Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased


Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.3 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending March 2013, essentially unchanged from the 0.4 percent increase for the December 2012 3-month period.  Wages and salaries increased 0.5 percent for the current period compared to a 0.3 percent increase for the December 2012 period. Benefit costs decelerated to 0.1 percent in March 2013, down from 0.6 percent in December 2012.

Civilian Workers

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 1.8 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2013, essentially unchanged from the March 2012 increase of 1.9 percent. Wages and salaries  increased 1.6 percent for the current 12-month period. In March 2012 the increase was 1.7 percent. Benefit costs increased 1.9 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2013, down from the March 2012 increase of 2.7 percent.

Benefits Data for Sales and Office Occupations Unavailable

BLS has discovered an error in the benefits data for March 2013 primarily affecting private industry benefits data for sales and office occupations. As a result, benefits estimates for March 2013 have been temporarily suppressed for sales and office occupations found in tables 3 and 12 of this news release. Other benefit and compensation data may also be affected by this error. Details regarding the availability of corrected data are at

Private Industry Workers

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 1.7 percent over the year. In March 2012 the 12-month increase was 2.1 percent. Wages and salaries increased 1.7 percent for the current 12-month period. For the 12-month period ending March 2012, the increase was 1.9 percent. The increase in the cost of benefits was 1.5 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2013, down from the March 2012 increase of 2.8 percent.

Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending March 2013 ranged from 1.6 percent for sales and office occupations and service occupations to 1.9 percent for natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations.

Among industry supersectors, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the current 12-month period ranged from 0.9 percent for leisure and hospitality to 2.2 percent for information.

State and Local Government Workers

Compensation costs for state and local government workers increased 1.9 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2013. In March 2012 the increase was 1.5 percent. Wages and salaries increased 1.0 percent for the 12-month period ending March 2013, the same as the March 2012 change. Prior values for this series, which began in June 1982, ranged from 1.0 percent to 8.5 percent. Benefit costs increased 3.5 percent in March 2013, up from the March 2012 increase of 2.3 percent.

The PDF version of the news release

Job vacancies in Manila’s largest retail firms up by 13% in ’12

Large companies that operate retail establishments and restaurants in Metro Manila rode through the stronger-than-expected economic growth last year while understaffed, accounting for about one-fourth of job vacancies last year.

The Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics reported that a quarterly average of 85,397 jobs were available in large enterprises in the National Capital Region in 2012.

This was 13.3 percent higher than the quarterly average of about 75,000 reported in 2011, the BLES said.

“It could be that a number of job vacancies have remained unfilled during (one) quarter and were carried over to the succeeding quarters particularly those which are considered hard to fill,” the agency added.

Vacancies were largest in the first quarter last year at some 97,000, but the volume shrank to about 89,000 in the second quarter and further to 74,000 in the third quarter.

The number “then rose again to 82,000 in the last quarter in anticipation of (an) increase in sales during the holiday season,” the BLES said.

The BLES report, which is part of its Labor Turnover Survey, covered 763 large enterprises that were included in the Securities and Exchange Commission’s 2010 List of Top Corporations.
Considered as industry trend setters, the hiring activities of these companies indicate labor demand in the formal sector.

For the entire year, vacancies for shop salespersons and product demonstrators were on top of the list of “hot jobs,” with 10,397 slots every quarter or 12 percent of total.

Slots for waiters/waitresses and bartenders were No. 2 with 9,209 vacancies or 11 percent of total.
“Demand for this (second) type of occupations was driven by the robust growth in the country’s tourism industry,” the BLES said.

Related data from the National Statistical Coordination Board show that in 2012, when the domestic economy expanded by 6.6 percent, household and final consumption expenditures (which used to be called personal consumption expenditures) grew by 6.1 percent.

Others in the BLES’ list of top 10 job vacancies for last year were for cashiers and ticket clerks; pharmacists; sales representatives; call center agents; systems analysts and designers; accounting and bookkeeping clerks; office secretaries, and computer engineers.

