Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Singapore tightens rules on foreign workers

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Workers head to work at Singapore's central business district on August 23, 2011. Singapore announced tighter rules on the hiring of foreign professional workers, saying companies will from next year have to show proof they first tried to recruit local citizens (AFP/File)

Singapore Monday announced tighter rules on the hiring of foreign professional workers, saying companies will from next year have to show proof they first tried to recruit local citizens.

The change, taking effect in August 2014, follows protests and online complaints about the large number of foreigners in the affluent city-state.

The Ministry of Manpower said companies that discriminate against citizens "will be subject to additional scrutiny" when they apply for employment passes for foreign professionals.

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Singapore to crack down on the hiring of foreign professional workers
Singapore's financial district

Singapore has announced tighter rules on the hiring of foreign professional workers, saying companies will have to show proof they first tried to recruit locals.

The change, taking effect in August 2014, follows protests and online complaints about the large number of foreigners in the affluent city-state.

The Ministry of Manpower said companies that discriminate against citizens "will be subject to additional scrutiny" when they apply for employment passes for foreign professionals.

read more

Singapore Foreigner Curbs Target Professionals: Southeast Asia

Singapore will widen foreign-worker curbs to professional jobs as the government clamps down on companies that hire overseas talent at the expense of citizens, stepping up efforts to counter a backlash against immigration.

The Southeast Asian nation said yesterday it will set up a job bank where companies are required to advertise positions to Singaporeans before applying for so-called employment passes for foreign professionals. The unprecedented policy will target jobs that pay at least S$3,000 ($2,400) a month.

“There are concerns among Singaporeans, which I think is fair, and so it’s timely for us to introduce this,” Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in a Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. “There are Singaporeans out there, well-skilled and capable, who are looking for jobs and I think this step would actually facilitate that process.

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Singapore hiring companies required to consider citizens first in 2014

Singapore hiring companies will be required to consider citizens first over foreign workers starting next year. Their government will require companies to prove that they tried to hire a Singaporean for open positions. According to Fox News on Sept. 23, the new rules will take effect August 2014
The Ministry of Manpower said companies that discriminate against citizens 'will be subject to additional scrutiny' when they apply for employment passes for foreign professionals.
Singapore hiring companies will need to give residents a fair chance at job openings and development opportunities. These measures were spurred on by both online complaints and protest by citizens. Jobs will need to be first advertised to Singaporeans. If no citizens qualify, then foreigners may be hired.

Singaporeans are complaining more and in larger numbers as of late. Over 3,000 people attended anti-government rallies earlier this year. Locals are also aware of outsiders competing with them for not only jobs, but homes, schools and room on the heavily used public transportation system.

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Singapore to put priority on hiring locals

Singapore will impose new rules that would force companies to consider locals before hiring foreigners for professional jobs, according to the Singaporean Manpower Ministry.

The city state will set up a job bank where companies are required to advertise positions before applying for so-called employment passes for foreign professionals, it said. The advertisements must be open to all Singaporeans.

“Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly,” Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuanjin said in a statement Monday.

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Singapore to Give Citizens Priority for Job Openings

The government of Singapore announced measures on Monday that will compel companies to give priority to local residents in the job recruitment process, a move that could create more challenges for multinational firms doing business in the Southeast Asian city-state


The measures will require companies operating in Singapore to advertise vacancies to local residents for two weeks before they can apply to fill positions with overseas workers. The recruitment notices must be posted to a central job bank to be administered by a government employment agency, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Manpower 

“Providing better jobs and diverse opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations are the ultimate objectives of economic growth,” Tan Chuan-Jin, the acting minister for manpower, said in the statement. “What we are doing is to put in place measures to nudge employers to  give Singaporeans — especially our young graduates and professionals, managers and executives — a fair chance at both job and development opportunities.

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Singapore Tightens Hiring Rules for Foreign Skilled Labor
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Singapore is implementing new rules that will require most employers to consider citizens for skilled-labor openings before recruiting from overseas in a move to reduce public discontent over the city-state's reliance on foreign workers.

The Ministry of Manpower said Monday that it will make the changes in stages next year to curb what it calls discriminatory hiring practices. Starting in January, it will increase the minimum monthly compensation threshold that companies have to pay individuals on employment passes—work permits issued to foreign executives and managerial professionals—to 3,300 Singapore dollars (US$2,636) from S$3,000. And starting in August, it will require companies with more than 25 employees to advertise all positions with fixed monthly salaries of less than S$12,000 dollars for a minimum of two weeks on a government-run database, it said in a statement.

The move marks the latest in a series of government efforts in recent years to cut Singapore's dependence on overseas skilled and unskilled labor. Many citizens blame the influx of workers for overcrowding, soaring home prices and depressed low-end pay. The governing People's Action Party has seen its support erode in part due to past policies that have boosted the number of foreign residents here. It has lost two by-elections since its vote share fell to a historic low in the 2011 general election.

