Singapore is revising visa rules to attract foreign workers and ease a tight labor market that contributes to wage and price pressures.
Under the new rules, foreigners who earn a minimum of S$30,000 ($21,431) per month can get a five-year work pass, with a stipulation to enable their family members to seek employment, the Ministry of Manpower said. Exceptional applicants in sports, arts, science and academia who do not meet the salary criteria are also eligible for the long-term visa under the Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) pass, effective January 1.
“Both companies and talent are looking for safe and stable places to invest, live and work. Singapore is such a place,” Manpower Minister Tan See Leng told reporters on Monday. “It is therefore high time to seize this opportunity to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global hub for talent.”
The announcement is the latest in a series of decisions this year aimed at tackling the still tight labor market and attracting international companies to boost the city-state’s ambitions as a global financial center, following a slump in the pandemic. era. servants from abroad. Many parts of the economy have seen wage increases this year to attract talent, fueling fears that the escalation in labor costs will contribute to headline inflation that has reached its 14-year high and will force the central bank to tighten monetary policy. to be further refined.
Effective September 1, next year, Singapore plans to exempt jobs, similar to those of the top 10% of Employment Pass holders, from the need to advertise locally before hiring foreigners under a system called the Fair Consideration Framework. . The duration of FCF advertisements, where applicable, will be halved to 14 days, the ministry said, adding that the processing time for all EP applications will be reduced to 10 working days from the current three-week maximum.
The rule change will help the city-state better compete with rival business hubs such as Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates and overtake Australia and the UK, which have similar global talent visas. More than 700 financial professionals moved to Singapore from Hong Kong last year, according to recruiting firm Robert Walters.
The UAE has made it easier for expats this year to work without being sponsored by an employer, and has also switched to a Saturday-Sunday weekend to align the country with global markets as it seeks to bring in more businesses, bringing Dubai positions itself as a cryptocurrency. center.
Singapore has faced particularly challenging labor market dilemmas as the country lives with Covid and the need to charge sectors such as hospitality and food and beverage that have suffered disproportionately from social mobility restrictions that were eventually nearly canceled .
A key metric measuring the supply-demand imbalance of workers rose earlier this year to its highest level since 1998. That trend poses a risk to the productivity of the economy, which officials expect to increase by 3 to 4 percent this year. will grow. than the 3%-5% previously seen – a pace that will be among the slowest in Southeast Asia.
The country is witnessing a decline in labor shortages, Minister Tan said, adding that labor supply in manufacturing and construction, among others, has nearly returned to pre-Covid levels.
The issues are at the top of the income ladder — where Singapore seeks to attract top talent globally, particularly in next-generation, tech-heavy industries — as well as at the bottom. The government has criticized during the pandemic that treatment and broader policies for migrant workers mainly working in the construction sector needed a reboot.
“This is a time when talent makes the difference to a country’s success,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in his speech at the National Day Rally on August 21. “We need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent, just as we focus on attracting and retaining investment.”
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)