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500 Firms on MOM’s Watchlist for Unfairly Favouring Foreigners

March 9, 2018

A total of 500 companies in Singapore have been placed on the Fair Consideration Framework watchlist over the past two years for unfair hiring practices. According to Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Monday (March 5), these companies have been unfairly favouring foreigners in their employment practices.

These firms are referred as ‘triple weak’ companies, due to their inability to be up to scratch in having and nurturing a strong Singaporean core, and not having relevance to Singapore’s economy and society. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will pay closer scrutiny to these companies’ Employment Pass (EP) applications.

Speaking during a debate on MOM’s budget, Mr Lim said that since February 2016, 1,900 EP applications have been either rejected or withheld by the ministry, or withdrawn by the companies themselves. Meanwhile, the companies put on the watchlist come from various sectors and include placement agencies, he added.

The minister said, “They have the pre-conceived idea that local PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) are either unable or unwilling to do the job, so they write them off without even considering them fairly.”

See: Financial Services Leaders Plan to Hire New Talents to Manage Disruptive Forces

Mr Lim’s statement was the answer to respond inquiry from MPs such as Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC), Ms Jessica Tan (East Coast GRC) and Mr Lim Biow Chuan (Mountbatten) who asked for an update on the watchlist.

Further, he explained that more than 2,200 Singaporean PMETs were hired after organisations such as the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) and the institutes of higher learning worked with the companies. This scheme is aimed to help the company improve their human resource practices and to recruit fresh graduates and mid-career local PMETs, Straits Times reports.

So far, 150 companies have improved and left the watchlist. For example, an information technology services firm with more than a thousand PMET employees was marked on the watchlist in February 2016. But after working with Tafep and the Infocomm Media Development Authority, it successfully hired about 200 more Singaporeans and has since been removed from the list.

The company continues to adopt progressive human resource practices, which is a win-win outcome for both the business and its workers, said Mr Lim.

Read also: Government to Enhance Grant to Promote Flexible Work Arrangements

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