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Exit from EU will give UK better global approach to migration, says Foster

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Exit from EU will give UK better global approach to migration, says Foster

By John Akubo

In this interview with the Guardian via telephone UK minister for Immigration and Future Borders, Kelvin John Foster says leaving the European Union will bring positive changes for international students coming into the United Kingdom (UK).
*Are you nostalgic about leaving the EU. Is it having any negative impact on your educational system?*
We recognise that the UK leaving the EU will bring changes for students who are coming into the United Kingdom. But we see it as part of having a global playing field, where we should judge people coming to the UK on what they have to offer, and what their skills and talents are. So we believe that the new points-based global system from the 1st January allows the UK to exercise its own choices and is firmer and students globally will be accessed on exactly the same criteria. And also it’s one that we believe gives a much more streamlined process, as we’re taking the opportunity to simplify our immigration rules as well. So for example, those who are coming to study at a university in the UK may no longer need to sit a separate English Language test if they have already proven to the university their English language skills are up to the level they need for their course.

So, we believe that yes, it is a big change happening on the 1st of January with the end of free movement from Europe. But we believe it is one that sets up the UK to have a better fairer, global approach to migration. We’re looking forward to welcoming more students.
As a global leader in the education sector has the issue of education become so important at this point, when containing the pandemic has been the issue?*
It is very important we get international students particularly from countries like Nigeria to still come to the UK even with the background of the pandemic. Our new Student Route is open for applications, and we are delighted to get a good number of applications from Nigeria. Last year, we saw over 9,000 students granted a visa to come to the UK to do their studies and we are hoping to build on that in the future, but the number this year have of course been impacted by COVID19 restrictions on travel. We are very enthusiastic about the new scheme, and the new system should be simpler and easier for those who are studying at our top-level world-class institutions.
*As a global leader in research and innovation, what is the UK doing to ensure there is a viable vaccine to contain the pandemic?*
Well we have a number of research programmes the government has funded – the most high-profile trials are at Oxford University and Imperial College London – both of whom have vaccines in advance test stages.
But this is a global effort and our institutions are working with colleagues across the world to get us to the place where we can have an effective vaccine. And in particular, I know colleagues in the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are keen that they can support efforts to ensure that as the vaccine becomes available it is also available in countries across the world including to developing health systems which have also been put under the same pressure western health systems have. We’re very keen that a number quality students are able to come from Nigeria to the UK to be part of this type of research efforts and we see that there is real talent available in Nigeria.

*You talk about having the brightest and the best of students from all over the world, for your educational sector. What are you doing to strengthen the educational system in less developed countries?*
Well what we see is that those coming to study at our world-class UK institutions in many cases take all their skills and what they’ve learnt back home. And whilst we welcome those who decide to make the UK their home on a more permanent basis, similarly, we know many will enjoy their time in the UK, get a world-class education and train the next generation of doctors in their home country.

One of my classmates, when I was in university, was from the Mauritius and he went back having studied law alongside me, and helped enrich my own experience of learning the subject. He went back to work in Mauritius in the government’s legal system there. So I think this isn’t just about a one way street of people coming to the UK and staying. It’s very much a two-way process that also means some really talented people can get the skills, get the education they need, and then head back to Nigeria to help build up the education system there.
*Education in the UK is expensive yet most of the bright and best students are from the less privilege homes. How would you be able to get across to such students?*

We realise that fees need to be paid. But we make the point that the earning potential of those who have degrees from UK universities is very high. People can support themselves, we do allow those studying at a degree-level to work for a certain number of hours per week whilst they’re here in recognition that they may well need to do some part-time work beside their studies to support the cost of their studies. And we believe these are fees are internationally quite competitive as shown by the increasing numbers of application we are seeing from around the world. And there are individual scholarship funds that do exist. But certainly, we believe the fees are competitive and people will get their money’s worth once they get their degree.

Culled from the Guardian

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Swiss Govt says it is committed to aiding Nigeria recorver looted funds through judicial cooperation

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Swiss Govt says it is committed to aiding Nigeria recorver looted funds through judicial cooperation

The Swiss Government has reiterated its determination to continue to assist Nigeria in recorvering its looted funds stached away in their banks by some corrupt Nigerian leaders.
Speaking yesterday at the 10th anniversary of Nigeria-Switzerland Migration Partnership at the ministry of foreign Affairs in Abuja, the Federal Councillor, head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police Switzerland Kerin Keler said 
“The irregular funds, of course are given back in judicial procedures to Nigeria just like the Abacha looted funds have been given back.
“We have a system of assisting also the Nigerian judicial system, we do our best in that field, I told you may be that it is possible to improve this judicial cooperation between Switzerland and Nigeria.
She was reacting to a poser over irregular migration ocasioned by bad leadership bequeathed on Nigeria by its corrupt leaders who looted and statched away funds in her country.
On regular migration she said they are bound by their laws.
“As far as regular migration is concerned we are bound by Swiss laws, as you might know we have a free movement of workers just within the European Union, as far as four States are concerned.
She said they also have a window for specialists for which Nigeria is not excluded.
“Of course that
Nigerian specialists on this project system can also come to Switzerland,
But the projects we have are based on reintegration on project. “We also have work for people coming back, which is important that when they come back to Switzerland or have to go back to Nigeria they have a job opportunity and this is what is the focus of the migration partnership. 
“It is not regular migration as this is restricted for all nationals to Switzerland which are not European Union citizens.”
She said the system they have is for talented and also qualified people.
The Seisd minister said her country is happy to mark the 10th year anniversaryof the Migration partnership despite challenges faced by Nigeria and that of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keler said Switzerland has an excellent and longstanding relationship with Nigeria that dates back to Nigeria’s independence in 1960 with the opening of its embassy in Lagos in 1961.
According to her, Nigeria and her country have celebrated 60 years of diplomatic relationship adding that this time around they are also celebrating the 10th year anniversary of the migration partnership

