This post is rather late but better late than never! (This is a follow up to a previous post)
The International Bar Association held its 5th biannual Global Immigration Conference in London, UK from September 21st to 23rd 2011. The conference kicked off with a fabulous boat cruise on the River Thames, giving the opportunity for lawyers from all around the world to mingle informally. I was happy to see several members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, including the current president of AILA.
On September 22nd, the conference, held at the Chancery Court Hotel in central London, formally began with a keynote speech from the UK Home Office Minister Damien Green. Mr. Green outlined the new policies that came into effect recently and provided explanations for why such drastic measures have been taken. This included a background explanation of why student visas in particular were being restricted as well as those schools that sponsor students. The US consul general, Canadian consul general and other such executive dignitaries were on the opening panel who also addressed the audience.
Over the next two days, various topics were discussed at the conference. England appears to be going through some adverse immigration changes in general. (3 weeks later, we saw those announcements). The trend does seem that most countries are having tougher times with immigration. The one exception appears to be Canada. Canada is embracing immigrants, businesses and investments to help boost the country. There was a moment where everyone was feeling rather envious of Canadian immigration laws.
As an immigration attorney with a practice in investment visas, it was interesting to hear how various countries are treating investments visas. Despite all the restrictive measures UK is taking on immigration, investment visas are the one area in which they are trying to make it more appealing to foreign investors.
The conference was an enjoyable and extremely educational event. It was interesting to learn how the global recession has indeed affected immigration on a global level. It was eye opening to learn that immigration issues faced by us in the United States are similar to what other countries are facing. For example, the H1b IT consultant employer-employee difficulties we have been facing in the US were emerging as a problem in the UK. It was striking to learn that US immigration laws have been copied to some extent in other countries.
I would like to thank the organizers of the event at the International Bar Association for holding such a fun and educational conference.