Thursday, November 29, 2012


  • Finland
  • South Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • UK
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Switzerland
  • Canada
  • Ireland
  • Denmark
  • Australia
  • Poland
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • USA
  • Hungary
  • Slovakia
  • Russia
UK education sixth in global ranking
The UK's education system is ranked sixth best in the developed world, according to a global league table published by education firm Pearson. The first and second places are taken by Finland and South Korea.
The rankings combine international test results and data such as graduation rates between 2006 and 2010.
This composite picture puts the UK in a stronger position than the influential Pisa tests from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) - which is also one of the tests included in this ranking.
Global competition
The two education superpowers - Finland and South Korea - are followed by three other high-performing Asian education systems - Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.
The UK - which is considered as a single system, rather than four devolved administrations - is then ranked at the head of an above-average group including the Netherlands, New Zealand, Canada and Ireland.
These are ahead of a middle-ranking group including the United States, Germany and France.
Looking at education systems that succeed, the study concludes that spending is important, but not as much as having a culture that is supportive of learning.
The success of Asian countries in these rankings reflects the high value attached to education and the expectations of parents. This can continue to be a factor when families migrate to other countries, says the report accompanying the rankings.
Looking at the two top countries - Finland and South Korea - the report says that there are many big differences, but the common factor is a shared social belief in the importance of education and its "underlying moral purpose".
Teacher quality
The report also emphasizes the importance of high-quality teachers and the need to find ways to recruit the best staff. This might be about status and professional respect as well as levels of pay.
The ranking for levels of school choice shows that Finland and South Korea have among the lowest levels of school choice. But Singapore, another high performer, has the highest level. The UK is among the upper levels in terms of school choice.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Migration to Canada

Migration to Canada
Canada is a popular migration destination for UAE expats. Why do people opt for Canada? What are the challenges?
Every year around 250,000 people migrate to Canada. The UAE seems to be a popular place of departure to the Far West [and Far North] for the expatriate population in this country. For many, life here is a stopover, and Canada has turned out time and again the number one final destination.
However, the window of opportunity may be closing fast for hopefuls as rules are becoming more limiting and open categories are getting filled up speedily.
“At the moment applying for the skilled work permit is not advisory for most people,” says Kim Krisko, a Canadian lawyer and immigration consultant at Krisko & Associates. “The Canadian government has seriously limited these options. If a person qualifies, the only option might be to apply for a business visa.”
But the ‘Land of Snow’ is still a big draw – and with reason. According to Kim, Canada is a country that people generally do not want to leave. “With the exception of people with a wanderlust, the inhabitants of Canada generally never think about migration, because they are happy where they are.”
It therefore more makes sense that a large migration flow comes from the UAE, Kim believes. “People come to the UAE for work and the duration of their stay here totally depends on this their career path. People normally do not consider it as their final destination.
“Once they have experienced the modern lifestyle that the UAE offers, they find it difficult to move back to their country of origin because such way of life does not exist there. They want to permanently live in a society with the modern infrastructure and Canada becomes a very suitable option.”
Throughout the UAE there are dozens of migration consultants and companies that assist the process from application to settlement. A real necessity, believes Felix Roy Tom, migration consultant at Vision for Canada. “The process is a very complicated one. Often people make minor mistakes in their paper-work, which eventually leads to denial of a visa. We advise and monitor, in order to guarantee that people have the best chance to make it there.”
Many consultants would say that Canada offers plenty of opportunity for immigration. The total area consists of 9.9 million square kilometers and it is thereby the second-largest country in the world. However, it only inhabits 33 million people and the indigenous population is on decline due to a negative birthrate.  “Canada basically need immigrants to sustain the population and for the economy to keep on running,”says Kim.
Immigration Laws
However, Canadian visa regulations are very changeable, says Kim. Although Canada is generally considered to adopt a more lenient immigration policy than any other country, this policy is subject to heavy fluctuation. At the moment there are a few challenges.
“According to most recent changes, skilled work visa are limited by the number of labour categories open for selection, and each category has a limited number of available applications. Last year, this limit was reached in some categories within weeks after opening,” tells Kim.  
At the moment there are 29 eligible occupations for which skilled worker permits can be obtained, of which 12 have already reached the limit of 500 applications. Plenty of applications are available for less popular jobs, such as plumber, machine operators and jobs in the oil, gas and mining field. However, job categories in the field of science, catering, business, healthcare or architecture were quickly filled. Categories will be reopened on June 1st.
According to Felix, it is important applicants are aware of their chances of obtaining a visa before they decide to go through the whole process of applying.
Education & Work Experience
Important factors for migration to Canada are education and work experience. “These weigh very heavily in the assessment, because these are criteria that determine a successful application,” says Felix.
One year of work experience in any field is required, and more than four years preferable. For the education standard chances decrease when a university diploma cannot be presented, and a doctorate is highly preferable. A successful IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score is required in any case.
Beside these challenges there are quite a lot of advantages in choosing for Canada as a country to settle down. “After 3 years and one week of uninterrupted residence in Canada any migrant is eligible for Canadian citizenship,” explains Felix. And obtaining citizenship has many advantages. “Up to the university level education is free, which many migrants find a relief when starting a family in Canada,” he adds.
“Canada has a high per capita GPD, a politically stable environment, a lot of space, fresh air and is a relatively safe country to live in,” adds Kim, who came to Dubai to reach out to potential customers. “Accommodation may be a little expensive in the big cities in Canada, but is very affordable in the smaller cities and villages. You could easily trade in your two-bedroom road-facing apartment in the Springs for a three-bedroom villa and a couple of cars in Canada. Your dollar goes a long way there.”
Because the application for a visa to Canada could easily take about one-and-a-half years, people are advised to anticipate on migrating to Canada and take all challenges and restrictions in consideration. “We never ask people to start their application before we know they have a chance. It is people’s future we are dealing with, and it takes a lot of efforts to prepare for such a move,” says Felix.
According to Kim, people should not be tempted to apply for a work permit at the moment regardless of the promises and advertising of immigration agencies. “The chance of getting a work permit is just very small at the moment, and a person needs to do their due diligence on a consultant promising such work permit,” he says. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spain offers Resident Permit

Spain offers residency to anyone buying a home worth more than £130,000 in bid to save its housing market
 Spain has more than 700,000 unsold houses after real estate market collapse
 New policy would see foreigners given residency permits if they buy houses worth more than 160,000 euros - approximately £128,500
Spain plans to offer foreigners residency permits if they buy houses worth more than 160,000 euros - approximately £128,500 - to try and reduce the country's bloated stock of unsold homes.
Spain currently has more than 700,000 unsold houses following the collapse of its real estate market in 2008.
Trade Ministry secretary Jaime Garcia-Legaz said the plan, expected to be approved in the coming weeks, would be aimed principally at the Chinese and Russian markets as the domestic demand was stagnant and showed no sign of improving
The country's economy is still struggling and is currently in recession with 25 per cent unemployment.
Thousands of houses have been repossessed by banks and their owners evicted because they cannot pay their mortgages.
The government last week approved a decree under which evictions would be suspended for two years in specific cases of extreme need.
The country's offer beats others in bailed-out countries such as Ireland and Portugal, where residency papers are offered to foreigners buying houses worth more than 400,000 euros - around £322,000) and 500,000 euros - approximately £402,000 respectively. It was not immediately clear if the residency would only refer to Spain, and not the European Union.
The stricken state of the country's real estate market was highlighted Monday by figures from the Bank of Spain which showed that the level of bad debt in the country's banks had risen to a record 10.7 per cent of their loan total in September.