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Singapore Makes Firms Consider Citizens Before Hiring Foreigners

Singapore will impose new rules prodding companies to consider locals before hiring foreigners for professional jobs, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

The city state will set up a job bank where companies are required to advertise positions before applying for so-called employment passes for foreign professionals, it said. The advertisements must be open to all Singaporeans.

“Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly,” Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said in a statement today. “‘Hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices that unfairly exclude Singaporeans run against our fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.

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“Tightening on foreign labour” was a lie

Business as usual increase in Singapore foreign workforce population

The above graph shows the size of the foreign workforce in Singapore from December 2009 to June 2013. Despite government claims that the flow of foreign workers was being reduced, it is clear that no such reduction has occurred – business as usual appears to be the best description.

We should note that this graph shows the trend back some time prior to the 2011 general election. It was widely held that dissatisfaction with an excessive influx of foreign labour was one cause for the ruling party’s poor results at the polls, so it is particularly puzzling that no meaningful policy changes have appeared to rectify the situation

That the government has made plenty of noise about solving this problem implies that they have heard Singaporeans’ concerns, however the fact that noise rather than meaningful policy changes have been the result is extremely concerning. It would appear that the government, despite being aware of the problem, is either unwilling or unable to provide an effective solution.

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Foreign Workers Policy and New Employment Rules

As if voting for the passage of the controversial Population White Paper is not enough, some of our PAP MPs would jump at any opportunity to urge a rethinking of the “tightening” of our ultra-liberal foreign workers policy.

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah, also Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development, had this to say of the collapsed ceiling at JEM that injured three:
Every time a contractor renews work permit for their workers, they face some difficulties and therefore keep changing staff. That could mean we don’t have experienced engineers or inspectors. The government should really look into this (emphases mine).
Now what “experienced” engineers and inspectors are employed by work permit, a category which now curiously includes S pass by MOM’s definition, and only requires a monthly salary of SGD2,200 to qualify?

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Fair Consideration Framework for employment does not protect lower income Singaporeans

The Ministry of Manpower’s new Fair Consideration Framework for employment will do nothing to protect lower income Singaporeans from being treated unfairly in job applications. Also, without a minimum wage and with the government still importing a large number of foreigners, lower income Singaporeans will continue to bear the brunt of wage suppression and workplace discrimination by unscrupulous employers who treat them merely as digits.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) unveiled new rules on Monday under the Fair Consideration Framework which require that employers who apply for Employment Passes (EP) give consideration to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents before hiring foreigners. Firms making new EP applications must advertise the job vacancy in a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce and Development Agency (WDA) for at least 14 days, and the job ad must be open to Singaporeans.

However, as the new ruling is applicable only to firms hiring PMET professionals, Singaporeans applying for lower skilled jobs will not enjoy any protection

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Non-graduate receives a Starhub temp offer of $1700 as technical support analyst – can he survive?

1. First of all, thanks for allowing us to interview you online Jack and can you provide us with some background information on yourself? Non-graduate, generation Y.

2. What was your last occupation and you have told me that you were unemployed for a few months, can you tell us more about this and also your job search experience? I worked as a telesales operator at a local internet startup for a month, a few years back, went to university and was there for 5-6 years but dropped out of college in my final year due to some personal reasons.

3. You have told me that you are currently jobless for more than six months, what did you do in order to survive? Did you also approach the CDC for assistance?

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Singapore Announces New Recruitment FrameWork; Places Tougher Rules On Hiring Foreigners For Skilled Jobs
Singapore May Day
People listen to a speech during a May Day protest against high living costs and immigration policies in Singapore. Reuters/Edgar Su

Singapore on Monday announced tougher rules for recruiting foreigners for skilled jobs, in a bid to reduce its dependency on foreign workers and to ensure locals get a fair chance at being gainfully employed, according to the Ministry of Manpower.

Singapore, which for decades has been dependent on skilled and unskilled workers from abroad to drive its economy, last year had announced its intentions to scale down recruitment of foreigners, following protests from its citizens who blame rising immigration for a host of problems such as higher property prices and cost of living in the southeast Asian nation.

"Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly," Tan Chuan Jin, the acting manpower minister, said in a statement. “‘Hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices that unfairly exclude Singaporeans run against our fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.”

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Foreign manpower tightening up a notch

The government is tightening the foreign manpower regime further, with a 10 per cent hike to the minimum salary required to hire a young foreign professional on an employment pass (EP) - the category of work passes not subject to quotas and levies.

