Monday, August 30, 2010

Singapore needs more foreign workers in order to grow

Got this from Strait Times – with the current rate of population growth in Singapore, it is very clear that it will need to draw talent from all over the world to supplement the local pool.

SINGAPORE needs foreigners to grow the economy and create jobs for Singaporeans, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Local companies Keppel and SembCorp, for instance, hire 20,000 people here, including 5,000 Singaporeans. But without the foreign workers, these Singaporean jobs would not exist, and vice versa, he added.

This is because too few Singaporeans want to become welders or marine workers, and Singapore is not producing enough engineers and technicians.

Foreign workers, on the other hand, bring a wide range of skills and experiences, and knowledge about different markets around the world.

With a booming economy, Mr Lee said more foreign workers will still be needed to create more jobs in Singapore. But the numbers will be smaller - about 80,000 more this year and not 100,000 as previously announced.

'With local and foreign workers working together, Keppel and SembCorp have become world beaters,' said Mr Lee.

He reiterated the need for foreigners to top up the population shortfall, given how the Government efforts to produce more Singaporean babies have not yielded results.

However, he drew a distinction between foreign workers and immigrants, or PRs and new citizens.

Foreign workers are transients who work in factories, banks and shipyards, and leave when the job is done, he said.

And although the Government is pushing for higher productivity in order to reduce the reliance on foreign workers, they are still needed for large scale projects such as more HDB flats and new MRT lines.

He asked Singaporeans to bear with the larger numbers for the time being.

As for immigrants, he stressed that their numbers are far smaller, and that the Government is very careful with whom they accept: New citizens and PRs must not only contribute economically, but also integrate into our society and strike roots here.

He recognised that while the inflow of foreigners has helped Singapore become a more cosmopolitan city with a more vibrant economy, and build a new Marina Bay, it also had its side effects: overcrowding, social frictions and the sense that society is changing too quickly.

Mr Lee promised to consolidate and slow down pace, as Singapore cannot continue to take in as many as it has been been doing in the past few years.

source: Strait Times

In Singapore, the term immigrant workers is separated into foreign workers and foreign talents.

  • Foreign workers refers to semi-skilled or unskilled workers who mainly work in the manufacturing, construction, and domestic services sectors.
  • Foreign talents refers to foreigners with professional qualifications or acceptable degrees working at the higher end of Singapore’s economy.

The Singaporean government  has carefully constructed a system under which different types of employment passes are issued to immigrant workers according to their qualifications and monthly salaries. The “P, Q, R” employment-pass system was put into practice since September 1998; a new “S” type employment pass was later introduced in July 2004.

The government has also set different policies on recruiting foreign talents and foreign workers. The different policies towards 'Foreign workers' and 'Foreign talents' in Singapore have led some people to feel that their contributions toward Singapore’s development are valued differently.

No comments:

Post a Comment