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Singapore to make it harder to hire foreign workers

Employers in Singapore will face increasing hurdles when hiring foreign workers after the Ministry of Manpower said it would set up a job bank for citizens.

By
GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com
Construction workers in Singapore. (Flickr/Jerry Wong)
Construction workers in Singapore. (Flickr/Jerry Wong)

The world's jobseekers looking to Singapore might want to consider searching elsewhere, as the island republic tightens rules to encourage employers to prioritize hiring citizens before foreigners.

The Ministry of Manpower said it would set up a job bank, and companies would be required to post job listings there before applying for foreign employment passes.

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“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. "'Hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices that unfairly exclude Singaporeans run against our fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.”

The move stemmed from political pressure as voters expressed their anger over growing competition for jobs and places in schools, rising property prices and congestion. Monday's changes mark the fourth straight year the city state has imposed tougher restrictions on hiring, resulting in a shortfall in the workforce and rising wage costs as a result.

Minister Tan said the new rules will exempt companies with 25 workers or fewer as well as those with a fixed monthly salary of more than S$12,000 ($9,600). The new job bank would be in place by mid-2014.

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“We must set expectations about what is acceptable and what is not,” Tan said. “It requires persuasion, explanation and leading by example. The worst employers must be taken to task.”

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