SINGAPORE: Several MPs said local PMETs (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) continued to face unfair competition from foreign workers, despite measures announced in Budget 2013.
Budget 2013 included several announcements to raise foreign worker levies across the board.
Foreign worker quotas for industries such as retail and F&B will also be reduced.
For the higher—skilled workforce, the Manpower Ministry has said it will continue to tighten criteria for Employment Pass or EP holders.
Mr Liang Eng Hwa, MP for Holland—Bukit Timah GRC, said: "There are clearly still a number of firms that had visibly hire a large proportion of foreigners particularly in the managerial level. You can’t help but think whether it is really that difficult to find Singaporeans to fill those managerial positions. These include job roles like HR, finance, compliance, auditing or general admin.
"Or is it a case where some employers or hirers may already have pre—determined mindset that foreigners with international experience can do a better job? More engagements with such employers are necessary so that they gave Singaporeans a fair chance.
"Hence, I agree with my colleagues in this House that some form of market sensing practice, when companies apply for EPs, is necessary. While it may not always leads to a Singaporean hire, at least it made the employers more conscious in their hiring process and to give our local PMEs a chance."
Mr Yeo Guat Kwang, MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, said: "Employers, as responsible corporate citizens, should abide by values such as fairness. This is the case in recruitment drives. Employers need to play their part to ensure that the qualifications, training and skills required of local workers are the same as that required of the foreign workers.
"At the end of the day, I believe that we need to secure migrant workers with the right technical skills, as well as the social adaptability to co—exist with locals who are their co—workers. This will in turn help us focus on productivity and continuous improvement to build a bigger piece of the economic pie for all to share in, and more importantly to ensure benefits of growth in terms of jobs and salary will flow to Singaporeans.
"One area that the government should into is review the entry—level Employment Pass. We must ensure that employers give fair opportunity to fresh graduates from our local polytechnics and universities."
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