Manpower Minister Tan See Leng addressed questions on Monday (Oct 3) that had been posed in Parliament about the changes to the country’s foreign manpower policies, which he gave a Ministerial Statement about in September.
He underlined the “very careful, as well as… very delicate, balance” needed when it comes to foreign workforce policies.
And while the country has been attractive to businesses, which meant good jobs and careers for Singaporeans, if however, there is no access to the complementary foreign manpower that these firms need, they may end up leaving the country.
The Manpower Minister characterised the situation as “not a zero-sum game.”
Being open and connected, he added, and bringing in complementary global talent, has served to increase the “overall pie” for the country and add good job opportunities for Singaporeans.
Proof of this is the sustained growth in wages locals have experienced, as well as improved job quality and better pay for lower-wage workers.
Moreover, he added that more locals are now in the Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians (PMET) positions, with the proportion of resident workers in PMET jobs increasing from 55 per cent to 62 per cent from 2016 to 2021.
The median income of full-time employed residents has increased from $4,100 to $4,700, which is a growth of 2.1 per cent per year in real terms. Moreover, the income of full-time employed residents at the 20th percentile has grown by 2.7 per cent per year in real terms.
He also underlined that there is no place for workplace discrimination in Singapore, with stiff penalties imposed on employers who do not give locals a fair chance.
“The Ministry of Manpower does not and will not tolerate unfair hiring practices,” he said.
“The Fair Consideration Framework or FCF sets out requirements for all employers to consider local workers fairly for job opportunities, and work is now underway to enshrine this in legislation”.
The MOM took enforcement action against around 300 firms between 2017 and 2021, including warnings being issued and being barred from hiring foreign workers or renewing their work passes.
“All our Government policies, schemes, and programmes work together to achieve one goal: to create opportunities for locals, at all levels of the workforce. MOM will continue to update our suite of policies regularly in line with this objective,” the Minister added. /TISG