Applicants for US Visas May Soon Have to Provide Social Media Handles

Applicants for US Visas May Soon Have to Provide Social Media Handles

In what looks like the Trump administration’s latest effort to tighten the US border by subjecting entrants to greater scrutiny, the State Department announced in the Federal Register on Friday that it was proposing to require that people seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas provide consular officials with additional information, including their social media accounts from the past five years, Ana Campoy reports at Quartz:

“This is an indirect way that the Trump administration is trying to limit immigration to the US that does not require for them to go to Congress,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, an immigration law professor at Cornell University, of the proposed rules.

The US had already been requesting social-media information from people suspected to represent a national security threat. That policy targeted a sliver of travelers to the US—about 65,000. The new measures would cover nearly 15 million people. Along with the handles, the State Department is also asking for a five-year history of email addresses, telephone numbers, and international trips.

The proposals must be approved by the Office of Management and Budget after a 60-day public comment period, so these new requirements will not come into effect until this summer at the earliest, but if they do, Campoy surmises, it may make some people think twice about traveling to the US. The American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement condemning the proposals as “ineffective and deeply problematic”:

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Starbucks Commits to Gender Pay Equity Worldwide

Starbucks Commits to Gender Pay Equity Worldwide

At its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Starbucks announced that it “has achieved 100 percent pay equity for women and men, and for people of all races, performing similar work in the United States” and expressed a commitment to closing its gender pay gap worldwide as well:

Announced today, Starbucks has committed to achieving and maintaining 100 percent gender pay equity for partners in all company-operated markets globally, setting a new bar for multinational companies. This is an effort supported by equal rights champion Billie Jean King and her Leadership Initiative (BJKLI) and leading national women’s organizations, the National Partnership for Women & Families and the American Association of University Women. …

Starbucks has also formulated Pay Equity Principles that led to the successful closure of the pay gap at Starbucks in the United States. Recognizing the importance of this issue for women all around the world, Starbucks is sharing these principles so other companies can follow suit, and address known systemic barriers to global pay equity.

A number of major US companies with multinational reach, including large financial institutions and tech companies, have recently released pay equity audits demonstrating gender and racial pay gaps of 1 percent or less in the US and committing to closing the small gaps that exist. These audits have come in response to pressure from the activist investor Arjuna Capital, which filed shareholder resolutions at a number of large companies requesting them. Arjuna had submitted such a proposal at Starbucks as well, but withdrew it last year after the coffee chain issued a report showing 99.7 percent pay equity between male and female employees performing similar work.

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For Indian Women, the Gender Pay Gap Grows Over Time

For Indian Women, the Gender Pay Gap Grows Over Time

Quartz’s Maria Thomas highlights new data from the Monster Salary Index, released by the online employment portal Monster India, showing that the longer Indian women work, the more their pay lags behind that of their male peers:

Data for 2017 show Indian women with three to five years of experience earn marginally higher median wages (1.09%) than men at the same level. But the tide begins to turn once employees have six to 10 years of experience, with men earning 15.3% more than women. And at over 11 years of experience, the gender pay gap becomes a startling 25%. …

These figures are particularly frustrating given all the obstacles women must typically overcome in the first place to make it to the top of their fields. To begin with, India’s conservative society still identifies bearing and caring for children as a woman’s primary role. That makes it incredibly difficult to juggle household responsibilities alongside professional ones. All the more so after childbirth—that is if at all new mothers are allowed to return to the workplace. Among those who are, only a lucky few can expect a reliable support system, including childcare facilities and flexible timings.

These challenges are by no means specific to India. Studies in the US and UK have also found that the gender pay gap starts small and grows over the course of people’s careers, with marriage and children playing a role in holding back the growth of women’s earnings as they either make sacrifices in their own career to accommodate their spouse’s, take career breaks to raise children, or find themselves shut out of promotions and stretch assignments due to family obligations (if not outright gender bias).

Because the gender role expectations placed on Indian women are even more restrictive than those of their peers in Western countries, the obstacle is that much greater, but not qualitatively different.

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Goldman Prepares to Shift Some London Staff to Frankfurt

Goldman Prepares to Shift Some London Staff to Frankfurt

Goldman Sachs has put more than a dozen of its London-based bankers, salespeople, and traders on notice that their roles will be relocated to Frankfurt in the coming months, Reuters reports, amid uncertainty over the ability of banks to conduct continental European business from the UK after it leaves the EU:

After months of patience and private lobbying, the U.S. investment bank has decided it can no longer wait for clarity from lawmakers on how its business might be impacted by Britain’s exit from the trading bloc and is taking the steps to minimize disruption to clients.

