Singapore – No Change to Foreign Recruitment Policy

Posted by Anton Murray Consulting on 9 Jun, 2015

About a month into his new role, Singapore’s Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say has refused requests from businesses to reconsider the government’s foreign manpower policy, reports

Mr Lim made it clear that the government will not waver on its position, and companies ought to stop clinging on to the hope that there would be a U-turn.

“I keep explaining (to businesses) that if they keep hoping that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) can revisit our policies on foreign workers … to give higher quota — that’s not possible. We’ve reached the point of no return. Please don’t keep asking me to relax our foreign worker policy. That’s not part of the outcome.”

Giving a group interview yesterday, Mr Lim, who was appointed as Manpower Minister at the start of May, outlined his four priorities:

  • Becoming more manpower lean,
  • Building a strong Singaporean core,
  • Ensuring the foreign workforce is of good quality and
  • Maintaining Singapore’s competitiveness.

The Fair Consideration Framework and national jobs bank will also be reviewed, he said, without elaborating. The framework requires businesses employing more than 25 people to post job vacancies domestically for at least 14 days before applying for an Employment Pass to hire a foreign worker.

Mr Lim stressed that quality foreign labour will take precedence over quantity. Citing the example of multinational corporations intending to base their operations in Singapore, he said that these firms face the challenge of finding enough expertise and experience among the local workforce.

“So therefore, they’re asking (if they can) bring this expertise and experience not available in Singapore here. My answer is yes — provided there’s a commitment to localise expertise over time. In other words, transfer the know-how,” he said.

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