Singapore-based companies asked to raise foreigner's salary criteria
Singapore: Singapore-based companies will have to pay higher salaries to the foreign nationals and mid-skilled workers as part of the workforce policies designed to support economic growth and create jobs for the local people, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said on Wednesday.
The decision by the Singapore government came as Singaporeans have complained about jobs going to people from outside the country amidst the economic disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic leading to a slack in the labour market.
“With COVID-19 and the economic disruption it has caused, there is now more slack in the labour market.We will therefore make further adjustments to our foreign workforce policies,” Teo said.
Explaining the need for such a policy, Teo said that even as Singapore stay open to the world to accelerate the recovery, the crisis makes it all the more important that employers give fair treatment to Singaporeans
“Singapore-based companies will need to pay foreign professionals and mid-skilled workers higher salaries in order for them to qualify to work in Singapore. The impending hike in the salary criteria for Employment Passes (EPs) and S Passes is part of adjustments to foreign workforce policies to reflect the slacker labour market conditions owing to COVID-19,” added Teo, without giving further details.
While EP allows semi-skilled foreign workers from approved source countries to work in certain sectors, the S Pass allows mid-level skilled staff to work in Singapore.
Currently, the fixed monthly salary threshold for EP holders is at least 3,900 Singaporean dollars, and for S Pass holders at least 2,400 Singaporean dollars. The qualifying salaries are higher for older and more experienced workers, according to a report in The Straits Times.
The manpower minister announced the salary plan in an addendum to President Halimah Yacob’s address at the opening of the 14th Parliament on Monday.
President Halimah said the job competition from foreigners on work passes could become a divisive issue and had said it will be addressed.
During the Minister of Manpower’s addendum, Teo said Singapore’s foreign workforce policies have been designed to support economic growth so as to create good jobs for Singaporeans.
“There is a regular calibration to enable firms to access the manpower they need while ensuring a strong Singaporean core,” she said.
Today, nearly six in 10 locals in the workforce are employed in professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) jobs, Teo said, adding that for every EP holder, there are nearly seven locals employed in PMET roles.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore had been preparing workers and employers for the future economy, but these efforts must now shift to even higher gear , she said.
Laying out various initiatives that have been launched to help Singaporeans keep their jobs or find work, Teo noted the National Jobs Council is spearheading an effort to create 100,000 jobs and skills opportunities through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
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