Photo of Teo Chee Hean from thestraitstimes
Photo of Teo Chee Hean from thestraitstimes

In other countries, only foreigners with years of experience and accredited qualifications can apply for specialist jobs like engineering. However this is not the case in Singapore where fresh graduates from Philippines, India and China are welcomed.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday (April 13), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean opened up his invitation to foreigners to apply for engineering jobs in the Public Service with attractive fresh graduate salaries as high as S$3,800. For those in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, their starting salaries will be S$4,000.

In order to promote a Singaporean core, foreigners who join the Public Service will also be more likely to be invited to be Singapore citizens, as compared to foreigners in the private sector.

“The Government will pay a premium for engineers with skills that are in high demand and short supply, such as malware analysts and those in cyber forensics, or those with niche skills that are specific and critical to the Government…The Public Service will employ an additional 1,000 this year.

If there are not enough Singaporeans to be hired, foreigners will be employed. Also they could well be immigrants who have joined the core and become Singaporeans.”

Although the Deputy PM promoted “a Singaporean core”, he suggested foreigners can be part of this core.

Singaporean engineers are leaving Singapore for higher salaries and better work-life balance in other countries like US and Australia. The private sector in Singapore does not pay well, and starting salaries for engineer grads range around S$2,600. The starting salaries for engineering diploma holders is worse off at S$2,000. Many former Singaporean engineers in their late 30s and 40s are driving taxis as they could not find employment after being retrenched.