A member of the public, Dr Patrick Liew Siow Gian, wrote to ST Forum today (9 Jan), supporting Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing in his call to import more “foreign talents” into Singapore.
Referring to Minister Chan’s address in Parliament on Monday (6 Jan), Dr Liew said, “Most people would agree that it is important for Singapore workers to have first priority to jobs. However, we must also appreciate the value-add from attracting an appropriate number of foreign talent to our shores.”
On Monday, Minister Chan told Parliament that the purpose of bringing in foreign workers with the right types of skills is to benefit Singaporeans.
Dr Liew continued, “These (foreign) talent can help us pioneer new products and services, expand current and new markets, and develop new businesses and opportunities.”
“They can help create cutting-edge and innovative business models to boost investment and growth. This would attract high-tech firms to invest here, especially firms that can strengthen the implementation of our 23 industry transformation maps,” he added.
“In turn, such organisations can upgrade the skills of workers, create more and better-paying jobs, and meet the needs and expectations of a more educated and increasingly demanding workforce.”
He urged the authorities to continue to educate Singaporeans on the need for a pool of foreign talent.
“The quality of local and foreign talent in Singapore will determine the quality of our achievements,” he said.
While most Singaporeans would not argue with Minister Chan and Dr Liew to bring in foreigners with real talent to help Singapore, many have observed in their daily interactions with their foreign colleagues that quite a number of the foreign staff are just ordinary with no perceivable “talent”.
And sometimes, our local “non-talents” even have to help clear up the mess left behind by the “foreign talents” in their work. A netizen wrote to transitioning.org, a support site for the unemployed, some time ago to describe his frustrations dealing with “foreign talents”.
He recounted, “In the period between 2003~2008 there were heaps of IT professionals flooding in from India. Employing them was easy and since then our company is no longer interested in local IT folks.”
“Our recruitment director was a Japanese who likes the obedience of Indian talents with every ‘can can’ attitude. They ‘can can’ and then when they cannot, it was the few leftover local IT guys who would fix the problems day in and out. This period also coincides with the government’s policy of opening up the flood gate for the foreign work force, talent or not. Our workforce was marginalized and placed on back burner,” he added.
“Fast forward to 2007, the last local IT guy left the company. The friends of Indian IT professional brought in more friends. Suddenly, study IT was a curse to many who wondered why education was valuable. Interview of local IT job candidates never happened from then on. The Japanese recruiting director was replaced by Indian director, interviews were conducted over phone call and Indian talents turn up next week.”
Perhaps Minister Chan or Dr Liew might like to interview that Indian HR Director to find out his baseline in recruiting so-called “talents” in his recruitment process?