1 Million Work into Retirement in UK, Numbers Rise by 100,000

Thought by many to be due to the financial squeeze on the nation’s over-65s, almost one million pension-aged Britons are still working into their retirement. Over just the past two years, the figure has increased by almost 100,000.

The numbers come from the Office for National Statistics’ Labour Market Survey. It stated that between January and March of this year, almost one million, 980,000, retired people held some sort of employment. Figures from two years earlier show that during the first three months of 2011, only 883,000 retired people were in employment.

Some Preparation Required
Poor investment returns on savings, as well as low annuity rates may push many workers to delay retirement, or to keep working part time after it. Seeking an annuity quote is one way of preparing for the reality of retirement, as many have no idea of what income range their pension pot will provide when they retire. Getting pension projections or consulting an independent financial adviser before retirement, with ample time to change savings strategies, could keep people from ‘retiring blind’ into a disappointing financial situation.
According to the Daily Mail, Steve Lowe of Just Retirement has said the latest figures highlight the importance of starting to save for retirement early. Adequate retirement savings can make working past 65 a choice, rather than a necessity, he pointed out.

Lowe said that as the number of people working past the state pension age “creeps towards one million, it is vital to encourage all those approaching retirement age to properly plan for stopping work so they can make the most of their precious pension savings and other assets.”

Further, the ONS figures show that about 89,000 fewer people retired before the age of 65 this year compared to last. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) say this figure is due to fewer women being able to claim their state pension earlier than 65, as their state pension age is gradually rising to gain parity with the state pension age for men.

Forgotten Pension Credit
The DWP also claimed that was the reason why about 147,000 fewer people claimed pension credits this year compared to last, an option available to those with low incomes in retirement to top it up to about £142 per week.

However, experts like Mr Lowe show concern with this number, explaining that along with the council tax credit, pension credit is the benefit that is most frequently left unclaimed by eligible pensioners.
He points to their research, which shows that more than 20 percent of pensioners are missing out on benefits totaling £655 per year, on average.

Unemployment in Scotland falls by 7000 to 199,000, figures reveal

The number of jobless in Scotland has fallen by 7000 to stand at 199,000 between January and March.

The figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that headline employment rose by 54,000 in the three month period to March 2013, which is the largest quarterly rise in employment in Scotland since the start of the series in 1992.

Scotland’s headline employment rate, which refers to the population aged 16 to 64, rose to 71.8%, is the largest increase in employment rate of any nation or region in the United Kingdom. The rate for the UK as a whole is 71.4%.

Welcoming the news First Minister Alex Salmond said: "The figures show the largest rise in employment on record with an increase of 54,000 people in employment. Scotland also showed the largest quarterly rise in employment rate of all 12 UK countries and regions.

"Scotland is out-performing the UK with a higher employment rate and lower unemployment rate. And our youth employment rate is continuing to make encouraging progress with more young people in work and youth unemployment falling again.

"The Scottish Government, our agencies and employers across Scotland have set a clear course for recovery. We are working hard to get people back into work and to create opportunities for our young people.

UK Employment Minister Mark Hoban responds to the latest Labour Market Statistics

DWP Employment Minister Mark Hoban responds to the latest Labour Market Statistics, released today by the Office for National Statistics May 2013. Learn more about the statistics. 

Key Senate panel passes immigration reform bill, offers path to US citizenship for 260k Indians

The landmark immigration bill, which offers a path to citizenship for more than 11 million - including over 260,000 Indians - undocumented immigrants and increasing H-1B visas today passed its first legislative test.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on the fifth day of its deliberations that included 300 amendments to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill - Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act - passed it by 13-5 votes.

The bill passed through the key Senate committee only after lawmakers reached a deal on H-1B visa expansion plan. The bill (No 744) now goes to the Senate for approval, which is expected to witness another round of negotiations and tough bargaining. It needs 60 votes to pass the 100-seat Senate.

