S'pore makes it tougher to hire skilled foreigners
SINGAPORE: Singapore will require many companies operating in the city-state to consider Singaporeans for skilled job vacancies before turning to candidates from abroad, bowing to public pressure over a surge in foreigners over the past decade.
"The measures might mean more hassle and paperwork for companies, and it might even lower the long-term economic growth rate," said Michael Wan, an economist with Credit Suisse, here.
"But I don't think this will necessarily lower Singapore's attractiveness to companies because there are other factors that they take into account - such as tax incentives, political stability and access to the Asean region."
Starting next August, firms with more than 25 employees must advertise a vacancy for professional or managerial jobs paying less than S$12,000 (RM30,606) a month on a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency for at least 14 days, the Ministry of Manpower said.
Only after that period can the company apply for an employment pass to bring in a foreign national.
Singapore will also raise the qualifying salaries for employment pass holders to at least S$3,300 a month, up from the current S$3,000, starting in January, reducing the competition for entry-level jobs that typically require tertiary education.
Singapore is one of the world's most open economies. Foreigners account for about 40 per cent of the island's 5.3 million population and take up many senior and mid-level positions as well as most of the low-paying jobs that locals shun.
The Association of Banks in Singapore, which represents financial institutions operating in the city-state, said banks will need to adjust their hiring processes to comply with the new rules.
Singapore, Asia's main centre for private banking as well as commodities trading, has seen a sharp increase in foreigners over the past decade.
There have been complaints about foreign managers who prefer to hire their fellow countrymen rather than Singaporeans. Reuters