The Monocle Minute

In association with A. Lange & Söhne

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 20 March 2017

Immigration

Image: PA Images

Waiting in the wings

Canada capitalises on Trump’s visa plan, which could stymie the US’s search for technology talent.

Donald Trump’s proposed immigration reform is justifiably giving the US’s technology sector the jitters. This is particularly true of the administration’s vow to limit the number of H-1B visas, which allow skilled foreign workers to live and work in the US. The visa has long been championed by US technology companies as giving them the freedom to attract the world’s best talent. Amid the uncertainty, the Canadian government is speeding up a move to charm those same workers to its shores in the hope of bolstering the country’s blossoming technology hubs in Vancouver, Montréal and Waterloo, near Toronto. At a recent technology summit in British Columbia, Canada’s minister for innovation Navdeep Bains announced that its new Global Talent Stream initiative would fast-track visa applications from overseas workers and reduce processing times from several months to up to two weeks. It is scheduled to launch in June and should be good news for the technology sectors looking to grow their businesses but concerned about their ability to do so in Trump’s America.

Politics

Image: Getty Images

Bloc party

EU finance ministers give in to US protectionist policies and face problems closer to home.

It’s been a busy few days for many of the world’s top number crunchers. Following the summit of G20 finance ministers in Baden-Baden over the weekend, the EU contingent will be in Brussels today discussing matters that affect the bloc’s economy. The meeting in the German spa town saw pointed rebukes directed at US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, chiding the US for its vows of protectionism yet ended with financial leaders dropping the pledge to keep global trade open and free, thereby breaking a decade-long tradition. At their so-called Eurogroup meeting today, the ministers will have to face their own problems, from creaking Italian banks to another crisis bubbling in Greece. Also spare a thought for Jeroen Dijsselbloem; with his Labour Party decimated at the polls last week, the Dutch politician is likely to lose his post as finance minister – and so have to quit as Eurogroup president.

Economics

Image: Getty Images

Growth spurt

Stockholm’s start-up scene is driving the city’s growth. How does the capital plan to keep up?

Stockholm is growing faster than the rest of Europe, with housing and infrastructure investments expected to rise to €95bn through 2030. The Swedish capital hasn’t seen this many housing developments take shape since the late 1800s, when its population doubled in less than 40 years and most of its waterside landmarks were built. Now Sweden’s capital is facing another population spurt, largely due to its thriving start-up scene – it’s not for nothing that the city has become known as the “unicorn factory”. In the past 10 years the city of 800,000 people has produced more billion-dollar technology companies than any other city in Europe. To keep up with its growth Stockholm is building 340,000 new homes for €53bn, extending terminals at Arlanda Airport and expanding the subway system – to name just a few of the projects the city has lined up to remain on top.

Affairs

Image: Alamy

Heavy metal

Why it’s all change for change in Singapore.

Singapore loves rules. From littering to eating on public transport, you can bet that the city-state has a well-enforced rule for it. Now officials are mulling a new law that would limit the number of coins used in a single transaction to S$18.50 (€12.29). Why S$18.50? Because the law would specifically ban using more than 10 coins per denomination for each transaction; so if you were to use 10 coins in all the different denominations it would add up to that amount. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is holding a public consultation on the proposed law, which it says would prevent those receiving payment from being inconvenienced (and weighed down) by copious coins. Though many nations do have coinage laws on their books – the UK, for example, only counts pennies as legal tender up to the value of 20p – few are actually enforced. It’s hard to imagine Singapore being similarly lax.

From Monocle 24

Pitti Taste

The Menu

A round-up of the highlights from this year’s edition of the famous Italian food fair in Florence.

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