Welcoming the passage of the legislation, US President Barack Obama said that it is largely consistent with the principles of commonsense reform he has proposed and meets the challenge of fixing the broken immigration system.

Obama urged the full Senate to bring this bipartisan bill to the floor at earliest possible opportunity.

He remained hopeful that the amendment process will lead to further improvements.

US witnessed 1199 mass layoff actions in April involving 116849 workers

Employers took 1,199 mass layoff actions in April involving 116,849 workers as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer. Mass layoff events decreased by 138 from March, and the number of associated initial claims decreased by 11,090. In April, 293 mass layoff events occurred in the manufacturing sector resulting in 29,744 initial claims. Monthly mass layoff events are identified using administrative data sources without regard to layoff duration.

The national unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in April, essentially unchanged from the prior month and down from 8.1 percent a year earlier. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 165,000 over the month, and increased by 2,077,000 over the year.

The number of mass layoff events in April was 1,174, resulting in 119,196 initial claims for unemployment insurance. Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff events for April decreased by 61 to 294, and associated average weekly initial claims decreased by 6,791 to 29,799. Fourteen of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in transportation and warehousing. School and employee bus transportation was the six-digit industry with the largest number of private nonfarm initial claims due to mass layoffs in April.

Read full report at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/mmls.pdf

Figures released on Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers

More than 100,000 Bulgarian and Romanian nationals are working in the UK, official employment figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has for the first time published a breakdown of Romanians and Bulgarians in employment, an annual rise of nearly 15%.

Bulgarians and Romanians will this year gain the same rights to work in the UK as other EU citizens.

This has sparked concerns about a rise in migration from the two countries.

In response to the end of the temporary work restrictions, the UK government is considering limiting migrants access to benefits, healthcare and housing.

The ONS published its regular employment statistics with a new breakdown of data showing where foreign workers were from - with those originating in recent European Union (EU) accession countries such as Poland in a separate category to more established nations such as France and Spain.

It also separated out workers from Romanian and Bulgarians in response to "customer demand".

The figures showed the number of migrants from the two countries already working in the UK had risen from 90,000 in the first three months of 2012 to 103,000 in the first three months of 2013.

A British Labour Force survey has previously calculated that there are currently 26,000 Bulgarians and 80,000 Romanians living in the UK.

Bulgarians and Romanians have had the right to visa-free travel to the UK since 2007, when their countries joined the EU, but there have been temporary restrictions on the kind of jobs they could take.

Restrictions being eased

These restrictions will be dropped at the end of the year in accordance with EU rules.

The UK government has declined to give estimates of how many migrants it expects but Migration Watch, which campaigns for tighter controls of immigration, has said it could be anywhere between 30,000 and 70,000.

Diplomats from Bulgaria and Romania have repeatedly stressed they are not expecting a "wave" of migration from their countries.

Heather Rolfe, principal research fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said the figures were broadly in line with the institute's previous estimates and they showed that EU migrants travel in order to find work.

She told the BBC: "Migrants want to improve their lives.

"The fact they (Romanians and Bulgarians) have come here given all the restrictions and found work is really a positive for the UK.

"It shows people who are coming really want to contribute to the economy and are contributing to the economy."

In battle for US visas, countries put best foot forward

The government of South Korea hired a former CIA analyst, two White House veterans and a team of ex-congressional staff members to help secure a few paragraphs in the giant immigration Bill.

The government of Ireland, during St Patrick's Day festivities, appealed directly to President Barack Obama for special treatment. And the government of Poland squeezed Vice-President Joe Biden for its own favour, a pitch repeated at an embassy party last week featuring pirogi and three types of Polish ham.

Those countries, and others, succeeded in winning provisions in the fine print of the 867-page immigration Bill now before Congress that gives their citizens benefits not extended to most other foreigners.

