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Saturday, 9 May 2009

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How British Overseas Citizens (ex-Malaysian) able to regain his Malaysian citizenship?

High Court reinstates man's citizenship

Today was the day Lee Thean Hock stopped feeling like a second-class citizen. The High Court reinstated his Malaysian citizenship which was revoked on Nov 5, 2003 because he was a holder of a British Overseas' Citizen passport (BOCP).

The problem arose as Immigration and National Registration Department officers did not understand the privileges accorded to British Overseas' Citizen passport holders.

*Important Note: Any person holding Malaysian citizenship is also disallowed to hold any other country's citizenship. Malaysia does not allow dual citizenship.

Describing his experience as a "nightmare", Lee said: "I was viewed by everyone as a pariah."

The chartered architect, 50, noted that his case was reported in the newspapers and this put a strain on the family.

"My two teenage sons were ridiculed in school for having a father who was an illegal immigrant. Friends and professional colleagues distanced themselves from me and clients were calling to terminate business dealings."

Lee, who was represented by Darshan Singh Khaira, Chan Kok Keong and Lucia Minta, had argued that holding a British Overseas' Citizen passport was neither an exclusive right of British citizens, nor was it an equivalent of a British passport.

Lee is all smiles.

It was also not an act of acquiring British citizenship.

In the case presided by Justice Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah, Lee named the NRD director-general, Immigration director-general, Home Affairs Ministry and the Malaysian Government as respondents.

Senior Federal Counsel Narkunavathy Sundareson, who appeared for the respondents, said the respondents admitted they were confused over the British Overseas' Citizen passport , which they assumed was the equivalent of acquiring British citizenship.

A British Overseas' Citizen passport , given to those born in the Straits Settlement before independence, is equivalent to a permanent residence with a right of abode only in the United Kingdom.

Lee, born in Penang on May 12, 1955, said in his affidavit supporting the application for the restoration of his Malaysian citizenship, that he went to study in the UK in 1986.

While there, he applied for permanent residence but was told he was automatically entitled to a British Overseas' Citizen passport as he was born before Merdeka Day in the Straits Settlement.

British authorities then issued him with that passport and sent his Malaysian passport to the Malaysian High Commission in London.

Upon his return to Malaysia in 1992, he went to the Immigration Department to reclaim his passport but was advised to first obtain a confirmation from the NRD that he was a citizen.

In 1999, the NRD issued him an identity card and two years later the Immigration issued him a passport.

He then surrendered the British Overseas' Citizen passport .

In Oct 2004, Lee's Malaysian passport was confiscated by Immigration officials as their records showed he was no longer a citizen.

Despite having endured many sleepless nights, Lee was glad that it all worked out well.

"The fact that my citizenship has been restored is proof that justice exists in the Malaysian legal system," said Lee, who also thanked Home Affairs Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid for looking into his case last year.

Extracted from New Straits Times
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U.K. Unemployment Rises to Highest Level in 12 Years

U.K. unemployment rose to the highest level since Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party came to power in 1997 as the recession forced companies from builders to car makers to axe jobs.
The number of jobless based on International Labour Organization methods rose 177,000 in the three months through February to 2.1 million, the most in 12 years, the Office for National Statistics said today. Claims for jobless benefits rose 73,700 in March to 1.46 million.

Brown has pledged help for the unemployed in the annual budget today as the worst recession in at least three decades destroys jobs at car factories, building firms and banks. Trailing in opinion polls, Brown faces the prospect of fighting the next election with one in 10 people of employment age out of work for the first time since 1994.

Banks and insurers in London may eliminate about 29,000 jobs this year, 9 percent of the total, before employment growth resumes in 2010, the Centre for Economics & Business Research Ltd. said in a report on April 20.

WS Atkins Plc, the biggest U.K. engineering-design company, said on April 15 it increased job cuts to 1,200 on slumping construction markets in Britain and the Middle East.

In the three months through February, the ILO jobless rate in Britain rose to 6.7 percent, the highest since October 1997. That compares with 8.5 percent in the 16-nation euro region, 8.5 percent in the U.S. in March and 4.4 percent in Japan.

Claimant unemployment rose for a 13th month in March, the longest stretch since the 16-month period to June 2006. The increase in February was revised to 136,600 from 138,400. The jobless rate rose to 4.5 percent in March, the most since August 1998, from 4.3 percent in February.

Wage pressures subsided as banks slashed bonuses. In the three months through February, pay growth slumped to 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the lowest since comparable records began in 1991. Excluding bonuses, the pace of increase slowed to 3.2 percent, the least since records began in 2001, from 3.5 percent.

