Singapore's Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has stressed that there are no exemptions to the need for firms to consider Singaporeans fairly in the hiring process.Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Mr Tan also said that Singapore remains committed to being open, dynamic and competitive even with the Fair Consideration Framework in place.
He said: "Being open, dynamic and diverse does not mean that you cannot ensure that fair consideration takes place as well."
The two, said Mr Tan, are not mutually exclusive.
Under the new rules, employers must show due consideration to Singaporeans, before hiring skilled professional foreigners on Employment Passes.
They must advertise the job vacancy to Singaporeans in a new jobs bank, which will go online by middle of next year, for at least 14 days.
There are exemptions - for example, for jobs paying salaries of S$12,000 or more a month.
Mr Tan said this is because open advertising is usually not done for them.
Such jobs cover only 5 per cent of the local workforce. The vast majority of jobs would be covered by the advertising requirement.
The advertising rule is also not required for rank and file jobs.
This is because there are other tools such as levies and dependency ratio ceilings for this.
Mr Tan said such tools will spur firms to search for suitable Singaporeans before applying for S Pass or Work Permit.
He said his ministry will monitor the implementation of the new rules and make adjustments, if necessary.
Members of Parliament (MPs) also raised other issues.
Nominated Member of Parliament Eugene Tan asked: “What are the triggers (the Manpower Ministry) would rely on when we talk about post-hiring employment decisions? Certainly we cannot just rely on complaints and I think the Fair Consideration Framework would just be a toothless tiger of relying on employees to file complaints.”
MP for Hougang Png Eng Huat said: "If a firm can attract so many locals to apply and yet at the end of it not one Singaporean is considered suitable for it then something is amiss. It's either the company is bent on hiring non-Singaporeans or our education system is not churning out the right mix."
Mr Tan replied: "It is not a silver bullet. These measures will not completely solve every single problem. A lot of this is about attitudes and mindsets. But what we are doing is to signal clearly and especially where there are complaints and there are sectors that fall short of what we deem as acceptable levels, we would go in and look at it in detail."
Mr Tan said trigger points his ministry will look into include peer sector monitoring - looking at other companies in the same sector to see the proportion of Singaporeans they hire and looking at how the whole economy is going and the trends in hiring.
Firms will be given some time to adjust. Selected firms under additional scrutiny will be notified by the first quarter of next year. Employers submitting new Employment Pass applications will have till August next year, to comply with the advertising requirements.
Source: Channel NewsAsia