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Singapore Not Easing Foreign Manpower Policy Soon

4/19/2018 1:11:23 PM
written By : Team India Se Print

Singapore will not relax its tight foreign manpower policy soon but it will need to be reviewed in the coming years, says Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

The restrictions have to remain in force at present to encourage companies to increase productivity, he said at a media briefing on April 18.

“Our priority in the coming years must be to continue to develop Singaporeans. At the same time, a well-calibrated inflow of foreign manpower can complement our people,” he said.

“We should not make changes too hastily because this needs to be sustained. If we don't sustain this effort and don't continue to invest, the substitution between machines and man will not happen,” he said. “If I can get workers cheaply, why should I invest in machines?”

He was responding to companies’ concerns about Singapore's talent shortage, especially in fast-growing tech sectors such as cyber security, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

The foreign manpower policy will need to reviewed “in the coming years”, he said. “But I don't want to send the wrong signal that changes are coming any time soon -- then the pressure (to transform) will be lost.”

However, Singapore companies venturing abroad should tap talent from across the region, he added. He referred to a company which hired a young woman from an Asean country who had studied at a Singapore university.  “This young lady was so capable that, after a year with the company, she was sent back to her home country and she headed a 100-person outfit there," he said. “The more our companies can do this, the more they can make full use of the talent in the region - and our region is full of talent.”

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