Recruiters wrestle with US visa demands for social media information

Recruiters are wrestling with new legislation requiring applicants for US visas to submit their social media details.

The BBC reports the new rules from the State Department mean people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.

While certain diplomatic and official visa applicants are exempt from the rules, people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over this information.

UK-based recruiters with operations in the US are already alive to the new rules.

David Taylor, managing director at First Point Group, told Recruiter: “It is much less often that we use visa-requiring candidates for our US operations – since the H1B rules changed a few years ago it is a much more North American candidate-based focus, or those candidates that already have existing US visas in place. So, I don’t really think it will have that much impact on our business.”

Meanwhile Jack Marsh, MD at Source Group International, admitted the rules would affect applicants they place.

“Our lawyers are taking the measures needed to ensure compliance. As a business we do our best to ensure all hires within the group are background checked and due diligence is done to ensure we get the best people.”

Zoe Morris, president at Frank Recruitment Group, told Recruiter the agency was yet see the practical impact that the new law but added: “Anything that makes it more difficult to work abroad will surely see a negative effect on the sector and the ability of organisations to land the talent they need.

“When we speak to candidates, the US is always high on people’s lists when they’re looking at relocation options. It’s too soon to say if we’ll see any real drop in that interest, but at a time when we’re more wary than ever about how secure our personal data is, then it wouldn’t surprise me if handing over more of that info ends up putting people off.

“The one question we’ve tried to find an answer to is how effective this will actually be. If it’s going to provide a genuine extra layer of security to the country, then we have to support it. However, as there appears to be little evidence that such monitoring is effective, at the moment it looks to be an unnecessary exercise that can only have a negative effect on quality migration to the US.”

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