Singapore not backing down on foreign worker restrictions

The restrictions on cheap foreign labour has forced companies to invest in technology and other productivity-boosting measures.
By: | November 20, 2018


Singapore will not be loosening up on restricting low-skilled foreign workers, as emphasised by Finance Minister
Heng Swee Kat during an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Heng said that the easy availability of cheap labour had reduced “the pressure and incentive for companies to take productivity upgrading seriously.”

As such, placing curbs on cheap foreign labour has made firms choose to invest further in technology to increase productivity. 

“We begin to see, for instance, a far greater interest now in looking at automation, mechanisation and ways and means of raising productivity,” he said.

The government and the Monetary Authority of Singapore have taken steps to face recruitment concerns in highly-skilled industries including fintech, by forging partnerships with local universities to beef up the local talent pool.

“In terms of bringing in people with the right skill sets, the right talent that will complement and that will be part of our growth strategy — that is something that we’re very focused on, from the Ministry of Manpower to the Ministry of Trade and Industry,” Heng said.

“They are very focused on this issue, and we will want to create the conditions that will allow for the right mix of talent in these new growth areas.”