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Bosses must consider Singaporeans first

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From the beginning of August next year, companies in Singapore must show they have attempted to hire local talent for highly-skilled jobs before being able to offer the position to foreign candidates.

The new rules stipulate employers must advertise vacant positions on a new national job bank at least 14 calendar days before they are able to apply for an employment pass (EP) to hire a foreign talent.

Firms with fewer than 25 staff are exempt from this rule, as are those hiring for jobs paying more than $12,000 per month.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement the job bank will be administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, and that in January 2014, the qualifying salaries for employment pass holders will increase from the current $3,000 a month, to $3,300.

“Providing better jobs and diverse opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations are the ultimate objectives of economic growth. Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly,” Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said.

He added ‘hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices which “unfairly exclude Singaporeans” run against the fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.

In the statement, MOM said it expects all employers to consider Singaporeans fairly for a job, and to hire based on merit.

Employers who do not comply will not have their EP application approved, and those with disproportionately low numbers of Singaporeans at the professionals, managers and executives (PME) level, or with discriminatory complaints against them, will come under “additional scrutiny”.

Tan said the changes will provide Singaporeans, especially young graduates and PMEs a fair chance at job and developmental opportunities.

“But fair consideration is fundamentally about attitudes and mindsets. It is neither possible to change mindsets overnight nor legislate the problem away,” he said.

“We must set expectations about what is acceptable and what is not. It requires persuasion, explanation, and leading by example.”

What do you think of this policy change? Will it affect your organisation drastically?

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