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NEW SINGAPOREAN FIRST LABOUR LAWS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON

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NEW SINGAPOREAN FIRST LABOUR LAWS TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON

Post by Darkmen on Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:28 pm

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Some new laws are in the making to ensure that Singaporeans are considered first for jobs.

The details of the regulations have not yet been announced, but the Manpower Ministry gave some indication that a fair consideration framework is going to be announced soon which would require employers to prove that they have legitimately tried and failed to hire a local for the job before resorting to hiring foreigners.

Despite the generally positive news, there are some concerns that the changes could make it unrealistically hard for companies to hire "talent".

The changes are being introduced in response to feedback from many residents through the Our Singapore Conversation sessions that there is an uneven playing field between Singaporeans and foreigners.

Already, about one third of the workforce is made up of foreigners and there are concerns that employers are choosing to hire foreigners because they are cheaper.

Some of the other concerns that the public have raised include the hiring of foreigners in HR and hiring positions as they sometimes tend to prefer their own kind.

These are concerns that many Singaporeans share, especially the PMETs who feel that they are being pushed out of their jobs and replaced by foreigners.

These are the issues which any new framework would need to address as the purpose of a foreign workforce is to supplement the local one and to fill in real gaps.

Some people have started to speculate how a policy may be formed to take into account these concerns.

One way suggested was that rules be placed on advertising to force companies to advertise only for locals for a set time before they were allowed to open the position up to foreigners.

Others have suggested it could be a punishment based policy where errant employers have their future work-permit rights cut if they cannot prove the really tried and failed to hire a local.

The logistics of are without doubt the difficult part with concerns that if Singaporeans are sought exclusively initially, there may be legitimately better foreigner candidates who would be missed.

There are also concerns that if companies are forced to spend a longer time searching for suitable candidates, there will be a loss in productivity.

It is important to protect Singaporean jobs, but at the same time, it is also important not to restrict companies too much such that they can’t actually hire the talents they need.

One of the groups who are most concerned are small business owners who rely on foreign workers. One SME owner shared that sometimes there are legitimately not enough Singaporeans to fill the jobs he has and suggested that niche businesses could be left out of the tightened laws.

Other suggestions included mentorship schemes to ensure that skills are really passed from foreigners to locals. This would ensure that Singaporeans are also gaining skills and upgrading.
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