Work pass changes will also benefit local talent, says Tan See Leng

The pass is intended to help bring those who are at the cutting edge in every field, said Dr Tan See Leng. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Bringing in the best talent from around the world will ultimately benefit Singapore's local talent pool, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng on Monday (Aug 29).

He was discussing changes made to the work pass framework to strengthen Singapore's position as a global hub for talent.

The enhancements include introducing a new pass to draw top talent with overseas networks and expertise with a salary criterion that will be comparable to the top 5 per cent of Employment Pass holders here.

Dr Tan told the media at a press conference: "Underlying all the changes we are making is our goal of creating more, and more exciting, opportunities for our fellow Singaporeans.

"By bringing the best from around the world, we can tap their networks, learn from their expertise, and ultimately we will accelerate the development of our local talent pool."

The new Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass will be open for applications on Jan 1 next year to attract top talent across all sectors.

It can give Singapore a boost in areas such as the green economy and sustainability, Dr Tan said, in response to media questions on the industries that are likely to benefit the most from the new pass.

"There are tremendous new opportunities, and some of the technologies are still quite nascent, in terms of the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel, carbon capture utilisation and storage, the circular economy, even using biomass as fuel," he said.

Dr Tan added that the pass is also intended to help bring in those who are at the cutting edge in every field, including academia and culture.

Singapore will continue to groom its local talent and leaders, supporting them in going abroad to acquire greater regional and global exposure so that they can eventually take up leadership positions back home, he added.

Dr Tan noted that global competition for talent has intensified in the wake of the pandemic and stressed the importance of developing and retaining top talent.

"As a country with little or no natural resources, talent is our only resource, and talent acquisition is an offensive strategy for us. We are now in an era where businesses follow talent, as much as talent follows businesses. Both businesses and talent are searching for safe and stable places to invest, live and work in. Singapore is such a place," he said.

Besides attracting global talent, Singapore will also continue to invest heavily in developing its local workforce, he added.

The Republic has rolled out Industry Transformation Maps that map out growth plans for 23 sectors and help to identify in-demand jobs, while developing skills strategies to build a local talent pipeline for them.

Jobs Transformation Maps also provide job-level insights on the impact of technology on the industry and workforce.

"With these insights, companies can identify requisite skills for their employees to move into redesigned jobs and emerging roles. The Government has a range of programmes to support reskilling and redeployment of workers into these new roles," Dr Tan said.

He added: "We must keep doing more. Our ambition is to groom many more Singaporeans into world-class leaders, standing shoulder to shoulder with global giants."

As part of the Forward Singapore exercise, there will also be consultations with workers and businesses on how the Government can encourage even more locals to take on regional and global roles.

Ultimately, Dr Tan said, Singapore needs to take a proactive approach to cement its position as a global hub for talent, and send a clear message to the world that it remains open for business.

"By building a deep local talent pool, and welcoming talent from around the world, we can be a vibrant global city, and create a society of ever-expanding opportunities for Singaporeans now and in the years to come."

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