Somalia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Cote d'Ivoire, Chad and Sudan. Some 40 women and five children were on board. Only two women survived the shipwreck. 
 
The survivors were transferred to Lampedusa. They told IOM officers who are providing them with first aid and counselling that the boat sank in rough seas.

They say that when rescuers arrived, the boat was already sinking. Survivors managed to swim towards the approaching Coast Guard ship. Many drowned because they couldn't swim or were dragged down by desperate fellow passengers.

"The survivors are all in a state of shock," says IOM's Simona Moscarelli. "One man told me he had lost his one year old son. One of the two surviving women told me how she had lost her husband."

The migrants have been transferred to the Loran base, a facility where the Italian authorities are sheltering migrants coming from Libya, in order not to mix them with the migrants arriving from Tunisia.

Since the beginning of February, the island of Lampedusa has been overwhelmed by the arrival of more than 20,000 migrants. The majority of them are Tunisians coming from the Tunisian port of Zarzis, Djerba and Sfax. Over the past ten days, more than 2,000 mostly African migrants and asylum seekers have landed on the island after having sailed from the Libyan coast.

Since 2006, IOM has been providing assistance to migrants in Lampedusa as part of a project funded by the Italian Government. IOM works alongside UNCHR, Save the Children and Italian Red Cross to monitor reception assistance and to provide legal counselling to migrants who have arrived on the island.

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