It has informed members of its London-based derivatives and debt capital markets teams working on German accounts that their activities will be relocated to its base in Frankfurt and to make the necessary preparations to move to those offices by end-June, the sources told Reuters.

A source tells Financial News that these transfers are part of a broader strategy to move staff closer to their clients and not part of Goldman’s Brexit contingency planning. However, the report comes just days after UK Prime Minister Theresa May that the divorce agreement would not retain the existing arrangement of “passporting” rights that allow financial firms to sell their services across the EU upon being licensed to do so in just one member country. The financial sector and industry groups have lobbied the government to maintain the passporting agreement, but May said Britain would not become a “rule taker” deferring to the authority of Brussels and would instead seek “a new relationship on financial services based on this concept of mutual recognition.”

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Estonia Launching Innovative Visa Program for Digital Nomads

Estonia Launching Innovative Visa Program for Digital Nomads

The advent of telework allows for the possibility that fully remote workers could spend their lives traveling across the globe without having to take a day of PTO. While this freewheeling lifestyle sounds great for those with an itch for seeing the world, it comes with some serious legal challenges, primarily when it comes to establishing residency for tax purposes. Currently, most “digital nomads,” as they’re known, use a tourist visa to enter whichever country they want to work out of and then leave, but technically that’s illegal. Estonia is looking to solve that problem through a visa program for digital nomads, expected to launch in 2019, which will entitle holders to live in Estonia for a year at a time but visit Schengen Area member countries for up to 90 days.

“In terms of the future of work we are all navigating, there is no policy to support the new ways of working,” Karoli Hindriks, the Estonian founder of the international job search platform Jobbatical who proposed this idea to his country’s Ministry of the Interior, told Rosie Spinks at Quartz. “A digital nomad visa represents a breakthrough in the way governments support today’s mobile workforce.”

Estonia already has a successful startup environment and is one of the most tech-forward nations in the world: In 2005, it became the first country to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014 it offered e-residency programs for location-independent entrepreneurs in an attempt to become a more attractive destination for business formation. The popular web chat program Skype, now owned by Microsoft, was built by an Estonia-based developer team in 2003.

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US Employers Showing Strong Intent to Hire in 2018

US Employers Showing Strong Intent to Hire in 2018

Two studies released this week show that US employers have more robust hiring plans this year compared to last year. CareerBuilder’s annual forecast, a survey of over 800 hiring managers and HR professionals, found that 44 percent of companies are hiring for full-time roles in 2018, up four percent from 2017. Additionally, Roy Maurer of SHRM notes that the ManpowerGroup’s latest employment forecast has the strongest Q1 hiring outlook since 2001.

The CareerBuilder survey found that employers in the western states (49 percent) and the northeast corridor (47 percent) are the most likely to be hiring at the moment, while also outlining some key trends that appear likely to shape talent acquisition in the new year. One of those trends is the movement to get in early with talent, as 64 percent of companies that are hiring will be looking to add recent college graduates to their ranks. Almost a quarter of them will be looking internationally to fill positions, although this strategy may be complicated by the Trump administration’s efforts to tighten immigration controls and reduce the use of skilled worker visas like the H-1B. Perhaps most notably, 30 percent of companies say they plan on increasing compensation for new employees by five percent or more and 36 percent intend to do so for current staff.

The survey also pointed to challenges employers are having in filling openings, with 58 percent reporting that they’ve had jobs open for longer than 12 weeks and 66 percent saying they plan on hiring candidates who do not have all of the skills they need and filling any gaps through training.

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China Rolls Out Long-Term Work Visas for ‘High-End’ Global Talent

China Rolls Out Long-Term Work Visas for ‘High-End’ Global Talent

China has begun issuing a new form of fast-track, extended-stay visa for recipients of its “Certificate for Foreign High-end Talent,” the South China Morning Post reported last Thursday. The five- and ten-year multiple-entry visas are free, can be processed in as little as one day, and are also available to the spouses and children of certified “high-end” foreign talent. This marks a noteworthy departure from the country’s otherwise very tight controls on immigration and foreign workers:

According to government guidelines, high-end foreigners also refer to, among others, Nobel Prize winners, chief or deputy editors in Chinese state media, foreign coaches and players in national and provincial sports teams, postdoctoral students from world-class universities outside China, and foreigners who earn at least six times the average annual wage in China. The average annual income in Beijing in 2016 was 92,477 yuan (US$14,220), according to official statistics.

The visas are part of a top-down drive to make China a more attractive place to work and stay. In February 2016, the central government relaxed the country’s green card rules, extending eligibility for permanent residency to foreigners working in broader fields than just government departments or laboratories involved in “key national projects”.

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