Also, under new rules to ensure Singaporeans get fair consideration before foreigners are hired, employers will have to advertise job vacancies on a new national jobs bank for two weeks before any applications for EPs for those professional, managerial and executive (PME) jobs will be accepted.

While businesses do expect the higher EP qualifying salary to add to already rising labour costs, reactions from representative bodies after yesterday's announcement were more muted than has been the case for previous rounds of measures to slow the influx of manpower from abroad.

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Singapore tightens rules on foreign workers

Singapore has announced it is tightening rules on the hiring of foreign professional workers, saying companies will from August 2014 have to prove they first tried to recruit local citizens.

The announcement was made Monday following protests and online complaints about the large number of foreigners in Singapore, according to reports.

The government said businesses that discriminate against Singaporean citizens “will be subject to additional scrutiny” when they apply for employment passes for foreign professionals.

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Singapore tightens rules on foreign worker
s

SMEs, NTUC welcome tighter MOM rules on foreign skilled labour
People sit along the promenade during lunch break at Raffles Place in Singapore on October 1, 2012. The number of foreign workers in Singapore rose by about 100,000 as of the end of June this year from a year ago despite measures to slow their influx, government data released October 1 showed. AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN (ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/GettyImages)
People sit along the promenade during lunch break at Raffles Place in Singapore on October 1, 2012. The number of foreign workers in Singapore rose by about 100,000 as of the end of June this year from a year ago despite measures to slow their influx, government data released October 1 showed

The business community on Monday welcomed the government’s new measures to prod employers to look more actively at Singaporeans for skilled jobs vacancies before turning to foreign labour.

In a statement, the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) said it was happy to see the Ministry of Manpower’s positive response to its feedback that Singaporeans be given "due consideration" before companies turn to hiring foreigners

"We believe that the (new measures) would translate to greater transparency and more opportunities for local PMEs, and grow the Singaporean Core," said NTUC director for its PME unit, Patrick Tay.

related:
Article: Foreign manpower growth slowing down: Tan Chuan Jin
Article: NTUC, employers tussle over foreign workers issue
Article: PM Lee unveils new ‘Singaporeans-first’ policies

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Full coverage:
PRESS RELEASE: MOM WANTS FIRMS TO CONSIDER SPOREANS FAIRLY
Global Times: Spore announces tighter rules for hiring skilled professional foreigners
Oman Tribune: Singapore tightens rules for hiring skilled foreigners
The Independent Singapore: Finally, Singaporeans first
Free District: Singapore tightens rules on foreign workers
Businessweek: Singapore Foreigner Curbs Target Professionals: Southeast Asia
Businessweek: Foreign manpower tightening up a notch
Wall Street Journal: Singapore Tightens Hiring Rules for Foreign Skilled Labor
Bloomberg: Singapore Makes Firms Consider Citizens Before Hiring Foreigners
New York Times: Singapore to Give Citizens Priority for Job Openings
Channel News Asia: Firms to consider Singaporeans fairly for jobs
The Star Online: Singapore Announces Tighter Rules For Hiring Skilled Foreigners
Business Times:MOM raises monthly salary for new employment pass
Business Times: Consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring foreigners: MOM
Straits Times: Frm Aug next yr, firms that want to hire foreign professionals must prove
Straits Times : Higher qualifying salaries for all new Employment Pass applications
Examiner: Singapore hiring companies required to consider citizens first in 2014
The Japan News:Singapore to put priority on hiring locals
Japan News: Spore Foreign Workers Policy to Tighten, Officials Aim to Bolster Local
IB Times: Spore Announces New Recruitment FrameWork; Places Tougher Rules On
UPI: Singapore to make it harder to hire foreign workers
SmartPlanet: Singapore job measures puts locals first
London South East: Singapore Announces Stricter Rules For Hiring Foreign Workers
IBTimes: Singapore Enforces Stricter Company Hiring Process for Foreign Workers
Bloomberg: Singapore Foreigner Curbs Target Professionals: Southeast Asia
Taipei Times: Singapore tightens rules for hiring skilled foreigners


Has landing an expat job in Singapore just gotten harder?

Singapore's latest push to encourage companies to hire locally is unlikely to have a significant impact on foreigners looking to land a job in the Southeast Asian financial hub, say experts.

"Posting a job on the new job bank for 14 days isn't a significant time period. The process of recruitment with regards to the salary range takes between one to six months," Mark Hall, vice president and country manager at staffing agency Kelly Services Singapore told CNBC.

"In any case, companies will still hire the best fit for the job. If the local person doesn't have the skills and experience to fit the role, they will have to look to elsewhere," Hall said

related:
Nearly half of global employees unhappy in jobs: Survey
Household debt: Singapore's 'Achilles heel'?
Is the worst over for the Singapore economy?

