Singaporeans have complained, and the government has acted. It is now going to be even more difficult for foreign hires to bring their families to Singapore as they will need to earn at least $5,000 a month. Companies looking to hire foreign PMETs will also need to play by tougher hiring rules. These are the latest in a slew of tightening measures designed to make it harder for foreigners to get hired here.
In essence, foreigners whose skills do not entitle them to relatively high paying jobs will find it harder to get a job and settle permanently here. While companies are moaning and groaning that they’ll need to search high and low for Singaporeans who are good enough or willing to fill their vacancies, here’s why Singaporeans might have reason to celebrate.
Increased hiring opportunities
Obviously, if it’s getting harder to hire foreigners to fill job vacancies, it also means it’s a good time to be a Singaporean looking for a job. In particular, PMET Singaporeans vying for entry level jobs or posts with salaries that fall below the $4500 mark needed for foreigners seeking Category P2 Employment Passes (or $3300 for jobs that can be filled by candidates seeking Category Q1 Employment Passes) stand to benefit.
In general, the job market at present is already one in which employees can afford to pick and choose, so Singaporeans are really spoilt for choice.
Higher bargaining power for salaries
Hiring foreigners just got a lot more expensive. Now that companies need to pay foreign candidates more in order to enable them to qualify for Employment Passes, many are also facing a shortage of overseas candidates they can afford. That is good news for middle income Singaporean hopefuls—not only has the competition been eliminated, they also have greater bargaining power over their salaries.
An employer would usually prefer to pay a Singaporean a little more than pay a lot more for a foreign candidate. And of course, the new rules also remove to a certain extent the dangers of having salaries undercut by cheaper hires from overseas—in fact, many foreign job seekers in Singapore have been decrying the fact that it is now much harder to find a job due to the fact that employers prefer to hire cheaper Singaporeans.
Better interaction with foreign colleagues
While many view Singapore’s immigration policy as an open door one that lets in any Tom, Dick or Harry, the government is actually getting a lot more selective these days, with a view to recruiting those who are more highly skilled and with the ability to upkeep their families here on a medium to long term basis.
Singaporeans who have cried foul over foreign colleagues who are unqualified or incompetent and just looking to make a quick buck here might now find that they are able to learn a thing or two from their highly skilled foreign colleagues. At the very least, tensions seem to have died down a little and the population is a little less vocal these days about their jobs being “stolen by foreigners”.
What Singaporeans Can Do
Now that hiring foreigners is a lot more expensive, Singaporeans stand a better chance of getting hired in positions that might otherwise have been filled by someone from overseas. However, it is crucial to understand that often a foreigner is hired because he possesses skill sets that few locals have.
For instance, few Singaporeans obtain university degrees in fields such as human resources or speech therapy, making it impossible to find qualified locals. Being aware of the gaps in the market and obtaining relevant qualifications and skills are a smart way to home in on vacancies that few Singaporeans can fill.
Have you been affected by the stricter rules on hiring foreigners? Tell us in the comments!