By Leong Sze Hian –
I refer to the articles “S'pore on right track to cut foreign labour dependency” (Straits Times, Oct 1) and “Shrinking the foreign workforce 'would have dire results'” (My Paper, Oct 1).
The former states that “Overall, the growth in foreign manpower, excluding maids, slowed to 34,100, a 7 per cent drop from the growth registered in the first half of last year”.
79,800 increase in 2011
The increase in foreign workers for the first half of this year (excluding maids) was 34,100, and the increase for the whole year of 2011 was 79,800.
36,667 increase in 1H2011
Given that the first half of this year against the first half of 2011 was a 7 per cent drop, the increase for the first half of 2011 was about 36,667 (34,100 divided by 0.93).
43,133 increase in 2H2011
So, the increase in the second half of 2011 was about 43,133 (79,800 minus 36,667).
2H2011 increased 18% more than 1H2011
This means that the second half of 2011, at 43,133, was about 18 per cent more than the first half of 2011's 36,667.
Curtail foreign workers?
Why was this large increase allowed to happen, when there was the consistent rhetoric to curtail the influx of foreign workers?
Hopefully, the 7 per cent drop in the first half of this year against the first half of 2011, will continue into the second half of this year.
Otherwise, the “on the right track to cut foreign worker dependency” may not be reflected in the full yearly statistics which still show the rate of increase in the foreign workforce at 7.6 and 5.7 per cent in 2011 and 2010, respectively.
S Pass increased 12.5% in just 6 months
Similarly, S Pass holders grew by a whopping 12.5 per cent (25 per cent annualised?) in just the first 6 months of this year, which is higher than the 11.5 per cent for the whole of 2011.
Arguably, the S Pass may be the biggest culprit to competition for jobs with Singaporeans, as these jobs at a monthly salary of $2,000 to less than $3,000, may be the ones that most Singaporeans want.
Finally, the paltry 700 drop in Employment Pass holders for the first half of this year, was more than offset by the 34,800 increase in S Pass (14,200) and Work Permit (20,600) holders. So, employers may simply be hiring more S Pass and Work Permit holders, in place of Employment Pass holders. This may contribute to further pressure to dampen wages in Singapore.