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MOM tightens Jobs Bank advertising requirements while companies flout rules

In Parliament on Monday (5 Mar), Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say announced expanding the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) to give Singaporeans fair access to more high-quality jobs.

"We will expand the requirement to advertise jobs on the national Jobs Bank before EP (employment pass) application to cover more employers," he said.

From Jul 1, companies with 10 or more employees wanting to employ foreigners for jobs paying less than $15,000 a month will need to advertise on the national Jobs Bank to seek out our local applicants first.

The job advertisements will have to be put up on the Jobs Bank website for at least 2 weeks. Only after the companies can't get any local workers will they be allowed to apply for EPs for foreigners to work in their companies.

At present, the advertising requirements are companies with 25 or more employees and jobs paying less than $12,000 a month.

"These changes will ensure that the FCF job advertising requirement keeps pace with income changes, and that the local workforce continues to be fairly considered for job opportunities," he said.

Hence, by changing the criteria, the thinking is that more companies and more jobs would be advertised in the Jobs Bank, giving our local job applicants more opportunities to apply to.

EPs are meant for foreign PMETs and requires candidates to earn at least $3,600 a month and hold acceptable academic qualifications.

Loophole

However, questions have been raised by netizens if Jobs Bank can really help Singaporeans to get fair access to high-quality jobs, as a company bend on hiring a foreigner can still put up the job advertisement on Jobs Bank for 14 days just to "wayang", before hiring the foreigner.

The company can always give the excuse that all the Singaporean applicants cannot meet their requirements.

For example, the following posting was found on Singapore Expats Forum.

Apparently, a company had already offered a job to a foreigner. However, the company told him to wait as they had to first post the job advertisement on Jobs Bank for 14 days.

Then for the next 10 days, the foreigner did not see the said job advertisement on Jobs Bank and began to panic. He then wrote to Singapore Expats Forum to seek advice.

In this particular case, one has to ask how did the company select the foreigner for the job even before putting up the job advertisement in Jobs Bank to begin with?

NTUC Assistant Secretary-General also questions the effectiveness of Jobs Bank

Even National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), a labour union that has been mostly supportive of the policies by the People's Action Party (PAP) led administration, voiced its concern on whether the advertising requirement under FCF works.

In a media interview in 2015, NTUC Assistant Secretary-General and PAP MP Patrick Tay said, "Now the question is whether just by having that advertising requirement is sufficient to nudge employers to take the bold step to hire more Singaporean PMEs because it’s just a mere advertising requirement; there’s no requirement for employers to share placement figures."

"We do not have data on rates of placement for some of these jobs advertised in the jobs bank. That’s one area I think can be improved on. Sharing data, how many of these jobs are posted, how many of these jobs actually got to local PMEs."

In 2016, an employer wrote to TOC exclaiming his shock when he saw one after one resume from foreigners sent in. He said that he was disappointed with how JobsBank fails to perform its set goal to strengthen the Singaporean core in the workforce by allowing foreigners to send in the job applications and ask why was there no filters put in place to ensure only Singaporeans can submit their job applications.

Indeed, how many of the jobs posted on Jobs Bank actually go to Singaporeans?

Care to make a guess?