Singapore lowers dependence on foreign workers
Many of you and your colleagues would surely have followed closely the Singapore Budget 2012 when it was unveiled on TV last month.
The Singapore Government's economic and social direction for 2012, addressing issues such as population, the economy and education, were officially announced.
In terms of employment, the new policy is that companies would need to increase the employment ratio for locals, effective from 1st July 2012. The high number of foreign workers in the country was one of the hottest issues in last year's General Elections.
Under the new policy, for instance, manufacturing companies will have to cut the percentage of foreigners they hire to 60 per cent of the workforce, down from 65 per cent currently.
For companies in the services sector, the foreign-local ratio ceiling will be lowered to 45 per cent from 50 per cent.
Said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam: "Our increasing dependence on foreign workers is not sustainable as it severely affects on our efforts to build more housing and expand our public transport system."
"There is also an important economic reason: the easy availability of foreign labour will reduce the incentives for our companies to upgrade, design better jobs and raise productivity," he added.
With Singapore's population totalling 5.18 million in 2011, more than a quarter comprising foreigners, the country’s employment system has certainly entered a challenging phase.