Spain's Unemployment Hits Record Numbers

Madrid is bracing for protests later today, as new employment figures show Spanish unemployment shot up to a record 27.2 percent in the first quarter of this year. Joblessness also increased at alarmingly high levels in France, with the number of documented job seekers rising by 1.2 percent in March from February to 3,224,600. That's up 11.5 percent from March of 2012, right before Francois Hollande took over as president in May.

More than six million Spaniards now are out of work, underscoring the grim message that the woes of Spain - and number of other eurozone countries - are far from over. Figures published Thursday by Spain's National Statistics Institute also show that nearly one in six Spaniards under the age of 25 is unemployed.

On Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to announce new measures aimed at jump-starting the country's ailing economy.

Standing in line at one Madrid unemployment office, Spaniard Fina Garcia expressed impatience at the government, saying he didn't know what the solution was, but that the government needs to act since the numbers of unemployed people like himself are growing every day. He expressed fear there would be more cuts to come.

Unemployment in Spain since 2003
Some experts are surprised at Spain's latest unemployment figures. Not analyst Zsolt Darvas, from the Brussels-based economic think-tank Bruegel.

"Unfortunately, I'm not surprised, because the economic outlook of Spain - but also other European countries - is extremely bleak," said Darvas. "There is no private demand, banks are in very bad shape and the policy [is] fiscal conservation. So from these factors nothing else can come out - just some deeper recession or unemployment."

Darvas said he believes the European Union, along with the European Central Bank, should do more to help struggling southern members, as should stronger countries like Germany. He predicts the ECB will be responding shortly by cutting its interest rate.

Growing joblessness also is posing a major problem for neighboring France, the eurozone's second-largest economy. Socialist President Francois Hollande - who came to power last year promising to grow the economy and cut joblessness - is now struggling with record low popularity ratings.

Overall, said Darvas, the outlook for the 17 nations sharing the euro currency is not bright.

"I think the major problem in the euro area is the lack of demand. Because the private consumption is falling, private investment is falling. And at the same time public expenditures are also cut back. So if you put these three things together… nothing else can come out of this, just deeper recession," said Darvas.

One thing that is growing is public anger, with many Europeans taking to the streets to express their discontent with the tough economic times.

How to Discover Your Dream Job

For many, the working life will not be coming to an end until the ripe old age of 70. This means that working can span a majority of a lifetime and it has become more important than ever to make sure you are in the right job, within the right industry and are in a position to carve a career in something that you are passionate about and are able to do for at least 30 or more years.

There are hundreds of industry’s, millions of jobs and thousands of employers, although you have plenty of choice the task of discovering your dream job may not be as simple as first thought.  It may not be easy, but there are things you can do to start the process of finding the position that is meant for you.

Your Interests
Think about the things that really interest you. For example, if you are a writer, interested in mechanics or passionate about electrics. Narrow down all of your strong interests in a list, highlighting your key skills within each area. You will quickly be able to see which position is the most prominent.

What Do You See Yourself Doing?
Everyone has an idea of what they see themselves doing, no matter how vague. It could be from working in a busy office surrounded by executives or outdoors with like-minded people that are using their hands to create something. We all have a vision of what our working life should be like. Make another list of what you see yourself doing and cross-reference it with the list of your interests. Do any of them overlap?

Research, Research, Research
Hopefully, by now, you will have established a rough idea as to the industry that interests you the most alongside the key elements of a job. Look into the types of jobs that are available considering your interests and skills. Have a look at some of the job descriptions that are included within job advertisements. This will give you a clear indication of the types of things that are required, the day-to-day tasks you will be completing and the qualifications and experience that are desired.

Also have a look at those who are already within the industry. Researching companies that are in your industry of interest will give you an idea as to the types of people and places you may be working for.

Consider that you may need to undertake some work experience. It is usually free and can last around a week or two. This will help you to decide whether or not this is the right job for you, as you will be gaining first hand experience about what the job really entails. It will also look good to perspective employers.

Your CV
Create a new CV that is based around the new industry and jobs you are interested in applying for, paying special attention to highlight the skills you possess that are also mentioned within the job specification.

