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Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say yesterday (5 March) revealed that a total of 500 firms have been placed on the Fair Consideration Framework watchlist over the past two years for unfairly favouring foreigners in their hiring, The Straits Times reported.
Responding to MPs – such as Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC), Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC) and Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) – who asked for an update on the watchlist, the minister said those on the watchlist were from various sectors and include placement agencies.
He added: “They have the pre-conceived idea that local PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) are either unable or unwilling to do the job, so they write them off without even considering them fairly.”
These companies, also known as “triple weak” companies – who are not up to scratch in having and nurturing a strong Singaporean core, and do not have strong relevance to Singapore’s economy and society – are subject to closer scrutiny on their Employment Pass (EP) applications.
In line with that, minister Lim noted that since February 2016, 1,900 EP applications have been either rejected or withheld by the ministry, or withdrawn by the companies.
Additionally, the manpower minister noted that after organisations like the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) and the institutes of higher learning helped them improve their HR practices, more than 2,200 Singaporean PMETs were hired.
After these efforts, 150 companies have improved and left the watchlist to date.
Minister Lim cited an information technology services firm with more than a thousand PMET employees which was placed on the watchlist in February 2016. He noted that the firm has since been removed from the list after working with TAFEP and the Infocomm Media Development Authority to hire about 200 more Singaporeans.
The company continues to adopt progressive human resource practices, which is a win-win outcome for both the business and its workers, Lim added.
Photo / 123RF