MOM places 38 firms on watchlist for not considering Singaporeans fairly for jobs

These firms could even be banned from hiring foreign professionals if they do not cooperate.
These firms could even be banned from hiring foreign professionals if they do not cooperate. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Out of 150 firms the Manpower Ministry (MOM) called in for talks over the past year, 38 have been identified for closer scrutiny as they are not doing enough to hire and groom Singaporeans.

These firms will have their Employment Pass (EP) applications looked at more closely by the ministry, and could even be banned from hiring foreign professionals if they do not cooperate, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Thursday, revealing the breakdown of companies for the first time.

They will be asked to provide details for EP applications such as the number of Singaporeans who applied and were interviewed for the posts, and whether existing Singaporean employees were considered for the posts.

"Should there be 'double weak' firms that are unresponsive or uncooperative, they will have their EP privileges curtailed," said Mr Lim, in a post on the MOM blog.

He was referring to firms that have a low ratio of Singaporeans to foreigners compared with the industry average, and who are weak in their commitment to fair consideration of Singaporeans when it comes to hiring and developing staff.

Mr Lim said that this additional scrutiny was part of the ministry's efforts to enhance the Fair Consideration Framework, which was introduced last year to get companies to look for suitable Singaporeans before hiring foreign professionals.

On top of the 150 firms, another 100 firms were also identified for MOM to work with as they have unusually high proportions of foreigners for their industries, which include infocomm, finance and insurance, construction, and wholesale trade.

The ministry will instruct firms on its watchlist to step up their efforts to train and upgrade Singaporean professionals, managers and executives, and transfer knowledge from foreign staff to locals, said Mr Lim.

"Over time, more Singaporeans will be qualfied to take on these opportunities and challenges," he said.

joseow@sph.com.sg