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U.S. may require visitors’ mobile phone number, social media passwords

U.S. may require visitors’ mobile phone number, social media passwords

Posted April. 06, 2017 07:21,   

Updated April. 06, 2017 07:30


The United States will likely make its entry and employment visa review process more stringent.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is drawing up measures to implement President Donald Trump’s election promise of “extreme vetting.” The measures include requiring foreigners wanting to visit the U.S. to hand over contacts on their mobile phones and social media passwords.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told a House hearing in February, “We may want to get on their social media, with passwords. It's very hard to truly vet these people in these countries, the seven countries. But if they come in, we want to say, what websites do they visit, and give us your passwords. So we can see what they do on the internet.” What he said is becoming real.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the toughened procedures would also be expanded to include foreigners trying to enter the U.S. from allies such as Britain, Germany, France, Japan and Australia. The review procedures would be applied to all of the 38 countries participating in the so-called Visa Waiver program.

The tightened vetting is also affecting the market for skilled-worker visas, known as H-1B visas, in the U.S. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency under the Department of Homeland Security, also said Tuesday that it would conduct a large-scale scrutiny of U.S. companies showing high ratios of foreign workers holding the H-1B visa to root out frauds and abuses.

The New York Times reported that H-1B visa applications were pouring in by truckload to a visa processing center in California near Silicon Valley before the door gets closed to skilled foreign workers. The H-1B visas are issued to 85,000 people annually via lottery. Last year saw 236,000 applications. The newspaper reported that the competition rate will be much higher this year.

Hyong-gwon Pu bookum90@donga.com