Firms must show they tried to hire S'poreans first

Office workers in Singapore's Central Business District.From Jan 1 next year, the qualifying salaries for all new Employment Pass (EP) applications will be raised to $3,300 from $3,000, in line with rising salaries. -- ST FILE PHOTO : TED CHEN 
Office workers in Singapore's Central Business District.From Jan 1 next year, the qualifying salaries for all new Employment Pass (EP) applications will be raised to $3,300 from $3,000, in line with rising salaries. -- ST FILE PHOTO : TED CHEN 

From August next year, firms that want to hire foreign professionals must prove that they have tried to hire Singaporeans.

These employers have to advertise for Singaporeans to fill the vacancies in a national jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, the Manpower Ministry said on Monday. Firms with 25 or fewer staff will be exempted from advertising rule, or those hiring for jobs paying $12,000 and above a month.

Those who do not advertise in the national job bank will have the foreigners' Employment Pass (EP) applications rejected. The move is part of a Fair Consideration Framework announced by the ministry that requires employers to consider Singaporeans fairly before hiring foreigners.

Besides the advertising rule, firms that have "disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans" holding professional, managerial and executives jobs will have their hiring practices come under greater scrutiny by the ministry. The MOM will however not name these firms.

Said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin: "These changes are part of a broader effort to ensure that good jobs continue to be created for Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans we spoke to understand the need for a diverse workforce. They recognise the need to compete for jobs on the basis of merit. The framework is not about 'Hire Singaporeans First, or Hire Singaporeans Only'. What the government is doing is to help them get a fair opportunity."

The MOM also announced on Monday a higher minimum salary for EP applications. From January next year, the qualifying salaries for all new EP applications will be raised to $3,300 from $3,000, in line with rising salaries.

The move is not part of the Fair Consideration Framework.