Work Visas: The Challenges of Hiring Foreign Workers in Singapore
The guidelines relating to hiring foreign workers in Singapore are becoming tougher. A lot of prominences is currently being given to locals for the higher quality hires, and whether you are a foreigner or a citizen looking forward to getting in some foreign workers to join your workforce, you should know that things have changed and it is not going to be as easy as it used to be a while back. Here is a look at some of the challenges you are likely to run into:
The Fair Consideration Framework
The Fair Consideration Framework was launched in 2014, and it had a direct effect on the rate of work visa approval in Singapore. It stipulated a list of tough hiring requirements that every business bringing in foreigners had to meet before a work visa was granted. This was aimed at ensuring that the citizens and the local workforce could have access to more job opportunities before such were availed to foreigners. With this framework, a lot of work visas are not being renewed, and this implies that the foreign workforce is shrinking at a very faster rate. In a few years to come, you will need to have skills that are completely not available in Singapore for you to have a work visa.
Rules to get tighter after 2018
In addition to the Fair Consideration Framework, rules for employing foreign workers in Singapore have become tighter after 1st of July 2018. A directive was issued that any company interested in bringing in foreigners to join their workforce with a fixed monthly salary of SGD 15,000, such has to be first advertised in the National Jobs Bank board for a period of at least 14 days. The company will be allowed to consider foreign workers only if there are no citizens to fill up that position.
Initially, such a requirement was applicable for positions with fixed salaries of SGD 12,000 and for companies with at least 25 employees. But that has since changed, and everything has to go through the job portal which is a special reserve for citizens and permanent residents.
Dependents are also affected
It is not just foreign workers in Singapore who are affected by the changes, but also their dependents. For example, you may wish to bring your spouse in Singapore when you get a work visa, but things have also tightened on the conditions under which such dependents will be allowed into the city-state. At the moment, if you have a work visa in Singapore, you must have a minimum salary of $6000 for you to bring in your spouse and children. If you want to bring in your parents, then you must have a minimum salary of $12,000. This is an increase of $5000 and $10,000 respectively on the monthly salaries.
As it stands, getting a work visa to Singapore is not going to get any easier and the country is now keener on having the best opportunities for their citizens. However, the country is facing serious problems due to an ageing population and a low fertility rate which is slowly eating into the base of the citizens.
The government is trying to come up with measures to preserve the best for their citizens, as well as to deal with the diminishing manpower, and it will take time before rules are relaxed for foreign workers in Singapore. For business, there will be the need to work with the manpower currently available if the entry requirements for foreigners can’t be met, or there might be the need to sponsor citizens to acquire the specific skills for which a foreign worker may be needed.