Singapore needs to remain open to skilled foreign workers, especially in the technology sector, in order to ensure the economy stays a globally competitive one, the nation’s trade minister said.
The city state can’t afford to take an “inward-looking, protectionist approach” like some countries that have put up barriers to protect local industries and workers, Minister for Trade & Industry Chan Chun Sing said in prepared remarks delivered in parliament Monday.
He was responding to a question from a lawmaker on whether there was a need for a new government program aimed at helping technology firms attract skilled foreign workers, given a worsening economy and an objective of strengthening the local workforce, Bloomberg reports.
With a global shortage of skills in the technology sector, if Singapore doesn’t stay open to foreign talent, “we will almost certainly be left behind,” Chan said. He cited countries like France and Thailand, which have recently made changes to their work visa programs to lure skilled professionals in technology.
“We must be prepared for these fast-growth companies to recruit the skills they most require,” the minister said. “In the short-term, these skills may come from global professionals. But, we must take a strategic view on this to reap the long-term rewards for Singaporeans.”
He also gave the following updates on the government’s skills measures: