Manpower Ministry mulling over minimum quota for higher-skilled construction workers

In a bid to nudge construction firms to boost productivity, the Government is mulling over whether to set a minimum quota for higher-skilled construction workers for each construction firm. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA  
In a bid to nudge construction firms to boost productivity, the Government is mulling over whether to set a minimum quota for higher-skilled construction workers for each construction firm. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA  

In a bid to nudge construction firms to boost productivity, the Government is mulling over whether to set a minimum quota for higher-skilled construction workers for each construction firm.

But the authorities will consult the industry before making any move, said Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin on Monday in response to a question from Nominated MP R Dhinakaran in Parliament.

The Manpower Ministry and Building Control Authority classify foreign construction workers on work permits into two groups - those with basic-skills and those with higher-skills.

From July 2016, firms will have to pay higher levies for workers with only basic skills.

But from May this year, those who hire higher-skilled workers from countries such as China and India will be allowed to extend their maximum employment period from 18 years now to 22 years.

The moves, announced on Budget Day two weeks ago, are aimed at coaxing construction firms to boost productivity by sending their workers for skills upgrading.

Mr Tan also said in Parliament that the ministry does not intend to reduce the inflow of construction workers from countries such as China, India, Thailand and Bangladesh, even as it explores whether construction workers can be brought in from new source countries including the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

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