MOM statistics show there were more foreign PMETs in the Singapore workforce last year


According to a Straits Times article published today, there were fewer foreigners and more locals in the workforce last year. Citing the latest figures released by the Ministry of Manpower yesterday, the article proclaimed that the number of foreigners working here fell by 32,000 before acknowledging that most of these jobs come from the construction and marine shipyard industries.

When it comes to skilled foreigners on employment passes, the article acknowledged that the drop was much less significant and amounted to 4,500 fewer skilled EP-holders in the workforce last year. The article attributed this decline to more businesses employing locals.


This news is certainly welcome, give uncertainties on the ground over the unemployment and underemployment of local PMETs. The Straits Times report appears to show that the decline in foreigners – particularly skilled foreign workers – has positively impacted local workers.

But has it? Has the number of foreign PMETs really dropped?

The detailed figures released by the Ministry show that there is more than what meets the eye:

The figures show that while the number of EP-holders did decline by 4,600 last year, the number of S-Pass holders rose by 4,700. Presently, foreign PMETs need to earn a minimum of $3,600 monthly to obtain an EP or earn at least $2,200 monthly to obtain an S-Pass.

This indicates that there was, in fact, an increase in the number of foreign PMETs here last year.

Further, the figures show that while the total foreign workforce has dropped since 2016, the total foreign workforce excluding construction workers and foreign domestic workers (FDWs) has actually climbed from 787,800 to 788,500. This means that the total foreign workforce here excluding construction workers and FDWs has been the highest it has ever been since 2012.


  1. Now you know how bad the PAP is . They keep telling that foreigners used less in 2016 and 2017 Really the maids and construction workers were returning home because of people unable to afford maids and construction companies stopping work. But the number of foreign PMETs have risen tremendously. THE PAP LIED!

    • I see the lie long ago. As a Singaporean, I’m working as a contract staff for seven years without chances of converting. Even when I requested. Why? Because I’m here just to mantain the head count for FT employing.

  2. More foreigners potentially may results in the following:-

    1) Worker’s levy increase
    2) Personal Income Tax increase
    3) GST increase
    4i) substantial rental market resulting in substantial rental income subjected to income tax on the property owner
    4ii) This will also translate generally into a higher amt of property tax collection due to the general increase in rental income, resulting in increase of annual value of our property.
    4iii) stamp duty collection increase due to the activities of the rental market.
    5) with a large foreign workforce (on the assumption that productivity remains, it will generally results in lower manpower costs for companies. That translates to higher net income & hence, higher corporate tax as well)

  3. How am I not surprise?!!! All jobs created are for foreign trash. Job bank is a smoke screen and is completely useless. To implement HR function of any company in spore cannot be head by a foreigner, that will be a start to help pmets looking for a decent job.

  4. Ft even in Minister & gov. CowBoWan is Msian. Now many indians ministers in cabinet, ministry, state ministers,..judges, MAS chief, DBS, Temasek, GIC, civil servants…do they look like Sporean indians? foreign borned FT given citizenship?.

    The US CIA is flooding Spore with Indians to take over, as part of Quart(4 clowns- US, Austr, Jp, India) containment of China.

    All 4 are broke no money, only war & weapons to sell. India even got many conman & criminals to export.

  5. There are many cases of discrimination based on race in Singapore. TAFEP (Tripartite Agreement for Fair Employment Practices) had reported this.
    What hv they done effectively in response to complaints of discrimination, instead of paying lips service?
    The other forms of discrimination – based on age, gender, disability and nationality – are equally divided in numbers.

    We hv many public listed companies eg UOB that do not hv minorities and females in their Boards.
    Maybe some tokenism. What has TAFEP done to remedy this, esp the public listed companies…some of which are family controlled.

  6. I work in ST. ST HR policies to trick MOM.
    Keep get staff to sign contract to work for 1. Then get them to sign contract and get them to start work one day after their contract ends. Obviously there are loop holes in hiring process in ST.
    Apart, ST HR do not KNOW MUCH technically but it EMPLOYS tons of immigrants in ACCOUNTING / HR / Finance etc that DO NOT need much skill sets. Yet they can tell you to UPGRADE.
    Problems in SG might be in ST type of HR practices. Entire HR department NEED to be SACKED.

  7. Unless new citizens population are more than locals, local citizens need to start rethink how the future of Singapore should be at the ballot box. Do you really need an out of control foreign population that affects job market, housing and education ?