Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
Reported by Radhika Morally
China’s new ‘employment first’ policies are to create millions of jobs
China’s urban-registered unemployment figures fell to a promising 3.9% last year, and has remained generally stable since, despite both a decrease in economic growth and the implementation of the government’s plans to cut back industrial capacity.
However, concerns have been raised by several analysts, who claim that the official data is unrepresentative of actual employment conditions. The fact that it only measures employment in urban areas skews the data as millions of migrant workers, who are essential to the foundation of China’s workforce, are excluded.
Meng Wei, of the National and Development Reform Commission (NDRC), has said that China needs to create jobs for the 9.7 million registered as unemployed, along with the 8.2 million new college graduates and those workers affected by the recent industry cuts.
The efforts to boost job creation and promote entrepreneurship is to be done in a variety of ways, one of which is the ‘employment first’ strategy. A combination of this and ‘more proactive employment policies’ is said by Meng Wei to be the best way in which to sustain China’s stable growth policy.
Meng has also revealed that authorities are to rely on the ‘new growth engines’ of technology and services to support job creation, which involves creating a policy environment that supports the digital economy. This will have a particular focus upon the big data, artificial intelligence and industrial internet sectors, and will be complemented by an improvement to policies which support the growth of private firms.
Reported by Sara Saquib
Trump issues proposal in Senate with aim of seriously reducing the number of legal immigrants by at least half
After a government shutdown caused by the disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on the bill, a $400bn funding bill was finally passed on Friday morning, ending the shutdown. This bill was initially unpopular with the democrat party because of the cuts to supporting legal migrants. It also caused outrage among liberals such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that this new bill will do nothing to support “Dreamers”, undocumented immigrants that were brought to America as children.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called out the House Speaker, Paul Ryan for not being committed enough to have a vote to fight for the rights of those who came to America with the dream that they could lead a better life.
She voted against this bill primarily because there is no guaranteed protection for these “dreamers”. Despite the bill now having been passed, Pelosi states that the fight in the government to protect the status of these immigrants is not over. Although she called the spending bill “good” she stated she cannot vote for it because it does to protect the undocumented immigrants.
This bill has had a domino effect by infuriating democrats and also sparking anger amongst immigrant groups. The youth led immigrant group ‘United We Dream’ condemned the actions of the democrats who voted in favour of the bill on Friday. Unless an immigration bill is passed, this could mean that a large number of people will be deported by the 5th of March of this year. Although Trump’s immigration policy has not been as extreme he envisioned, this bill marks the end of the 5 year policy implemented by Obama where protection was given to these immigrants.
- Intellectual Property
Reported by Sarah Mullane
UK nears formal ratification of UPC
The Intellectual Property Office has released a statement today confirming that the Pricy Council has approved an order on the ‘privileges and immunities for the UPC’ (the Unified Patent Court).
The UPC is set to serve as common court for the Contracting Member States of the European Union, and thus will form part of their judicial system. This court will serve to hear exclusive matters in respect of European patent matters and all rulings will have effect in the territory of all Member States who have ratified the UPC agreement at the time. However, the UPC will not have the power to rule on any matters of national patents. Once it is up and running, disputes will be heard in courts all across the EU, including one based in London.
Following the decision of the Privy Council, the order must now be moved on and approved by the Houses of Parliament and, subsequently, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. According to prominent law firm ‘Bristows’, it is believed that the order will be passed on Thursday 15th February.
Once the UK successfully ratifies this order, the UPC can be used as a means to enforce European patents across all contracting member states, rather than just a few countries, as is currently the case. EU legislators believe that this will reduce the current cost and difficulty in obtaining patent protection within Europe.
Reported by Anna Flaherty
Fully online divorce applications now being tested across England and Wales
Last year, users were only offered prompts and guidance with their applications in the original pilot for online divorce. This month, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) extended the service to make the procedure fully digital. This concerns the submission of forms and all other relevant documentation, as well as payment of a fee.
As a result, over 130 online applications for divorce have been made within the first week of the launch of fully digital divorce. A spokesperson said that “the online system has drastically cut the number of applications being returned because of errors – showing a 90% improvement from paper forms”.
Moving forward, the next step will be to allow legal representatives to use the system and facilitate an even more user-friendly efficient system.
It should be noted that these developments concern the administrative process alone. Digitisation of divorce has not extended to issues concerning the consequences of the divorce, such as ancillary relief and child arrangements.
Read the HM Courts and Tribunals Service’s press release here.