13 August 2015

Greater scrutiny of “Double Weak” firms by MOM

13 August 2015

Last month, I announced several measures to give stronger employment support to our local PMEs (Professionals, Managers and Executives). Our purpose is to build a stronger core of Singaporean PMEs in all major sectors of the economy. We believe this will benefit our people with better job and career opportunities. It will also benefit firms here with a more sustainable pool of talent as they restructure for future growth. 

One key measure is to enhance the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). It was introduced last year to ensure that Singaporeans are considered fairly for job openings before firms apply to employ foreign PMEs. MOM is committed to scrutinise the applications for Employment Pass (EP) by what I call “Double Weak” firms: weak in Singaporean Core and weak in commitment to fair consideration in hiring and developing Singaporeans.

Today, I would like to give an update that my MOM colleagues have engaged 150 firms over the past year and identified 38 of them for closer scrutiny. We have also identified about 100 more firms for further engagement. They are the outliers in their respective industries such as Admin & Support, Construction, Infocomm, Finance & Insurance, Professional Services, Transport & Storage and Wholesale Trade. 

Being placed on the watchlist means that MOM will scrutinise their EP applications more closely. They will be asked to provide additional details, such as the number of Singaporeans who applied and were interviewed for the posts, and whether their existing Singaporean employees have been considered. 

MOM will also engage these firms to step up their efforts in the training, development and upgrading of local PMEs. In the event that we have a shortage of qualified Singaporeans in some specific areas, we will encourage them to transfer know-how from the foreign PMEs to their Singaporean staff so that over time, more Singaporeans will be qualified to take on these opportunities and challenges. Should there be "Double Weak" firms that are unresponsive or uncooperative, they will have their EP privileges curtailed.

Human capital is our most precious resource. I believe a majority of the "Double Weak" firms will respond constructively to our call to strengthen their Singaporean Core. I also believe that many of our local PMEs are willing to up-skill and re-skill, and are open to try out some of these jobs and careers we are creating for them. 

Working together, we can help companies to grow their businesses and Singaporeans to grow their careers, in a win-win partnership. 

Minister for Manpower
Lim Swee Say 

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