New Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say says the government will not waiver from its position, and told companies to give up hope of having a higher quota for foreign workers.
“We’ve reached the point of no return,” said Mr Lim. “Please don’t keep asking me to relax our foreign worker policy. That’s not part of the outcome.”
Mr Lim stressed that quality foreign labour will take precedence over quantity.
Using an example of multinational corporations that set up base in Singapore, he said such firms face the challenge of hiring locals because they lack the expertise and experience.
He said that such companies would be allowed to bring in foreign workers with the know-how, provided there’s a “commitment to localise expertise over time”.
“We cannot afford to continue to adopt a more liberal policy towards taking in foreign manpower,” said Mr Lim. “If we continue to do so, the ratio of local workers versus foreign manpower will continue to decline. As mentioned, from 4:1, 3:1 to 2:1 and in the near future, if we continue this path, it’ll be 1:1. And beyond that, one day Singaporeans will wake up to find ourselves a minority in the Singapore workforce and obviously, that’s not sustainable, that’s not desirable.”
Mr Lim was speaking during a group interview yesterday (2 Jun).
Mr Lim also mentioned that the Manpower will be reviewing the Fair Consideration Framework, which requires companies to try hiring Singaporeans first, and only turning to the employment of foreigners if there are no suitable Singaporeans for the job.
He said that this review is aimed at boosting the Singaporean core of the workforce.