Ireland and South Korea extracted measures that set aside for their citizens a fixed number of the highly sought special visas for guest workers seeking to come to the US. Poland got language that would allow it to join the list of nations whose citizens can travel to the US as tourists without visas. And Canadians successfully pushed for a change that would permit its citizens who are 55 and older to stay in the US without visas for as much as 240 days each year, up from the current 182.

South Korea alone has four lobbying firms in the campaign, paying them collectively at a rate that would total $1.7 million this year. Other nations generally relied on their own ambassadors to make the push.

The deals are already drawing some criticism, particularly from those who worry that some of the provisions could create an influx of foreigners large enough to undermine American workers. "This could turn into a stealth immigration policy," said Ronil Hira, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology who studies the immigration system.

Indeed, lawmakers are already pushing to grant special benefits to others, including Tibet, Hong Kong and parts of Africa.

UK launches 'super-priority' visas for Indians

Britain has launched a new "super priority" same-day visa service for urgent travellers from India, the first-of-of-its-kind service to be launched by the UK anywhere in the world.

The Super Priority Visa Service had been announced by British Prime Minister David Cameron during his visit to the country in February this year.

The first-of-of-its-kind service to be launched anywhere in the world by the UK Home Office is open for appointment bookings in India from today.

"I am delighted to see the Super Priority Visa service being launched in India before any other country," said Sir James Bevan, the British High Commissioner to India.

"For the first time, Indian visitors will now have the option of a same-day visa to the UK. This underlines our strong commitment to make an already excellent visa service even better. We expect this new service to be particularly useful for business," he said, adding that it will cater to those who need to travel on very short notice.

"Opportunities arise at short notice. We want Indian entrepreneurs and businessmen to be able to seize these. The UK and India are already on course to double bilateral trade by 2015. The new Super Priority Visa will help make sure that we hit this target," he added.

The Super Priority Visa is an optional service, which incurs an additional fee of 600 pounds besides the standard fee for the type of visa being applied for.

Applicants are required to complete an online form and submit their applications, by appointment, before 9:30 am. If an application is successful, the visa will be ready for collection by 5.30 pm the same day in New Delhi or by 6.30 pm the same day in Mumbai.

It complements the UK's existing Fast Track Service and the recently announced online payment option.

The new service is available to customers applying for a six-month or two-year multiple entry visit visa (excluding student visitors) who have previously travelled to the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or a Schengen country within the last five years.

It is also available to visa applicants sponsored by companies who are members of the UK's Business Express Programme.

"We are committed to making the UK an attractive place to visit and a destination for the brightest and best to work and do business. That's why we've launched this new service, to provide our valued customers from India with the choices to fit their particular circumstances and needs," immigration minister Mark Harper said.

"The UK and India have always had close commercial ties and I am determined to ensure that we continue to build stronger links in the future," Harper said.

India is the UK's biggest visa operation in the world, processing around 400,000 applications each year and the government claims that the vast majority of applications over 97 per cent of UK business visit visas and 86 per cent of visit visas are approved.

The latest service does not replace the process for expediting visas on compassionate grounds.

How to find jobs online

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It often lists articles on how to write resumes and cover letters, career related news, immigration and visa updates, etc.

There's helpful advice on how to negotiate compensation, get good references, and how to research employment related benefits and legal issues, like what to do if you're fired or laid-off.

You'll also find tips and advice to ensure that you are using all the top Internet job search resources available to find job listings online that are a good fit for your background, experience, and where you want to work.

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Canada recovers some of March’s big job loss in April

THE TORONTO SUN: The Canadian economy in April recovered 12,500 of the 54,500 jobs estimated to have been lost in March, but the unemployment rate stayed at 7.2%, Statistics Canada reported on Friday.

The figures were in line with the median forecast, in a Reuters survey of economists, of 15,000 new jobs and a 7.2% jobless rate. The unemployment rate had risen to that level in March from 7.0% in February.

The data is fairly volatile as March's big job loss followed a gain of 50,700 positions in February. The employment statistics are based on a sample survey of representative households and are considered accurate only to within plus or minus 57,400, 19 times out of 20.

