The Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) has expressed concern about the displacement of local workers by foreigners and has asserted that Singaporeans deserve more protection in the labour market.
Revealing that the party does not think it is a coincidence that the unemployment rate for local Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) has increased as the number of foreign PMETs has also increased, the opposition party said in a Facebook post published on Saturday (30 Nov):
“As Singaporeans, many of us have either been displaced or know someone who has been displaced from their PMET jobs by foreign employees.
“PAP tells us that this is all for the sake of “greater economic prosperity”. But who actually gains from this economic prosperity? Certainly not everyday Singaporeans. But do we not deserve the protection of the PAP government?
“The SDP believes that Singaporeans are more than capable for these PMET jobs. When graduates from our reputable universities are displaced, it’s not an issue of workforce quality anymore. We should not invest into our education system, only to prefer foreign talent over home-grown Singaporean talent.”
The SDP has proposed that a reform of Singapore’s immigration policy is its solution to better protect local workers. The party promises to push for a Singaporeans First policy and a more measured approach towards allowing foreigners to work in Singapore.
The SDP’s Singaporeans First policy was first introduced in June this year, when the party launched its alternative population and immigration policy, Building A People: Sound Policies For A Secure Future.
One of the SDP’s ideas is to introduce a points-based system called the Talent Track Scheme that foreign PMETS wishing to work in Singapore can apply to. Applicants will be assessed and given a set of points based on their qualifications, skills, and experience. Only those who receive the required number of points will qualify to be employed in Singapore.
Employers can then employ these approved foreign workers but can only do so after demonstrating that no Singaporean is available or qualifies for the position. The SDP said that this will prevent firms from hiring foreigners solely because they are able to work for lower wages and ensures that Singaporeans do not suffer from unfair competition with foreigners.
The party proposed: “A nation should always ensure that the well-being of its citizens is prioritised. We therefore propose the implementation of a TalentTrack Scheme to ensure that only foreign professionals whose skills and credentials are rigorously verified may work in Singapore.
“Businesses seeking to hire foreign professionals will be required to demonstrate that the competencies they seek are not available within the Singaporean candidate pool. Fair employment laws will also be passed to protect the interests of workers. This policy should significantly reduce the number of foreign workers in our midst while maintaining a high quality workforce.”
Read the SDP’s population and immigration policy paper HERE.