About 50 Firms on the Watchlist for Not Giving Singaporeans a Fair Chance During Recruitment: MOM

March 7, 20178:39 am464 views

About 50 firms have been placed on the Fair Consideration Framework watchlist for not being receptive and cooperative towards Singaporean recruitment, said Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say in the Parliament yesterday.

Hence, as a result more than 500 Employment Pass (EP) applications from these employers have either been rejected by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) or withdrawn by the companies.

During Ministry’s Committee of Supply debate, Mr. Lim gave an update on the Fair Consideration Framework watchlist that enlists companies having been identified for having not meeting the minimum criteria of possessing and building a Singaporean core in their workforce, in terms of holding relevance to the economy and society.

These companies span across industries such as Information and Communication technology, insurance and finance. “We have not seen enough improvement after 6 months of engagement with them,” said Mr Lim. “We will continue to curtail their work pass privileges until they improve.”

Also 250 more companies are added to the watchlist at the end of February. Once these companies are on the list, they are guided by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP) to improve their employment practices over a period of 6 months, Channel News Asia reports.

While some firms responded positively to incorporate change in their recruitment practices and strengthen the Singaporean core, by hiring 800 more Singaporean PMEs collectively since they were placed on the watchlist. “If they continue to improve and adopt fair and progressive practices, they can progressively be removed from the watchlist,” Lim stressed.

Watchlist in itself is a negative measure taken against unfair employers who are just a small minority of firms. Lim further emphasised, that a vast majority of locals are treating employers fairly while hoping that the action taken against these unfair employers will help reshape the local-foreign mindset for the better.

As Singapore forges into a new economy it is important for Singaporeans to embrace a new mindset. The Government is starting small by recently launching the Human Capital Partnership programme earlier this month, with group of 74 employers who employ about 100,000 Singaporeans.

See: Skills Shortages Continue to Worry Employers in Singapore in 2017

With the watchlist and HCM partnership, MOM will adopt a differentiated approach in engagement of companies. While HCM employers will enjoy a “fast lane” to access MOM’s development schemes and services, with hotline access to MOM.

However, employers with fair work practices will be in the “normal lane” and employers who engage in unfair HR practices, such as those on the Fair Consideration Framework watchlist, will be in the “slow lane”. This will send a clear message to all employers that foreign manpower is and will always be an integral part of the Singapore workforce, Mr. Lim said.

There are about 1.2 million foreign workers, excluding foreign domestic workers that detail the make-up of the Singapore workforce. About 40 percent of these foreign workers take on labour-intensive jobs few locals want, in sectors such as construction.

And about 45 percent of them do jobs that locals will opt for, and the remaining 15 percent foreigners working here are in global headquarters. “On the whole, most of the foreigners working in Singapore do complement our local workforce rather than substitute our locals,” Mr. Lim clarified.

The overall perception being held among Singaporeans that the foreign workforce is here to take away jobs is because employers in some segments are not giving enough consideration to the recruitment and development of local manpower.

Hence, MOM expects employers to give a fair consideration to the recruitment and development of local manpower as well. “This is not only the right thing to do for our people, but also the right things to do for businesses for both to grow better in the future economy,” Lim stressed.

Also read: Singapore’s Online Hiring Sentiment to Remain Restrained In 2017

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