Ask NUS economists

Will fewer foreign workers help low-wage Singaporeans?

Policies restricting number of foreign workers lead businesses to adjust in several ways

More research is needed to uncover the extent to which the changes in such wages are due to each of the various foreign worker policies, analysts said. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
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A: Since 2010, the Government has increased the foreign worker levy, reduced the foreign worker quota and raised the local qualifying salary threshold (the minimum wage for local workers to count towards the allowed foreign worker quota).

Such policies lead businesses to adjust in several ways: hire more local workers, invest more in automation and IT, adjust the scale of operations, or a mix of the three.

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