By Leong Sze Hian
Not a Singaporean in sight?
I recently went to a telephone operator’s service centre/outlet and every staff that I encountered was not a Singaporean – the staff who gives you the queue number, explain the phone purchase contract, accessories sales person, cashier, etc.
I was at a hospital and encountered the same phenomena – the admissions staff, the staff who escorts you to the ward, the nurse, the doctor, the customer service feedback person, the pharmacy, the cashier, etc – were all not Singaporeans.
Come as tourist to find job?
I put the above at the back of my mind until I read the article “Filipino professionals head to Singapore as tourists to seek jobs” (Straits Times, Dec 23).
It states that “Mr Ramz came to Singapore in March as a tourist but his itinerary did not include visiting the Merlion, Universal Studios or Orchard Road.
Instead, the 29-year-old Filipino had only one goal: to find a job.
He would spend hours scouring employment websites every day, and often had only one meal a day to save money.
Finally, after about four months, he landed a job as a financial analyst at an offshore bank, drawing a monthly salary of $2,800.”
Tourist can keep extending stay to find job?
– How is it possible that a foreigner who comes to Singapore as a tourist, can keep extending his stay for 4 months, until he found a job?
Are there any developed countries in the world that allow foreign tourists to do this? I understand that developed countries would require work visas to be applied by the employer normally, whilst the foreign worker is still in his or her home country.
As to “Filipino professionals like Mr Ramz, who declined to give his full name, are increasingly taking a route once used mostly by maids to find employment in Singapore: entering the country as tourists. Once they secure jobs, their employers apply for work passes for them so that they can work here legally.
Won’t grant extension of stay if job prospects unclear?
In Singapore, foreign professionals can apply for jobs while visiting. But the authorities “will not grant an extension of visit passes” if the job prospects are unclear, states the Manpower Ministry on its website.”
– are there any Manpower Ministries in the developed countries that allow “foreign professionals to (can) apply for jobs while visiting” and will “grant an extension of visit passes” unless “the job prospects are unclear” – and say all these on their web sites?
With regard to “However, Manila frowns on it and has been clamping down on its citizens leaving the country as tourists to prevent human trafficking.
Immigration officials at the airports send people home if they do not have two-way tickets and a sufficient amount of cash to prove that they are genuine tourists”
– On a recent trip to an ASEAN country, a passenger on the same flight spoke to me in her native language. I directed her to speak to another passenger who was from her country, and she told us that she was cheated in to coming to Singapore to work in a job that turned out to be very different from what was promised to her.
She was given $2,000 to facilitate entry through immigration into Singapore, and the charge was $200 for this 1-day use of $2,000.
She could hardly speak a word of English and she was flying home after a disappointing few days in Singapore.
Desperately seeking jobs?
In respect of “Graduates earn only about US$400 (S$510) a month in the Philippines whereas in Singapore, they can draw over $2,000.
So, many prefer the tourist route.
It allows employers to interview them in person, increasing their chances of getting hired.
While they are here, many bunk with their friends for free but dip into their savings to pay for food and transportation.
If they cannot find a job before their tourist visa expires in a month, they apply to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority to extend their stay.
In some cases, the extension is rejected”
Intense competition for jobs against Singaporeans?
– is it any wonder why Singaporeans are losing their jobs to foreign workers “left, right and centre”, given how seemingly desperate so many foreign “tourists” may be when they come to find a job in Singapore?
Just go home and come back try again?
And to top it off – “One hopeful foreigner is Ms Mary, 26, a Filipino marketing executive whose employer was unable to renew her S Pass and has to leave Singapore next month.
She said: “I’ve heard of Filipinos who went home without a job. But I’m willing to take my chances and fly here next year as a tourist. I really want to work here.”
Filipinos like Mr Ramz then head to Johor Baru for a few days and re-enter Singapore on a new tourist pass.
“It was stressful. But I told myself to stay positive because I must get a job here,” he said”