Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say’s ministry has recently called up 150 companies with low Singaporean to foreign Employment Pass (EP) holders for talks and requested 38 of them to furnish details of EP applications such as the number of Singaporeans who applied and were interviewed for these jobs.
In his blog, Minister Lim Swee Say called these companies “double weak firms”, which in his own terms, “weak” in the number of Singaporeans hired and “weak” in the attempt to hire Singaporeans:
“One key measure is to enhance the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). It was introduced last year to ensure that Singaporeans are considered fairly for job openings before firms apply to employ foreign PMEs. MOM is committed to scrutinise the applications for Employment Pass (EP) by what I call “Double Weak” firms: weak in Singaporean Core and weak in commitment to fair consideration in hiring and developing Singaporeans.Today, I would like to give an update that my MOM colleagues have engaged 150 firms over the past year and identified 38 of them for closer scrutiny. We have also identified about 100 more firms for further engagement. They are the outliers in their respective industries such as Admin & Support, Construction, Infocomm, Finance & Insurance, Professional Services, Transport & Storage and Wholesale Trade.Being placed on the watchlist means that MOM will scrutinise their EP applications more closely. They will be asked to provide additional details, such as the number of Singaporeans who applied and were interviewed for the posts, and whether their existing Singaporean employees have been considered.“
Although Minister Lim Swee Say claim that he is helping Singaporean Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), he however did not look at firms with high foreign S-Pass ratio. S-pass holders are a greater threat than E-pass holders because their legislated minimum salaries are as low as S$2,200. Most Singaporean PMEs have been suffering from depressed wages as Singapore employers could save more from hiring foreign graduates on S-pass.
Since 2009, the Singapore Government imported 77% more foreign PMEs.(S-pass and E-pass holders) from 197,000 to 349,000. It is only when the General Election is coming this year did the Manpower Ministry changed his tune and decide to curb on the foreign influx.