In order to get your dream job, you may need specific qualifications so it might be worthwhile considering evening classes or college courses to help you meet the requirements of an employer and possess the necessary skills you need to actually do the job.

Apply, Apply, Apply
Start applying for positions that interest you and match your skills and experience. Even if it isn’t an exact match you never know what may happen. If you don’t get the interview, ask what you can do to improve your cv. Employers will be more than happy to give guidance.

There are recruitment and job sites that are able to help you in your need to find the perfect job role. for example, are one of the leaders in their industry and hold a host of job advertisements from a range of industries across the country.

Healthcare Jobs Infographic

Healthcare Jobs Infographic Infographic by

Using your mind and body to reach career goals


Although academia remains a primary route to achieving job satisfaction, the constraints of this type of career entry are not for all. But for those lucky enough to possess the enviable skill of physical fitness a variety of challenging, exciting and rewarding opportunities are starting to emerge.

The current climate

In recent years schools have worked hard to recognize the significance and importance of vocational training for youngsters. However, with recent reform refocusing itself on old-fashioned academic values, there are fears that many talented youngsters will lose their way. It is vital that anyone with the valued skill of physical fitness, whether at the start of their working life or considering a career change, is aware of the training options open to them and how to deal with any written work required.

Fitness Trainer

For those who are physically active and fit and keen to pass on their knowledge to others, becoming a fitness instructor might be ideal. The job covers a wide range of activities and can be easily focused to a particular skill   whether it is teaching swimming to youngsters, yoga to expectant mothers or keep-fit to the elderly it can be an ideal opportunity to achieve a work/life balance. Entrance into the profession is available through recognised Diplomas which combine theory and practice to leave trainers fully prepared for the challenges to come.

Close Protection Security

A role that would suit people able to work responsively and flexibly, close protection is one of the most elite aspects of the personal security industry. It primarily involves ensuring the safety of high profile individuals and VIPs. Of course there is risk involved, yet it is offset by the reward of an ever-changing work environment. A close protection course provides knowledge that encompasses surveillance, explosive devices, medical emergencies and much more. BTEC qualifications are available and they provide comprehensive training for this complex and demanding role.

Armed Forces

Although becoming a soldier can carry with it some risk, the job also provides a sense of community and purpose that is difficult to find elsewhere. Following a written application, successful candidates will be appointed a careers adviser to guide them through the medical assessments prior to Phase 1 training. This initial training covers basic military skills such as first aid, orienteering and tactics in addition to life skills of confidence and discipline. Although there is no Diploma or BTEC qualification attached, the army is dedicated to providing and improving literacy levels amongst its recruits.

Managing written work

It is always important to keep a keen eye on deadlines and avoid leaving anything until the last minute a tempting as it may be. Having a dedicated space which is designated for study and study only can really help to focus even the most easily distracted mind. Most importantly, this space needs to be free of anything disruptive from televisions to clutter to friends or family. So whether it's fitness instructor training or a close protection course, the right space at the right time should lead to the right frame of mind.

Jennifer has been a careers adviser for over fifteen years. She works with people of all ages, guiding them to the correct training and employment opportunities for them.

US lawmakers ready to unveil immigration deal

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators plans to unveil proposed legislation on Tuesday that would represent the most dramatic changes to the country's immigration system in two decades.

The senators already are defending the program that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million individuals in the country who came illegally or overstayed their visit.

"We're not awarding anybody anything. All we're doing is giving people the opportunity to eventually earn access to our new, improved and modernized legal immigration system," said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican and potential presidential candidate in 2016 who has been at work on the deal.

Immigration represents a rare issue on which President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats and opposition Republicans might actually reach agreement.

The Republicans were jolted into a major reassessment after losing badly in last year's elections and losing the Hispanic vote and have been looking for ways to reach beyond their largely aging white male image.

The measure would put millions who are in the U.S. illegally on a 13-year path to citizenship, while toughening border security requirements, mandating that all employers check the legal status of workers and allowing tens of thousands of new high- and low-skilled workers into the country with new visa programs.

