The Straits Times
Published on Nov 13, 2012

More clarity needed


I AGREE with several of the points raised in the report ("Tightening foreign labour inflows: Have we gone too far?"; Nov 3).

The Manpower Ministry's succession of rapid changes to foreign manpower policies on S Passes, Personalised Employment Passes and Employment Passes is creating uncertainty for employers.

Consistent policies were the hallmark of our country, and were among the key reasons why many foreign companies decided to set up shop here.

What if the latest changes cause foreign investors to move their operations to neighbouring countries?

This would lead only to job losses for Singaporeans.

Many companies have set up their Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore at the invitation of our Government.

If they are not allowed to bring in talent from their overseas operations, then they will simply relocate elsewhere.

Where would that leave young Singaporeans who hope to enrich themselves with regional roles and the invaluable experience that comes with them?

What adds to the confusion is that some ministers talk about how restricting foreign labour impacts small and medium-sized enterprises, while others mention the need to further restrict the entry of foreign manpower.

We are also told to increase worker productivity and leverage technology so we can rely less on foreign labour.

This rhetoric is not unfamiliar, but are there any specific suggestions on how we can do so?

Matthew Ong