"It was a very choppy report, but basically in line with consensus. Nothing that really stands out to really drive policy one way or another," TD Securities chief Canada macro strategist David Tulk told Reuters.

"The initial knee-jerk move lower in the Canadian dollar ... -- that will just unwind itself and we shouldn't see any lasting implications from this report."

The Canadian dollar quickly fell to $1.0125, or 98.77 U.S. cents, well off its Thursday North American session close at $1.0075, or 99.26 U.S. cents, and its lowest level since May 3.

While thirty-six thousand full-time jobs were added during the month a gain of 34,200 employees in the public sector was offset by a private sector loss of 20,000.

The manufacturing sector added the highest number of jobs since May 2012, winning back an estimated 20,600 of the 24,200 jobs lost in March, but it was still 51,800 below a year earlier

Among the provinces, the unemployment rate ranged from lows in those enjoying a resource boom, including 4.0% in Saskatchewan and 4.4% in Alberta, to 12.4% in Newfoundland and Labrador, which has traditionally had one of the country's highest jobless rates.

US immigration bill would help Social Security's finances

The Indian Express: A Senate bill to overhaul US immigration laws would help ease financial strains on the Social Security retirement program, government analysts said on Wednesday in a report that marked the latest salvo in a debate over the legislation's impact.

In a letter to Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is one of the authors of the bill, analysts at the Social Security Administration said the overall effect of the bill on the Social Security's finances "will be positive."

The analysis said the bill would create a net 3.22 million jobs over the next decade and boost U.S. gross domestic product by 1.63 percentage points over that period.

The letter came days after a hotly debated report from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said the pathway to citizenship in the bill for undocumented immigrants could cost taxpayers trillions of dollars.

The sweeping immigration bill would boost funding for border security, revamp visa programs to allow for more high- and low-skilled workers and chart a 13-year path to citizenship for many of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.

The Heritage Foundation study, which was criticized by liberal supporters of immigration reform as well as some conservatives, said that over a lifetime, immigrants would end up costing the government because they would take in more in benefits than they would pay in taxes.

The think tank put the cost of the change in the law at $6.3 trillion over 50 years.

Critics of the study said it did not take into account how immigration reform could increase economic growth by making labor markets more efficient and companies more competitive.

Advocates for immigration reform contend it would help ease pressure on government programs such as Social Security because it would result in a greater number of younger workers to support aging baby boomers, who are beginning to retire in large numbers.

The analysis from the Social Security actuaries could lend support to that argument.

It comes as the Senate Judiciary Committee is preparing this week to consider a raft of amendments to the bill.

The latest report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, issued in April 2012, estimated that the program's accumulated "trust funds" would be exhausted by 2033, meaning policymakers might need to raise taxes or cut benefits or both to deal with the shortfall.

The Senate bill, unveiled last month by Rubio and other members of the bipartisan Gang of Eight, would grant temporary legal status to many of the 11 million illegal immigrants provided they paid back taxes and fines. They would be eligible for green cards, conferring permanent residency status, within 10 years and citizenship in a further three.

The Social Security office said in its letter that it estimated about 8 million immigrants would apply for temporary legal status. "Many of these individuals already work in the country in the underground economy, not paying taxes, and will begin paying taxes" once they apply for temporary status, the letter said.

Analyzing the impact of visa programs for high- and low-skilled foreign workers, the Social Security actuaries said those provisions would also increase tax collections.

"We estimate a significant increase in both the population and the number of workers paying taxes in the United States as a result of these changes in legal immigration limits," the Social Security office said.


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Economy: US jobs figures contrast with Europe

IMPROVEMENTS in the US jobs market have highlighted a sharp contrast in economic conditions on either side of the Atlantic.

While official figures from the US labour department showed job creation was stronger than expected in April, the European Commission warned that eurozone unemployment will remain at record levels as the recession across the 17-member bloc persists.

