Singapore saw the major drop in the number of foreigners with work visas in 2017. The deterioration of 32,000 was 10 times more than 2016’s decline of 2,500.
Singapore’s ambitious economic growth targets have been hindered by an attenuation pool of its only natural resource – its people. The island state’s declining total fertility rate – currently at a seven-year low of 1.16 – has been mentioned as the main reason to bring in foreign talent and increment the local resident workforce.
Though, the political and social effects of a relatively open immigration policy from more than 10 years ago have been emphasized of late as the government continues to adjust its policies in order to solidity talent shortage in high-growth sectors and employment opportunities for its citizens.
Work visa approvals have been exaggerated since the launch of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) in 2014, a list of hiring requirements to confirm that the local labor force has access to more job opportunities.
According to India’s business magazines and channels, NDTV, local IT industry body, NASSCOM has seen the number of Indian professionals in Singapore’s tech sector shrink to under 10,000 with work visas not being renewed upon expiry. As a result, India’s technology companies are finding very difficult to maintain their employee base, let alone increase hiring in Singapore.
Since 1st July 2018, companies willing to hire foreign employees on Employment Visas for positions where the monthly salary is below S$15,000 must advertise the positions at the National Jobs Bank portal for at least 14 days. This relates to all companies with 10 or more full-time employees. However, the talent shortage in technology sectors such as data analytics, programming, Artificial Intelligence, Networking, and cyber-security is binding growth plans of companies affected. They have no other choice than outsource or set up overseas teams while maintaining headquarters in Singapore or forego the opportunity to grow.
While Singapore companies continue to try and offer fair employment for its country fellow citizens, it is not completely restricting foreigner hire but rather trying to manage this with a more judicious approach based on industry and demand of requirements.
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