Ceca is not a four-letter word

Amid Singapore's increasingly complex challenges, the last thing it needs is the non-constructive circularity in the trade pact's debate.

Singapore has long tapped foreign manpower to overcome the limitations of its human capital.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Depending on who you speak to, Ceca is either a passport to a larger market, a derogatory term for Indian nationals in Singapore, or shorthand for the supposed ills of Singapore's foreign manpower policy.

Despite multiple assurances from the Government that the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (Ceca) does not give Indian job seekers a free pass here, some have latched on to a few areas of the trade pact: intra-corporate transferees, a list of 127 professions in the annex to Chapter 9 on movement of natural persons, and the ability of accompanying spouses or dependants to work here.

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