Extracted from BBC
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Friday, 8 May 2009

Less chance for new migrant to get a job in UK?

The UK Government has tightened the resident labour market test, which prevents employers from offering skilled jobs to overseas workers unless workers in the United Kingdom have had a chance to apply for them first. The test now requires employers to advertise these jobs in Jobcentre Plus offices for up to two weeks as well as advertising by another method in the codes of practice.

Advertising jobs in Jobcentre Plus is straightforward and free of charge - employers can submit their advertisements online, by email, by fax or over the phone, in a process that can take as little as five minutes.

The resident labour market test works as part of the United Kingdom's points-based system, which ensures that migrants from outside Europe have the skills we need. The test covers skilled jobs such as primary school teachers, some nurses, architects, farm managers, hotel managers, graphic designers and air traffic controllers.

The UK Border Agency has launched an advertising campaign to make sure that employers know their responsibilities.

Extracted from UK Border Agency
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Thursday, 7 May 2009

UK Points Based System Brief Explained


Before the new system was introduced there were more than 80 routes for a non-EU national to enter the UK. The present, much more simpler framework consists of 5 tiers, which help people find the right path to the UK.

  • Tier 1 is for highly skilled individuals willing to practice what they do best in the UK
  • Tier 2 is for skilled workers (nurses, teachers, engineers, etc.) who already have a job offer to work in the UK
  • Tier 3 is for a very limited number of low skilled workers needed to fill temporary labour shortages for a specific project
  • Tier 4 is for students, continuing their education in the United Kingdom
  • Tier 5 is for Youth Mobility and temporary workers (people who are allowed to work in the Uk for a limited time)

For each tier there is a point target that the applicants need to meet. Points are awarded according to an objective and transparent criteria, allowing applicants to assess themselves.

Extracted from UK Border Agency

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How much tax do I need to pay if I work in the UK?

If you are going to be living and working in the UK you will usually have to pay tax here as well.

How much income tax will I have to pay?

The amount of income tax you have to pay depends on how much you earn.

For the tax year 2007/2008 the first ₤5,225 that you earn is tax free (personal allowance), and after that you must pay tax at different levels:

10% on the next ₤2,230
22% on the amount from ₤2,231 to ₤34,600
40% on anything above ₤34,600

What are national insurance contributions?
You pay national insurance contributions (NIC) to build up your right to social security, benefits and a pension. NIC are automatically deducted from your wages or will be calculated from your self assessment tax return. For more information about National Insurance visit Directgov or our pages on Social Security and Benefits.
What is a tax year?
The tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April. If you come to settle in the UK in the middle of a tax year you will often only have to pay tax on income from the moment that you arrive, but there are exceptions to this. Find out more at the Direct Gov website.

How do I pay income tax?
If you are employed, income tax and national insurance contributions will be automatically deducted from your salary (Pay As You Earn: PAYE), and you will not normally need to fill in a tax return each year. If you are self-employed, or have a substantial income from property or other means (for example foreign income), you will need to fill out a self assessment tax form. When you inform HM Revenue and Customs of your circumstances, they should determine whether you need to fill in a self assessment form, and will give you guidelines on how to do this.

You also can use this tools to calculate your tax (http://listentotaxman.com/)

Extracted from ListenToTaxMan
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British jobs for British workers?

It is difficult not to agree with protestors at a giant oil refinery yesterday. “We have a growing problem in the engineering and construction industry where UK workers are being excluded from important projects. The Government must take urgent action to deal with this situation as tensions are reaching boiling point,” said Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite.
And across the land, people munching on their breakfast, or driving to work, nod their heads in agreement. It is ludicrous to recruit workers from abroad, when there are British workers who can do the job just as well.

Gordon Brown called for “British jobs for British workers,” and yesterday, protestors echoed that call.

It is just that we are seeing the thin end of a wedge. We are now entering the most dangerous phase in the credit crunch. Governments across the world are now faced with conceivably their most important challenge. It is vital that the other side of the argument is put forward, or else the credit crunch really will degenerate into a full scale depression.

The challenge is not unique to Britain – far from it in fact. Across the world, countries are questioning the wisdom of recruiting foreign workers (including British workers), or buying foreign goods (including British goods). In the US, the Chinese currency is the subject of wrath – as workers Stateside demand retaliation against China.

Meanwhile, “buy American” is becoming a new hot topic in Washington. $810bn is being thrown at US companies, but the great US give-away includes what’s called a “buy American” provision. CNNMoney quoted Sen. Byron Dorgan who came up with the provision, as saying: “When taxpayer dollars are used, we should urge that money to support the things produced here at home.” So far, it’s US iron and steel production that will benefit from the Bill. But why stop there? It’s US taxpayers’ money, so why not spend it on US jobs? Or at least that’s what many senators are asking.

