S Pass workers may face further tightening measures early next year
Foreign workers in the S Pass category may face further tightening measures as early as the first quarter of next year.
Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin hinted this during a dialogue at the Small and Medium Enterprise Convention this morning.
S Pass holders are for mid-level workers earning at least $2,000 a month.
Statistics from the Manpower Ministry showed that the number of S Pass holders rose from nearly 114,000 last year to about 128,000 as of June this year.
For the first half of this year, the number of Employment Pass holders dipped from 175,400 to 174,700.
Mr Tan said it's likely that companies are using S Passes to bring in more junior-level PMEs.
"We are watching certain sectors. I've mentioned before the S Pass is a sector we are not totally comfortable with because there's a lot of transference of lower Employment Pass into S Pass and we are now exploring measures to perhaps tighten that segment. That's something we are looking at perhaps in the first quarter of next year. So that's work in progress."
In another clear indication of the country's policy on foreign manpower Mr Tan re-iterated there will be no U-turn on the tightening of foreign worker inflows.
However, he explained the government is neither trying to close the tap completely nor to actually reduce the current numbers.
It has always been moderating the increases to a sustainable rate, one that enables businesses to grow.
In addition, Mr Tan assured businesses that his ministry will continue to support SMEs to grow by being more productive.
Mr Tan said preliminary findings from a recent study showed that most companies are aware of the Government's productivity schemes.
The study commissioned by the National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC), found that more than 9 on 10 SMEs were aware of the government productivity drive.
But, only about 1 in 10 said they eventually benefit the schemes.
Some of the reasons cited include having to deal with a tedious application process.
Mr Tan said, over the next few months the Government will look at how to administer such schemes better.
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