Singapore has always been willing to invite foreign talent to inside its borders. That’s why aside from the standard employment pass and dependent pass of Singapore, there is a robust system of work pass which, naturally promotes the concept of giving international talent the chance to add to Singapore’s workforce. It is an attitude that hasn’t seemed to change, and is, in fact, being reiterated by Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang—with a couple of emphasized areas of need! The minister says that foreign manpower is needed in Singapore to supplement the resident workers in fields of construction and health and human services.
The added capabilities of foreign manpower can also be used to anchor and strengthen workforce sectors such as biomedical discovery and aerospace technology industries in Singapore that previously had low or non-existent levels of representation. The minister suggests that training Singaporeans in these industries before the industry infrastructure is setup would rather cause the workers to leave Singapore for work. It is more feasible to bring trained personnel to Singapore first to establish the industries where Singaporeans may then be encouraged to learn the trades under the incentive of guaranteed work available in the new field.
Singapore has adopted the strategy of importing the sector and hiring foreign talent to train its workers.The Ministry of Trade and Industry released a statement in an effort to explain the strategy of calibrated immigration to deal with the concern of an aging population and lack of resident workers in new type work sectors. It also makes an effort to describe the role of imported manpower and convey its importance to companies.
The number of Singaporean professionals, executives, managers and technicians is expected to continue rising through 2030, leaving a gap to filled by foreign workers in jobs that require low skill levels in order to supplement the resident workforce. The ministry is presented with the challenge of calibrating the city-state’s delicate balance of foreign manpower and resident workers in sustaining a healthy workforce.
Overtly liberal access to under-skilled foreign manpower has the proclivity to depress wages for low-skilled jobs and even encourage companies to begin depending on cheap labor rather than progressive movement forward. But a high number of skilled hired foreign workers may lead to residents of Singapore feeling a sense of displacement, and an inordinate amount of pressure on the infrastructure of the workforce in the short run. An overtly restrictive foreign manpower policy is also sure to have a detrimental effect on both the well-being of society and the growth of Singapore’s economy. It may experience an economy that is less vibrant, with lesser amounts of work opportunities and slower growth in wage development.