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Lawan urges Saudi Govt to help in bringing back over 10,000 Nigerians languishing in their prisons

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Lawan urges Saudi Govt to help in bringing back over 10,000 Nigerians languishing in their prisons

***pushes for increased quota for crude productio

 
The President of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has urged the government of Saudi Arabia to assist Nigeria in bringing back over ten thousand citizens held in detention in Saudi Arabia.
 
Lawan made the appeal when the Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Nigeria, Faisal Eebraheem Alghamdi, paid him a visit at the National Assembly, Abuja, Wednesday.
 
The Senate President, while reiterating the role of the National Assembly in ensuring compliance with bilateral and multi-lateral agreements entered into by the Nigerian government, disclosed that ongoing efforts were underway to evacuate citizens held back in Saudi Arabia. 
 
In his words, “This legislative arm of government is always conscious of ensuring that our government plays its role in bilateral and multilateral dispositions that our government has decided to go into.
 
“Saudi Arabia and Nigeria established a very solid relationship for a long time, and the relationship has been growing every year.
 
“I want to assure you that this arm of government will work with you as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia.
 
He said some of the Nigerian pilgrims in the past had issues in Saudi Arabia, to the wxtent thousands of them are in detention adding that as a country the leadership has taken conscious decisions to ensure that it continues to educate and enlighten its citizens, that when they travel to Saudi Arabia for Ummrah or Hajj, they should perform their religious rites and return to Nigeria.
This he said is to minimize the possibly of people going there and staying back illegally.
“I want to assure you that we will continue to support the National Hajj Commission in educating our pilgrims and, of course, the State Welfare Boards across the country.
 
“Our country is also making a lot of efforts to ensure we evacuate our citizens who are now in Saudi Arabia and who we believe should be back home.”
He used the opportunity to seek the support of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the government to work with Nigeria in this respect to get its citizens back. 
 
“Presently, we have over ten thousand Nigerians who are not registered and who are held in detention. It is our desire to ensure that we get these people out of the country and bring them back home. 
 
“I want to assure you that the relationship between these two great countries – Saudi Arabia and Nigeria – can only go higher and better.”
 
He appealed to Saudi Arabia to use its influence as a major player in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase Nigeria’s crude oil production quota.
 
According to him, doing so would enable Nigeria meet with the country’s infrastructural demands needed to match its growing population. 
 
“As OPEC members, we need the support of Saudi Arabia in so many respects. Even though it is not Saudi Arabia alone that can determine the quota cut for any OPEC country, but Saudi Arabia is the major country in OPEC. Because of your position, you have a lot of influence more than any country. 
 
“Presently, our quota, I think, is about 1.5 million barrels per day. We would request that whenever the opportunity avails itself, we would like to see a higher quota for Nigeria. We have a very huge population – over 200 million – and we have massive challenges in developing our infrastructure. 
 
“At the moment we still earn more than ninety percent of our foreign exchange from the export of crude oil, so we would like to see a situation where we are able to export more of our crude,” he said. 
 
Lawan expressed optimism that the relationship between the Nigeria-Saudi business communities would enhance trade and business relationships to the benefit of both countries.
 
The Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Nigeria, Faisal Eebraheem Alghamdi in his comments earlier, said the purpose of the visit was to build on this existing relationship between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, saying, “we need to develop our relationships and this is the goal when I came here.”
 

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Finally Biden arrives at the White House

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Finally Biden arrives at the White House

By AFP

US President Joe Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday, walking the last block with members of his family through streets that were eerily empty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under tight security, military bands and an escort of police motorcycles led the presidential motorcade to the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Biden was riding in a limousine with the license plate “46” — he is the 46th US president — flanked by six mask-wearing Secret Service agents before emerging to walk the final steps to the White House.

“It feels like I’m going home,” he told a reporter from NBC News along the route.

Biden’s arrival was followed shortly afterward by that of Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president of the United States.

The 78-year-old Biden was sworn in at the Capitol about four hours earlier, calling for “unity” in his inauguration speech.

Instead of going straight to the White House, Biden and Harris visited Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to US military war dead at a ceremony attended by former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

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