SINGAPORE — Foreign professionals and mid-level skilled workers will need to be paid higher salaries by employers to qualify for work in Singapore – the second such increase this year.
This is part of further adjustments to Singapore’s foreign workforce policies – such as the Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass – to reflect the weaker labour market caused by COVID-19, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Wednesday (26 August). Teo did not give specific details on the changes.
Earlier this year, the monthly salary threshold was raised to at least $3,900 from $3,600 for EP holders, and at least $2,400 from $2,300 for S Pass holders.
“Our foreign workforce policies have been designed to support economic growth, so as to create good jobs for Singaporeans,” she added in her ministry's addendum to President Halimah Yacob's earlier speech in Parliament.
“There is regular calibration, to enable firms to access the manpower they need while ensuring a strong Singaporean core. In the last decade, we have also made policy adjustments to spur businesses to upgrade productivity.”
Nearly six in 10 Singapore residents in the workforce are employed in professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) jobs, among the highest in the world, Teo also noted.
And for every EP holder, there are nearly seven locals employed in PMET roles.
“Even as we stay open to the world to accelerate our recovery, the crisis makes it all the more important that employers give fair treatment to Singaporeans,” she added.
Employees should also seek to achieve greater diversity within their EP and S Pass workforce where practical, Teo said.
“We will ensure that employers uphold both the letter and spirit of the Fair Consideration Framework. We will closely examine retrenchment exercises to ensure they are carried out fairly,” she added.
Teo also said businesses that bring in skills in short supply or new networks of opportunity for Singapore will always be welcome.
“At the same time, we will require businesses to invest more effort to develop and strengthen their Singaporean core,” she added.
The MOM also will bring together 100,000 jobs and skills opportunities through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package in a whole-of-government effort spearheaded by the National Jobs Council.
“Our economic agencies will press on with industry transformation to keep as many Singaporeans as possible in jobs, and create new jobs to make up for job losses,” said Teo.
Other efforts include reviewing workplace practices and entrenching more flexible work arrangements.
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