The legislation is expected to include a new emphasis on merit-based immigration over family ties.

Rubio had been slow to fully embrace the proposal. But he promoted the pending legislation on Sunday talk shows, leaving little doubt he was going to work to win over skeptics.

"What we're working on is a starting point. It is not the take-it-or-leave-it offer. It is a starting point of reform," Rubio said.

But even before its release, the proposal has its critics. Republican lawmakers are mindful that the party's base still favors a tough stance on illegal immigration.

"I'm not convinced," said Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, which has pursued one of the strictest approaches to illegal immigration in recent years. "They have produced legislation ... that will give amnesty now, legalize everyone that's here effectively today and then there's a promise of enforcement in the future.''

Mike Lee, a Republican, said he could consider supporting the proposal only if the first priority were border security.Rubio insisted it is. "If you are undocumented here now, if you are illegally in the U.S., then you can't even apply for this until these plans are in place and they begin to implement them," Rubio said. "And then you're going to have to pay a fine. You're going to have to pay an application fee. You're going to have to pass a background check."

Other lawmakers helping to write the legislation acknowledged the political challenges of the issue. "A lot of my conservative colleagues have significant questions, and they're legitimate," said Sen. John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico.

"This is the start of a process ... I am guardedly optimistic that we will see finally the end of this long, long trek that a lot of us have been on for many years." Rubio pressed his case during interviews on ABC, CBS, Fox News, NBC and CNN. Sessions was on ABC. Lee was on NBC. McCain appeared on CNN.

US immigration bill to increase H1B visa, but may sound death knell for Indian firms

The sweeping US immigration bill, likely to be unveiled today, may propose a substantial increase in the much sought after H-1B visa, but the conditions imposed therein, if approved by the Congress, would prove to be a death knell for Indian-American companies.

The bill moved after months of closed-door meetings by a group of eight bipartisan lawmakers, known as the Gang of Eight, aimed at striking a balance between enforcement provisions sought by Republicans as well as Democrats, including making citizenship widely accessible to those illegally in America.

Given that India has a large pool of such IT professionals, analysts say any increase in the H-1B visas finally end up benefiting the Indian IT professionals, but unlike in the present scenario when they are hired mostly by Indian companies, it would benefit the US companies the most and prove to be a big disadvantage to companies like TCS, Wipro and Infosys.

According to Politico, the eight senators would increase the current number of H-1B visas from 65,000 to 110,000, which could be increased to 180,000 visas based on demand for high-skilled jobs.

Companies that get 30 per cent or more of their workforce from H-1B visa holders would have to pay new fees.

"Starting in fiscal 2014, companies with more than 75 per cent of their workforce made up of H-1B visa holders will be banned from bringing in any additional workers. In 2015, that number goes to 65 per cent, and to 50 per cent in 2016," Politico reported.

Notably, the US India Business Council (USIBC) in a letter to the Senators had opposed such a provision.

The eight Senators are Michael Bennet, Richard Durbin, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Robert Menendez, Marco Rubio and Chuck Schumer.

"Our greatest concern centres on proposals that would preclude access to visas or impose unworkable visa-related restrictions and fees on a company's ability to sponsor H-1B and L-1 visas based upon their business model or the composition of its local workforce," USIBC President Ron Somers wrote in a letter to the group of eight lawmakers.

Congressmen urged to raise H-1B quota for Indian IT workers

Observing that nearly 30 per cent of all companies started in the US in 2011 had immigrant founders, Indian IT professionals have appealed to Congressmen to not only consider increasing the H-1B quota but also quick and smooth green card for them.

They told the Congressmen that the immigrant-based businesses have generated more than USD 775 billion in revenue for American economy.

Over the past few days, a large number of Indian IT professionals from across the country under North American Association of Indian IT Professional (NAIIP), met several dozen lawmakers over including to have their voice heard and

incorporate their views in the comprehensive immigration reform.

Urging the Congress to increase H-1B visa quota, NAIIP demanded that revalidation of H-1B visa be allowed to be done within the US.

