Singapore

Singapore will remain open to top international talent: Chan Chun Sing

Singapore will remain open to top international talent as it seeks to maintain its status as a preferred economic hub amid changes brought about by Covid-19, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

"We aspire to be the critical node in global businesses' value chains, production chains and supply chains, where we add value, serving not just as a location to trade through," he said during a webinar hosted by Standard Chartered Bank titled Singapore - The Global Hub And Gateway To Asean.

One way is to "bring in international talent in a calibrated manner, as (the Republic has) always done", he said in his keynote address.

He acknowledged that companies have been anxious about the recent scrutiny over foreign talent, and assured firms that the Republic's tightening of its foreign worker policies is not "a signal that we are turning away top international talent".

"Our foreign worker policy will shift increasingly towards quality rather than quantity," he added.

"This scrutiny is not unique to Singapore. Every country facing economic slowdown and recession will have elements questioning the balance between locals and foreigners in the job market...

"Let me be clear - we want the world's best and brightest to be with Team Singapore, to augment our skills and capabilities, competing on our side rather than against us, and ultimately, to benefit Singaporeans, not to substitute or hurt them."

But "we are serious about discriminatory hiring practices", Mr Chan said, adding that businesses, regardless of size or nationality, must play their part in building up the Singaporean workforce and giving Singaporeans a fair shot.

The Republic will continue to invest in the building of its fifth airport terminal, Tuas megaport and regional developments such as Sungei Kadut Eco-District and Greater Southern Waterfront, Mr Chan said.

The minister noted that Covid-19 has sped up companies' reviews of their organisational process, and technology has redefined what it means to be a hub in the global economy.

He added that investors have so far chosen to invest in Singapore because it has a stable government, clear rule of law, and a rich and diverse ecosystem of innovation, talent and digital connectivity.

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