SDP proposes points-based system for foreign workers in response to White Paper

The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has proposed a points-based system to control the quality and quantity of foreign workers coming into Singapore.

It is one of six recommendations made in its population paper released on Thursday that it says will provide a new approach to Singapore's population challenges.

Its 38-page paper comes after the Government's White Paper on Population was endorsed in Parliament last week.

"The Government's White Paper on Population will struggle to tackle Singapore's demographic challenges because it has not departed from the policy fundamentals which gave rise to the present situation," the SDP said. "A new approach is needed."

Unlike the White Paper or the alternative plan posed by the Workers' Party, the SDP's paper does not project a population size, as it said an "arbitrary figure" does not acknowledge that economic, sociological and demographic features change over time.

The party makes controlling immigration the focus of its alternative proposals.

Among its recommendations is the Talent Track Scheme, which would require all foreign workers to be assessed and given points based on a set of criteria including age, number of dependents, qualifications and level of skill, in order to get permission to work in Singapore.

Businesses will also be required to demonstrate that they cannot hire Singaporeans for those jobs first.

"This policy will have the effect of significantly reducing the number of foreign workers while maintaining a high quality workforce in Singapore," the SDP said.

Another proposal is to develop a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) to get a better measure of the well-being of Singapore.

The GPI for Singapore would measure the performance of a basket of indicators across economic, social, security and environmental needs, and would be used alongside the conventional gross domestic product (GDP) measure of economic growth.

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