If the country specific visa system is lifted employers could bring in more technology experienced employees according to their needs from any country, it argued.

Noting that small US companies are not able to find experienced professionals with the requisite skills from the market, NAIIP argued 50:50 ratio will upset visa processing of foreign nationals.

Any increase in H-1B visa fee, NAIIP would hit small and medium businesses.

"If the visa fees are increased the small businesses have bear the burden and it will slow down their business as a whole," it said.

NAIIP also sought 60 day settlement period for laid off H-1B workers before they have been asked to leave the country. The current laid off period is zero days, as a result of which H1b employees are forced to leave the country on the same day of layoff.

"We need to retain qualified IT professionals. 60 days settlement period will help employers as well as employees to complete formalities with ease or find another employment," it said.

Immigration bill could affect thousands of immigrants in the US

Washington: Bipartisan immigration legislation emerging in the Senate could prevent hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the US illegally from ever becoming citizens, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the proposals.

The bill expected to be unveiled next week would bar anyone who arrived in the US after Dec. 31, 2011, from applying for legal status and ultimately citizenship, according to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposals had not been announced.

It also would require applicants to document that they were in America before Dec. 31, 2011, have a clean criminal record, and show enough employment or financial stability that they're likely to stay off welfare.

Those requirements could end up excluding hundreds of thousands of the 11 million immigrants in the US illegally from the path to citizenship envisioned by the bill, the aide said.

Although illegal immigration to the US has been dropping, many tens of thousands still arrive each year, so the cutoff date alone could exclude a large number of people. That may come as a disappointment to immigrant rights groups that had been hoping that anyone here as of the date of enactment of the bill could be able to become eligible for citizenship.

But Republicans in the immigration negotiating group had sought strict criteria on legal enforcement and border security as the price for their support for a path to citizenship, which is still opposed by some as amnesty.

The new details emerged as negotiators reached agreement on all the major elements of the sweeping legislation.

After months of arduous closed-door negotiations, the "Gang of Eight" senators, equally divided between the two parties, had no issues left to resolve in person, and no more negotiating sessions were planned. Remaining details were left to aides, who were at work completing drafts of the bill.

"All issues that rise to the member level have been dealt with," Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said in a statement. "All that is left is the drafting." Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said the bill probably would be introduced on Tuesday.

The landmark legislation would overhaul legal immigration programs, require all employers to verify the legal status of their workers, greatly boost border security and put the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the US illegally on a path to citizenship. A top second-term priority for President Barack Obama, it would enact the biggest changes to US immigration law in more than a quarter century.

Deals formed over the past day on a new farm-worker program and visas for high-tech workers, eliminating the final substantive disputes on the legislation.

Next will come the uncertain public phase as voters and other lawmakers get a look at the measure. Already, some on the right have made it clear their opposition will be fierce.

Once the legislation is released, it will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has scheduled a hearing for next Wednesday and will likely begin to amend and vote on the bill the week of May 6. From there, the bill would move to the Senate floor.
Both in committee and on the floor, the bill could change in unpredictable ways as senators try to amend it from the left and the right.

Even more uncertain, though, is the conservative-led House, where a bipartisan group is also crafting an immigration bill, though timing of its release is uncertain. Many conservatives in the House remain opposed to citizenship for immigrants who have been living in the US illegally.

The 10 Most-Common (and 10 Least-Common) Jobs in America Today

There are 4.3 million retail salespeople in the United States, equivalent to the state population of Kentucky. And there are 310 prosthodontists -- that is, dentists specializing in prosthetic teeth -- which is enough to fill, well, a medium-sized lecture hall.

Those are the most- and least-common occupations in the United States, according to a new survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here are the full top- (and bottom-) ten lists:

Three more interesting nuggets from the report.

(1) The most "urban" job in America -- that is, with the highest concentration in metro areas -- isn't technically a job in U.S. cities, but above U.S. cities. It's flight attendants.

(2) What's the most common government job? Depends on the level of government. At the federal level, it's postal service workers. In state governments, it's correctional officers and jailers. And at the local level, teachers aren't just the largest job category. At various levels of education, they're the five largest job categories.

