Enhanced support for Singaporean PMEs

A 2008 photo of a scroll from Ashwood University, a degree mill which issues fake documents for a price.
A 2008 photo of a scroll from Ashwood University, a degree mill which issues fake documents for a price.PHOTO: ST FILE

We refer to the letters by Mr Tan Kok Tim ("Tests can weed out foreign PMEs with fake degrees" ; Forum Online, Sunday), Mr Sonny Yuen Chee Choong ("Hiring of foreign PMEs needs targeted approach") and Mr Paul Heng ("Danger in monetary work scheme becoming a new norm"; both published on Monday).

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) takes a serious view of foreign professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) using fake degrees to seek employment in Singapore.

We have caught more than 5,000 such applicants with forged qualifications between 2012 and last year. They have been banned from working in Singapore for life.

As announced recently, MOM will also reject all work pass applications which contain doubtful qualifications, such as those from degree mills.

In setting the ceiling for dependency on foreign workers, MOM already differentiates between the construction, manufacturing and service sectors.

We do not go beyond that by imposing different limits for different service industries because the challenges faced are generally quite common in nature.

Ultimately, the most sustainable solution is for all sectors to move towards becoming more manpower-lean, with a stronger Singaporean core, complemented by better-quality foreign manpower.

We agree that older PMEs are a valuable source of manpower. The recently announced Career Support Programme (CSP) is aimed at encouraging more employers to seriously consider mature PMEs and value them for their skills and experience.

The wage support provided under the CSP will be temporary and last for one year, to enable mature PMEs and their employers to adapt to each other better.

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), together with partners such as the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and NTUC U PME, will also prepare them for their new employment.

More than 26,000 PMEs have been assisted through WDA and e2i since 2011.

Working together in partnership with employers, unions and workers, we are doing our best on these fronts: to enhance the competitiveness of our economy, to create good jobs for our people and enhance their employability, and develop good careers for them and their families.

Adrian Chua

Divisional Director

Manpower Planning and Policy Division

Ministry of Manpower

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2015, with the headline 'Enhanced support for Singaporean PMEs'. Print Edition | Subscribe