By: AJ Jennevieve and Misaki Tan
During the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) webinar on Thursday (June 11), a question was posed to party member Brad Bowyer for his take on the current situation regarding foreigners competing with local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) for jobs.
Mr Bowyer, who said “obviously it is very wrong”, mentioned that before the Covid-19 situation his wife met an Australian who was managing a shop and he was a fresh graduate. This made him think: Why was a fresh graduate from Australia in a job in Singapore when local graduates could not get jobs?
Mr Bowyer noted that many PMETs were losing their jobs multiple times due to the current economic climate. He said one of the first things “we are going to look at as a party” is to stop the inflow of fresh-grad PMETs. If anyone wanted to come to Singapore as foreign talent, that person would have to prove that he was foreign talent. This would mean that he would have to have at least five years of experience. He asked: If that person did not have the experience, what would he add that a Singapore fresh grad could not add?
Noting that there are 400,000 PMETs in Singapore, Mr Bowyer predicted that, in the next three to six months, 100,00 to 150,000 more jobs will be lost. He suggested that one other way to deal with the local PMET unemployment problem would be to send back all foreign PMETs who had less than five years of work experience.
Another PSP member, Ms Kayla Low, introduced some solutions that would help the Government prioritise Singaporeans. She suggested imposing levies and quotas on employment passes to reduce the number of foreign PMETs. Furthermore, she said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) should stipulate that the basic salary level for the foreign talents be 10% to 20% higher than the locals. Thus, this could discourage employers from wanting to hire foreign talent over Singaporeans.
In line with the party’s view on foreign workers, PSP member Taufik Supan added that where education was concerned, the Government should focus on investing in Singaporeans first instead of funding foreign students to come to Singapore to study.
He argued that Singaporean students are the sons and daughters of Singapore, and that it is only right that the Government “(takes) care of their own family first” before taking care of others.
In the same vein, Mr Taufik Supan said that available jobs should be given to Singaporeans first. /TISG