Then there’s bank bail outs. Last week, news emerged that RBS was actually planning to lend money to a Spanish company. How dare they? It’s British taxpayers’ money, it must be lent to British companies.

According to the FT, one of Dmitry Medvedev’s senior advisers told reporters in Davos that Barack Obama’s plans to throw money at the US economy mean he “expects the Chinese or Russians to buy US Treasury bills, and that he says is pretty selfish and philosophically it is protectionism.”

He added: “What is discouraging is Obama’s statement that he is going to run a $1 trillion deficit for years to come. For us, that means that all the free liquidity in the world will run into American Treasury bills.”

Trade is so often held up as the cause of all our ills. Globalisation, the greatest evil. But the truth is quite different. Trade promotes wealth. The law of comparative advantage shows that it pays for a country to trade, even if it does not have an absolute advantage in anything.

Globalisation stood behind the boom at the beginning of the 20th and then the 21st centuries. The end of globalisation and a return to protectionism led to the First World War. The Great Depression became much deeper after the Smoot-Hawley Act imposed tariffs on 20,000 US goods. This led to a deepening in the Great Depression, and it took another World War to put an end to that.

“We have a number of examples of contractors refusing to even consider applications for work from qualified local labour, with years of experience. This is now becoming a national problem.
“The Government has poured billions of pounds into the economy in an attempt at preventing unemployment reaching the levels seen in the early eighties.

“This strategy depends on employers playing their part,” said Derek Simpson.

Vladimir Putin spoke out against protectionism at Davos. Russia won’t be “isolationist and egotistic,” he said. Well, it is easy to say that, but at least the sentiments are right.

Global leaders must now accept the challenge of convincing their electorate and displaced workers that protectionism will make things worse. It won’t be easy, but it is the most important challenge of 2009, and it must not fail.

Extracted from BBC
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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Manchester is to be the first city where people can sign up for a new ID card

This autumn Manchester becomes the first city where people can sign up for an ID card.

Anyone over 16 in the city with a UK passport will be able to apply for a card. People in Manchester who want an ID card can register their interest on the Directgov website.

The home secretary's speech signals her determination to push ahead with the cards, which will initially cost £30, despite opposition.

The Tories and Lib Dems want the £5bn scheme scrapped, while some Labour MPs have expressed doubts about its cost.

The Home Office says it is firmed to push ahead, saying ID cards will reduce fraud. Thus, this will help money and are vital to combating terrorism and organised crime.

The Manchester launch will mark the beginning of the main phase of the ID scheme which ministers say will culminate in cards being available nationwide by 2012.

ID CARD TIMETABLE
2009: Workers at Manchester and London City airport
Autumn 2009: Manchester pilot
2010: Students opening bank accounts offered ID cards
2011/12: All UK passport applicants
2015: 90% foreign nationals covered
2017: Full roll-out?

The cost of the cards will be capped at £30 for the first two years and then there will be an additional cost to the applicant of getting a card via a post office or High Street pharmacy.

This charge has yet to be decided, but the Home Office says it hopes it will be "competitive", and reports have put the total cost at about £60.

People in Manchester will only be able to get the cards by applying directly to the National Identity Service. They will not be able to get them from shops and post offices for another two years.

"ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists," the home secretary said.
Government officials will seek to allay people's concerns about the amount of personal data to be collected and retained for the new cards, saying it will be no greater than for passports.
"I think it is important to recognise that we're not collecting some massive accumulation of information about citizens," said James Hall, chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service.

Extracted from BBC
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How can I work in the UK

To work in the U.K you are required to be a U.K citizen, or an EC/EEA national. Commonwealth citizens and foreign national with no restrictions on their stay in the United Kingdom may also work subject to visa status.


Husbands, wives and dependant children under 18, or people who hold a work permit or certificate of sponsorship, may not need an individual certificate of sponsorship as long as the visa in their passport places no restriction on their employment in the U.K.



If you do not meet any of these criteria, then you will require a Certificate of Sponsorship or authorisation from the Home Office, e.g. Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 visa etc.


Certificates of Sponsorship can only be issued for skilled posts (must be at a minimum level of NVQ or SVQ level 3) as listed within the Occupation Codes of Practice under the Sponsored Skilled Workers Tier of the Points Based System. Most administrative, clerical and manual type roles do not meet the skills level to satisfy this criteria/requirement.


In addition, the migrant worker must reach the Tier 2 points requirements before the Certificate of Sponsorship can be issued.


Extracted from UK Border Agency

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