Singapore

Hiring rules tightened to give Singaporeans greater access to openings

Rules regarding the hiring of foreigners are being tightened so that Singaporeans have greater access to the vacancies on offer.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday that from Oct 1, firms will have to advertise jobs on the MyCareersFuture.sg portal for at least 28 days, up from 14 currently, before they can apply for a new Employment Pass (EP) or S Pass for a foreign candidate.

These changes under the Fair Consideration Framework are aimed at giving local job seekers more time to respond to job openings and for employers to seriously evaluate their applications, said the ministry in a statement.

Previously, the advertising requirement covered only EP-level jobs.

It applies to employers with at least 10 employees but does not include jobs paying a fixed monthly salary of $20,000 and above, those to be filled by intra-corporate transferees or short-term vacancies of up to one month.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said the rule is being extended to S Pass jobs because those are the ones Singaporeans working in sectors that have been most affected by Covid-19, such as hospitality, tend to be trying to return to.

"We think it will make a meaningful difference to the profile of displaced workers who are seeking to get back into work," she said.

She added that her ministry will pay closer attention to companies where there is an over-concentration of EP or S Pass holders from a single source country.

There are two main reasons why it should be avoided, she said.

First, Covid-19 has shown that borders may suddenly close and if a firm has a very high concentration of staff from particular countries, it could be putting itself in a very risky position, she said, drawing parallels to the rationale for diversifying supply lines.

Second, it affects the fabric of society and the sense of comfort people feel, whether in the workplace or in the community.

"Singapore has always been multiracial, Singapore has always been multicultural, and having that rich fabric is important. So if you have in certain companies or industries a very high concentration of one (nationality), this doesn't feel the same as what we have come to be familiar with about Singapore," she said.

When evaluating applications for EPs and S Passes, MOM will now also place more emphasis on whether the firm has continued to support their local professional, manager, executive and technician (PMET) staff and responded to government efforts to help them recruit and train more Singaporean PMETs, or whether it has discriminated against qualified Singaporeans.

Employment