Manpower Ministry willing to offer leeway in foreign-worker recruitments

However, organisations must demonstrate their commitment towards cultivating a more manpower-lean business model, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.

As companies press on with efforts to become more manpower-lean, the Ministry of Manpower is open to the idea of offering employees some leeway when it comes to foreign recruitments.

Nevertheless, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, who spoke to 800 senior leaders and HR professionals at a post-Budget dialogue session on Wednesday (March 15) at the Raffles City Convention Centre, was firm in his belief that any relief on foreign worker guidelines will only be on a short-term basis.

"There's no disagreement that we need to break the manpower bottleneck. Based on your feedback, I think we are on the right track,” said Lim.

"In the process, if you need to have some short-term flexibility on our foreign worker policy, we are prepared to consider - on the condition there is a clear action plan to upgrade, to transform."

Lim also emphasised that businesses must undergo "short-term transitional periods" so each sector can become more competitive and enticing for local employment.

"Some of you feel that your sectors have not been able to attract enough Singaporeans. My suggestion is that we work more closely to transform these sectors,” he said.

"In the future, you are going to face a lot of limitations in future growth as we become more manpower-lean."

Lim urged companies to consult with the Manpower Ministry if they needed assistance redefining jobs and careers.

"I want to assure you that for those sectors where job changes are happening very fast, we are going all out to support the job conversions, the upgrading, the re-employability of the workers affected,” he added.

The dialogue was organised by the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) and the Singapore Business Federation.

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