Asian Insider

'Global talent a necessity, not a luxury': How can S'pore stay competitive amid expat decline?

As at last December, there were 161,700 Employment Pass holders here, compared with 193,700 in pre-pandemic 2019 and 175,400 in 2011. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
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SINGAPORE - Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Singapore office of a United States-headquartered technology company has shed a third of its staff, which included forgoing 60 places that would have been filled by Employment Pass (EP) holders.

The main reason? "We can't afford it," a regional vice-president for the company told The Straits Times, citing how minimum EP salary requirements have been raised three times in under three years. These are roles that Singaporeans could not have filled as they required proficiency in languages such as Thai or Vietnamese, she added.

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