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Ministry of Manpower Puts 500 Businesses on Watchlist for Not Helping Locals Get Employed




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This year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has doubled the number of businesses that have not exerted sufficient effort to help locals who are seeking employment. Lim Swee Say, Manpower Minister, says that these companies will receive censure.

In a speech to Parliament on Monday, March 5, in the context of the debate of the Committee of Supply for MOM’s budget, Mr. Lim said that these businesses have made assumptions that Singaporean managers, executives and other professionals either do not want the jobs they offer, or are incapable of doing these jobs. Mr. Lim said, “So they write them off without even considering them fairly … Their Employment Pass applications are subjected to additional scrutiny.”

The total number of companies on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watchlist is now at 500, double of what it was this time last year, when it was at 250. These companies come from different sectors such as financial and insurance activities industries, information and communication technology, professional services and others.

The Fair Consideration Framework was implemented to make sure that companies would fairly consider Singaporeans for new hires, and the companies on the list will undergo a close inspection of their hiring processes and Employment Pass applications.

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Almost 2000 Employment Pass (EP) applications submitted by the companies on the list have either been rejected or held back by MOM, or taken back by the businesses that issued them.  Mr. Lim has said that out of the 500 companies on the watchlist, 150 have complied concerning human resource processes and have been removed from the list. However, 60 other companies have refused compliance. This has resulted in the ministry cutting short the work pass privileges of these companies. And until they modify their human resource processes to be more fair, they are not allowed any further EP applications nor renew existing ones.

“We will continue to fight this win-lose mindset. Because it results in a waste of our precious human capital,” Mr. Lim added, though the ministry did not name the companies who were non-compliant. He emphasized that ministry is concentrating on helping the companies develop human resource processes that are better, so that they can help locals more, and be removed from the watchlist.

When companies are put on the list, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) steps in and holds personal conferences with the companies in order to determine where fair consideration processes can be implemented, including evaluating job applicants based on their merits, and developing employees potential and career advancement, whether or not they are locals. Tafep then makes a report of the company’s progress to MOM.

The ministry itself is improving the Fair Consideration Framework’s requirements to help Singaporean nationals obtain better employment. Starting from July, the requirements will include advertisements for new employment with firms of at least 10 employees, and jobs that have a salary of S$15,000 every month, up from S$12,000.

The framework requires companies to post openings on the national Jobs Bank for a minimum period of two weeks, before they are allowed to submit EP applications.

At the moment, companies with fewer than 25 workers are considered exempt from the Fair Consideration Framework.

The ministry spokesman said, “These changes will ensure that the FCF job advertising requirement keeps pace with income changes, and that the local workforce continues to be fairly considered for job opportunities.”

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