More FTs in Singapore.Workers better enjoy the boom time now, it is not going last.
Government eases regulations on hiring foreign workers
By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 28 November 2007 2306 hrs
SINGAPORE: The government is easing regulations across the board on the hiring of foreign workers, in view of a tight labour market.
The overall unemployment rate fell to 1.7 percent in September this year – the lowest in almost a decade. The Manpower Ministry (MOM) said far more jobs are being created than locals can fill.
Amidst this tight labour market, companies said they have been finding it increasingly difficult to employ workers, especially locals.
That is why MOM is introducing a slew of measures to ease regulations on the hiring of foreign workers across all levels.
With growing industry demand for mid-skilled, mid-level foreign workers, the quota of S-pass holders will be increased from 15 percent to 25 percent from January next year.
To ease the manpower pressure in the booming Construction, Process and Marine sectors, MOM will raise the dependency ratio for the Construction and Process sectors from 1 local worker : 5 foreign workers, to 1 local worker : 7 foreign workers from 1 January 2008.
It will also reduce the work experience requirement for workers in Construction from four to two years from next March, and raise the dependency ratio for the Marine sector from 1 local worker : 3 foreign workers, to 1 local worker : 5 foreign workers from 1 January.
As the Manufacturing and Services sectors also expect to enjoy high growth, they will be allowed a higher proportion of foreign workers in their workforce as well.
For Manufacturing, the ratio will be increased to 6.5 foreign workers for every 10 Singaporeans hired, and for Services, that figure is 5 foreign workers to 10 locals.
Refinements will also be made to the Personalised Employment Pass. Launched earlier this year, this scheme helps professionals to continue working in Singapore as it is tied to an individual's merits rather than a specific employer.
Announcing the changes at an event on Wednesday evening, Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen explained why they were necessary.
He said: "There isn't an inexhaustible supply of local workers and it has slowed down this year to about 2 percent. In the World Competitiveness Yearbook for 2007 released earlier this year, Singapore emerged as having the most competitive labour market.
"One of the underlying factors is that companies here have access to the manpower that they need. Indeed, this must be a key concern for any company operating here, especially in the current tight labour market."
Industry players welcome the moves to ease the labour market.
Dr Robert Yap, YCH Group, said: "I'm sure this is something that's good for the industry. Our labour situation is getting very tight. With this tightness, you see job-hopping and all that, so it's affecting people like us who are entrepreneurs trying to build an organisation."