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Great English Skills Can Get You a Visa

Not just good, but should be great.

If you’re applying for a visa nowadays, your above-average to excellent English communication skills can make you a lot more qualified in the eyes of immigration officers. This is the case especially in countries with native English speakers as residents such as the United States and Australia.

As of May 7, 2013, it has been reported that the current US immigration bill is set to be rewritten, introducing a new system favoring “skills over family ties”. Economists and politicians have been rooting for this change for a long time, as they believe that legal immigration should always be for the purpose of economic growth more than family reunions. Therefore, graduates possessing the necessary skills such as proven mastery of oral English communication get to have more chances of securing an immigrant visa than relatives of US citizens (both birthright and naturalized) who cannot speak fluently in English.

The Philippines is said to be one of the countries who can benefit from the so-called “merit-based” system, as Filipinos are very particular when it comes to the importance of quality education, English skills and work experience. Majority of them prioritize graduating from college and/or being employed in jobs related to business process outsourcing, engineering and information technology (as some Philippine-based companies belonging to these industries also accept high school graduates). The best English speakers in this “number one country in global business communication” usually learn the techniques of being great communicators either by enrolling in top private schools or working for employers who find English most essential in doing business.

For Filipinos who have the skills except being eloquent in English, they usually fail in the interview part of the visa application process. According to US Consul General Michael Schimmel via local media outfit GMA News Online, about 200,000 applicants try their luck annually but 25% of them unfortunately do not make the cut. Common reasons of failure include not being able to justify effectively that they are only visiting for a short period and do not intend to stay as illegal immigrants, apart from not having a stable job, lacking financial resources that will last throughout the trip, strong family ties, and having a record of being a con artist, a criminal, narcotics dependent or a patient with health-threatening medical conditions. To be able to explain their valid reasons, applicants should therefore efficiently communicate in English.

On the other hand, eligibility for an Australian visa among skilled workers would entail presenting proofs of identity and health insurance, adhering  to imposed health and character standards, being employed in a profession approved by the Australian government, having the required skills as documented in the immigration’s Document Checklist for Visa Applicants,  the ability to meet registration or licensing requirements to work upon request by the attending visa processing case officer, and the most basic but highly important of all, providing proof of passing the IELTS. IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System, an international standardized test that determines a person’s proficiency in the English language. Applicants should have a score at least of 5 in each IELTS test component: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Going through visa re-application without the right amount of preparation and training equates to waste of time, effort, and money. Therefore, immigration officers would advise denied applicants to re-assess themselves and enroll in and complete formal communication development programs in order to excel in all stages during their next attempt.

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