Stricter S-pass criteria

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Stricter S-pass criteria

Post  Admin on Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:04 pm

THE Government will tighten the criteria for semi-skilled foreign workers coming to Singapore. This will improve the skills and quality of such foreigners working here, said Acting Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Friday.

He did not give details of the move but said that his ministry will brief the industry of the changes. He was responding to seven MPs who spoke about Singapore's foreign manpower policy during the debate on his ministry's budget.

Among them, Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC) and Madam Halimah Yacob (Jurong GRC) raised the plight of local professionals. They noted that this category of foreign skilled workers compete directly with local professionals facing retrenchments or looking for jobs.

Dr Lim wanted to know if the Manpower Ministry would reduce the number of employment passes to these semi-skilled foreign workers, also known as S-Pass holders. S-Pass, which was introduced in 2004, is an employment pass for semi-skilled workers with diploma level or post-secondary level education and who earn at least $1,800 a month.

They are meant to supplement sectors where there is a lack of skilled Singaporeans or fill jobs which locals did not want to do, such as nursing and marine engineering. As of December 2007, there were 757,000 non-residents on work permits, 143,000 on employment or S passes and 85,000 on student passes.

Mr Gan said his ministry would tighten the criteria but stressed that foreigners play important roles in Singapore's economy.

[Source: straitstimes.com]

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