Marcus Bullus, trading director at MB Capital, said: “Given this week’s surprise interest rate cut by the European Central Bank [ECB], it reinforces how 
the US is moving forward and gaining momentum, while the eurozone remains stuck in first gear.”

The ECB cut its main rate by 0.25 percentage points to a record low of 0.5 per cent on Thursday, but economists described the cut as a symbolic gesture that was unlikely to stimulate lending to small firms.

US employers added 165,000 jobs in April, ahead of the expected figure of about 148,000, boosted by a rebound in retail employment. Revisions to hiring statistics for the previous two months helped reduce the unemployment rate from 7.6 per cent to a four-year low of 7.5 per cent.

But Alpari market analyst Craig Erlam said: “It’s important to point out that, while this is pretty much as good a result as we could have hoped for, the number of jobs added in March and April still falls well below what is required if we’re going to see a sustainable recovery in the US. So we shouldn’t get too carried away at this stage.”

The US unemployment rate has fallen 0.4 percentage points since the start of the year and the Federal Reserve has said it plans to keep short-term interest rates at record lows at least until it falls to 6.5 per cent.

In comparison, the jobless rate across the eurozone stood at 12.1 per cent in March and Olli Rehn, the EC’s vice-president for economic and monetary affairs, said yesterday that the pace of economic recovery would be too slow to reduce the tally this year.

He said: “In view of the protracted recession, we must do whatever it takes to overcome the unemployment crisis.”

Economic output across the eurozone countries is forecast to shrink by 0.4 per cent this year, better than the 0.6 per cent decline recorded for 2012 but worse than the 0.3 per cent fall the EC forecast in February.

In its latest economic forecast, the EC said the sovereign debt crisis in southern Europe will continue to weigh on domestic demand this year, although it expects eurozone GDP to grow by 1.2 per cent next year. For the wider European Union, growth of 1.4 per cent is forecast in 2014.

Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, is expected to see its GDP growth dip from 0.7 per cent in 2102 to 0.4 per cent this year as demand from other struggling countries falls. France, which registered no growth last year, is predicted to suffer a 0.1 per cent contraction.

The report said: “As domestic demand is still constrained by a number of impediments that are typical of the aftermath of deep financial crises, external demand is set to be the main growth driver this year.

“The headwinds on private consumption and investment are expected to abate gradually, making way for a modest domestically sustained recovery next year.”

Pakistani and Bangladeshi women entering the world of work increases - Why?

See this interesting BBC News video and find why Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are now joining the UK labour market in increasing numbers.

Traditionally, employment rates for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in the UK have been much lower than those of white or other ethnic-minority women.

Many have faced language and cultural barriers, with women often being required to stay at home to cook and bring up children.

But according to figures from the Office of National Statistics, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are now joining the UK labour market in increasing numbers. View the full story here.

US needs a comprehensive immigration reform: White House

The US needs a comprehensive reform system functional both for dealing with legal and illegal immigration in the country, the White House has said.

It refused to side with lawmakers who are seeking to put the ongoing reform on hold in the wake of the Boston marathon bombings.

"We need an effective comprehensive immigration system that is functional both for dealing with legal immigration, as well as dealing with the 11 million illegal immigrants who are in this country," the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said at his news conference yesterday.

"We believe that we need to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform for a whole host of reasons and the benefits that reform will provide to our country, to our economy, to our security," he said.

He said when asked about the questions being raised by some lawmakers on the need of an immigration reform in the aftermath of the Boston bombings in which two immigrant brothers from Chechnya were allegedly involved in the terrorist attack that killed three people and injured about 200.

"We agree with those coauthors of the legislation in the Senate who have made the point in recent days that enhancing our security is one of the reasons why we should press forward with comprehensive immigration reform," he said.

When asked about the Boston bombing suspects, Carney said the fact is that comprehensive immigration reform, as anybody who has looked into it and can attest, would enhance US security.