SINGAPORE: Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan—Jin said the government’s focus is to look after the interest of all working Singaporeans.
He outlined two broad issues for his ministry to tackle in the long term.
The first being how to raise the capabilities of Singaporeans.
Mr Tan said this should be addressed through training, working with agencies to nurture young Singaporeans in various sectors, and strengthening government employment facilitation for the unemployed and those hoping to change careers.
And secondly, how the country calibrates its work pass framework to ensure that foreign workers complement and not just substitute Singaporeans.
Mr Tan pointed out that changes have been made to the foreign worker levy and the dependency ration ceilings.
He said a new area that his ministry is looking at is how other countries implement their entry of foreign talent at the employment pass level category, to ensure that Singaporeans are given fair consideration in the hiring process.
Mr Tan was responding to a question filed by MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Yeo Guat Kwang who asked what the government was doing to ensure that the Singaporean core will not be eroded during an economic downturn, or during significant downsizing of companies.
Mr Tan said in previous downturns, employers have cut back more sharply on foreign manpower, compared to local manpower.
He added the government had also started programmes like the Skills Programme for Upgrading and Resilience (SPUR) and the Jobs Credit Scheme to help workers stay employed.
"These are tools in our tool box that we can draw on, or variants of that as the case may be, depending on the economic situation in our years to come. But I think the most important point to emphasize really is that the best way to ensure that Singaporean workers, Singaporean PMEs, remain meaningfully employed, is really to make sure that our economy remains healthy and vibrant. That Singaporeans are also equipped with the right attitude and aptitudes and skills," he said.
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