(3) Shampooers are more likely to live in cities than software developers. Now you know. If you're interested in learning more about shampooers, this page is your new heaven.

You may read the full report at

US receives 50,000 packages of H-1B visa applications on first day

The US received nearly 50,000 packages of H-1B visa applications on the very first day, a media report has said, which is reflective of the sudden surge in demand of the country's most sought after work-visas for the IT professionals.

The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), officially, has not come out on the number of H-1B applications received by it since April 1 when it started accepting petitions for it for the fiscal 2014 beginning October 1, 2013.

According to an estimate provided by FCi Federal, Virginia-based government services and technology provider, which is supplying personnel to assist the USCIS in processing the H-1B petitions, on the first day it received some 50,000 packages, the Computer World reported. A package can contain one H-1B application to multiple applications, but based on the past experience, a package on an average contains 1.2 H-1B petitions, the media outlet reported.

The number of packages received fell sharply on the second day, Computer World said. According to Congressional approved mandate, USCIS can reward a maximum of 65,000 H-1B visas for the fiscal year 2014 beginning October 1, 2013.

In addition to the USCIS can also reward 20,000 H-1B visas for those having masters or higher degree from US academic institutions. This limit on H-1B visas has been in place for more than two decades now.

The USCIS received H-1B petitions at its two centres – the Vermont Service Center and the California Service Center - where its officials described business as usual. Last month, USCIS had said based on feedback from a number of stakeholders, it anticipates that it may receive more petitions than the H-1B cap between April 1, 2013 and April 5, 2013.

As such if USCIS receives more petitions than it can accept, it will use a lottery system to randomly select the number of petitions required to reach the numerical limit, the federal agency said. The lottery for the H-1B cap was last used in April 2008, when the cap was filled on the first day itself.

Last year in 2012, it took 73 days for the USCIS to fill in the cap, while in took 235 days to receive applications to fill the 65,000 H-1B numbers in 2011; 300 days in 2010, and 264 days in 2009. In 2008 and 2007 the caps were reached in the first few days.

Encouraged by progress on immigration reform: White House

Senators plan to unveil bill as early as next week but conservatives are wary of citizenship for undocumented migrants

The Obama administration said on Monday that it was encouraged by signs of progress towards a comprehensive package of immigration reforms that would extend a route to citizenship to the country's 11 million undocumented migrants.

As cross-party negotiations enter their crucial final stages ahead of the unveiling of an immigration bill in the US Senate as early as next week, the White House is pressing senior congressional leaders to forge ahead with a robust bill that would provide a clear pathway to citizenship. President Obama's spokesman said that "we are encouraged by the continuing signs of progress", though he refused to be drawn on the details of the package that are still being thrashed out.

The most politically charged aspect of the draft bill is likely to be the precise terms of a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million. One of Obama's core principles contained in his blueprint for immigration reform was that undocumented immigrants should be granted a real chance of becoming full US citizens.

But this is seen as a red rag to many Republicans, who interpret it as a form of amnesty that rewards illegal behaviour. Advocates of the reform, including the four Republican and four Democratic senators who make up the bipartisan – dubbed the "gang of eight" – who are framing the legislation, are all too aware that conservative anxieties have to be assuaged if the bill is to have any chance of achieving congressional approval.

That sensitivity helps explain the wobble over the weekend shown by Marco Rubio, the Tea Party-backed senator from Florida and a possible Republican hopeful in 2016. He took a markedly less upbeat position than his fellow members of the Senate group, stressing that the final terms of the bill had yet to be agreed and that it should not be rushed.

Rubio's ambiguous stance, carefully pitched to address the scepticism of many Republicans while keeping one foot in the reformist camp, was applauded by leading conservatives on Monday. Jeff Sessions, a senior member of the senate judiciary committee from Alabama, said Rubio had underlined that "never again can Congress pass a far-reaching proposal only for the American people to find out what's in it later. What we need, and must have, is a full and thorough national discussion over every component of this bill."