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10 firms rapped for discriminatory job ads


Two days after unveiling new rules aimed at ensuring Singaporean professionals are fairly considered for jobs, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday rapped 10 firms for posting discriminatory job advertisements.

The 10 - including five employment agencies - were asked to put up online public apologies for 30 days, and have all done so. They have also been barred from hiring new foreign workers over the 30 days and an additional six months after.

It is the second time this year that MOM has slapped such penalties on employers for unfair hiring practices, after it first took Incofood Singapore and Expedia Singapore to task in March.

related:
Job discrimination: skills at root of issue

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The 10 companies that MOM found to have posted discriminating job advertisements
Omy.sg, 25 Sep 2013

1. PSC Biotech - Life science service solution provider
2. Winshire Education Centre - Tuition centre
3. Dr. CI:Labo - Skincare company
4. Modern-Pak - Packaging company
5. Global Citizen Forum
6. Youbook- Human capital management company
7. Accredit HR Consultancy - Recruitment agency
8. StaffLink Services - Recruitment agency
9. Sky Asia Consulting - Recruitment agency
10.Zingmi Pte Ltd - Job search company

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MOM: New rules to consider hiring SGs before FTs
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin (ST Photo)

MOM today (23 Sep) announced new rules that require employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders. Firms with discriminatory hiring practices will be subject to additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed.

MOM said that these changes will reinforce expectations for employers to consider Singaporeans fairly for job opportunities and enhance job market transparency.

“Providing better jobs and diverse opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations are the ultimate objectives of economic growth. Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly,” said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin

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A Singaporean-first job market

Those expecting to see a drastic reduction in the number of employment pass holders are likely to be disappointed. The minimum monthly salary stipulation is just $300 more, or $3,300 a month. And no, there is no quota.

The flip side – going by the Manpower Ministry’s announcement today after a review of hiring practices in Singapore – is that firms can no longer hire foreigners any old how. Taking a leaf from practices in countries such as the United Kingdom and Canada, those intending to hire foreign talent must first advertise the job on a dedicated website set up by the ministry.

If no Singaporean takes it up, or if Singaporean applicants aren’t deemed suitable, only then may the firm proceed to apply for an employment pass for the foreign talent. The ad must be up for 14 days. The rules will take effect from Aug 1 next year.

read more

Foreign workers policy & new employment rules

As if voting for the passage of the controversial Population White Paper is not enough, some of our PAP MPs would jump at any opportunity to urge a rethinking of the “tightening” of our ultra-liberal foreign workers policy.

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah, also Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for National Development, had this to say of the collapsed ceiling at JEM that injured three:
“Every time a contractor renews work permit for their workers, they face some difficulties and therefore keep changing staff. That could mean we don’t have experienced engineers or inspectors. The government should really look into this (emphases mine).”

Now what “experienced” engineers and inspectors are employed by work permit, a category which now curiously includes S pass by MOM’s definition, and only requires a monthly salary of SGD2,200 to qualify?

read more

PAP NEW RULE TO ‘HIRE LOCALS FIRST’ IS A HOGWASH

I refer to PRESS RELEASE released by the MOM yesterday: PRESS RELEASE: MOM WANTS FIRMS TO CONSIDER SINGAPOREANS FAIRLY FOR JOBS

Believe it or not, Singapore till now does not have any laws to treat locals better than foreigners. Unbelievably, up till now, it is the only country in the world, where a foreigner can simply fly into the island, look up the papers for a job vacancy and get the job the very day, without any concern that there may be a hundred unemployed Singaporeans, with families to feed, equally qualified waiting for that very job!

And unbelievably, it is the only country among the so-called developed world, not being sure if the island qualifies as a developed country, where there is no minimum wage laws of any kind and anyone can be paid any amount by any employer, take or leave it.

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Singapore Daily

– Breakfast Network: MOM must show that fair is fair
– The Void Decker: Fair Consideration Framework: Good for now
– Limpeh Is Foreign Talent: Will the Fair Consideration Framework make any difference?
– Daily Breaks: Hiring Balancing Act
– WonderPeace: Dependants under Non-Residents

– Yahoo! SG: SMEs, NTUC welcome tighter MOM rules on foreign skilled labour
– The Independent, Singapore: Finally, Singaporeans First
– Breakfast Network: A Singaporean-first job market
– TOC: Foreign Workers Policy and New Employment Rules
– Ravi Philemon: Nothing like competition to make the PAP listen better
– A Gen Y’s Challenge to survive on a little red dot: Fairer Go For Singaporeans?
– My Singapore News: The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) consideration
– Sgpolitics: Fair Consideration Framework for employment does not protect lower income
– The Bullshit Politician: Mass import Foreigners is “Quantitative Easing”


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