Carney said that White House staffers were engaged with the group of eight senators over drafting the legislation and denied that Obama was keeping in the background to avoid giving Republican opponents of the bill a target. But he refused to answer questions about how difficult the president was willing to make the pathway to citizenship in order to overcome conservative resistance to reform.

Details of the proposals that have been floated in the media include a possible minimum wait time for citizenship for any currently undocumented immigrant that could extend to as long as 13 years. Though individuals would be allowed to "come out of the shadows" relatively quickly and easily, by registering for a work permit, the prolonged delay in processing their claims for full citizenship, combined with possibly steep fines for the illegality of their previous status, could dissuade many from even embarking down the citizenship road.

Groups campaigning for a comprehensive deal that will extend to most if not all of the 11 million undocumented individuals are fearful that if that too many concessions are granted to the Republicans in these last few days of negotiations, then the resulting bill will fail to repair the current broken immigration system. Fred Tsao, policy director of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said that many people had already been in the US for many years.

"We hope that there will be a path to citizenship that will be welcoming for the vast majority of individuals who need it. If the gang of eight don't craft something that is accessible, then a substantial number of people won't be eligible and they'll continue to be vulnerable to family separation and exploitation, and is that what we really want in America today?"

Raid on to find free visa workers in Saudi

Dammam: Saudi government has launched a nationwide flash inspection effort to trace people who work in the Kingdom without sponsorship. The Deputy Labour Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani said that the foreigners who violated the labour laws would be summarily deported.

There are around 18 lakh registered companies in Saudi Arabia. The Labour ministry aims to conduct raids in all these companies. The Home Ministry of the kingdom has taken strict punitive measures against workers who enter Saudi with free visas which permits them entry but do not provide employment and accommodation.  Since the Labour Ministry is digitally linked to the Home Ministry and General Organisation for Social Insurance, any labour law violation can be easily identified.

The minister said that no company has been excluded from the punitive measures for violation of labour laws. “No one has been given any special protection,” he added. Spokesperson of Labour Ministry, Hattab Al Enizi informed that 1000 more people would be appointed for the inspection process and the government would make sure that the law is implemented in letter and spirit. The responsibility to trace violators in private firms has been entrusted with the Labour Ministry. “The cases to be investigated and taken actions against violators will be handed over to the Home Ministry,” the minister said.

A large segment of foreigners, including Malayalees, are getting ready to return home as the rules have been tightened. According to a survey report, around 25 lakhs of immigrants have come on free visa to Saudi. Out of these two lakh workers are Malayalees.

With the extradition of those who violated the labour laws, the Saudi government aims to augment the employment opportunities for educated Saudi citizens. The authorities hope that the act would reduce crimes in the kingdom.

Most employed Filipinos work longer than required

Filipino workers continue to clock in more than the usual 40 hours per week, on the average, even as the number of jobholders surged by about 360,000, according to the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES).

Based on the National Statistics Office’s labor force survey as of October 2012, the average work week was 41.9 hours, placing it above 40 hours for the second consecutive quarter.

Of the 37.7 million employed Filipinos then, 24.2 million or about two-thirds worked beyond the usual 40-hour work week. Back then, 93.2 percent of those actively seeking work did have jobs.

Within this group, 14.5 million or two out of every three people with jobs clocked between 40 and 48 hours. Another 8.8 million or about a quarter of those employed worked 49 hours or more.

The number of workers soldiering on beyond 40 hours a week as of October was less than the 24.6 million counted three months before, but is more than the 23.8 million counted a year before.

In July 2012 and October 2011, jobholders numbered 37.6 million and 38.6 million, respectively. Back then, the employment rate was 92.9 percent and 93.6 percent, respectively.

In a report issued earlier, the BLES said the number of people from poor households joined the ranks of the employed, but this did not put a dent on poverty in the country.

BLES data showed that the number of the working poor rose by 18 percent to 7.9 million as of 2009 from 6.7 million in 2003.

The BLES report was based on the latest available data from the National Statistics Office’s Family Income and Expenditures Survey or FIES.