A check on a popular online expat forum shows that the Manpower Ministry (MOM) continues to issue work passes for foreign PMETs to work in Singapore amidst the current COVID-19 crisis.
At the end of last year, the number of foreign PMETs (Employment Pass and S Pass holders) hit almost 400K at 393,700. This was the largest increase at 3.3% since the last general election in 2015 (‘Number of foreign PMETs in Singapore hits 400K; largest increase last year since 2015 GE‘).
Many of the foreign PMETs were granted a work pass upon appeal by the recruiting companies:
Singaporeans struggling to find jobs
Meanwhile, it has been reported that many Singaporeans are struggling to find jobs amidst the current crisis cause by COVID-19 pandemic.
Fresh graduates were not spared. In the last 3 months, final-year NTU mathematics and economics student Lynette Lua, 23, has applied for jobs in more than 60 companies. She told the media that she got through to the final stages of interviews with at least two companies. But they eventually dropped her, citing reasons such as reduction in headcount in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If this was a ‘normal’ year, I think I could have got pretty decent opportunities,” Ms Lua said. “Smaller companies or start-ups are quite reluctant to hire now because they are not sure what will happen with regard to COVID-19. When even the larger MNCs started to reduce headcount and revoke some roles, I started feeling anxious.”
Another Singaporean struggling to find a job is Ms Alvina Tan, 40. She actually got a new job at a market research company in February. But as the coronavirus outbreak worsened, she was suddenly told she was not a good fit and found herself out of a job.
Currently on the hunt, she is scouring websites like LinkedIn and JobStreet as well as the MyCareersFuture.sg portal, and has sent out a number of job applications. So far, she has heard back from just one employer. She did not get the job. She previously drew a salary of about $10,000 and expects to be able to survive for in the next few months without income. But with the mortgage on her flat and other loans to pay, she is terribly worried.
Mr Ashleigh Choo, 27, who has been looking for a job since January, began actively sending out two to three applications a day last month to no avail. He had left his advertising job thinking of moving to a different industry. But the company he was in discussion with decided to stop hiring. He said that while he is open to most opportunities, many jobs advertised online are temporary, such as those in kitchens or warehouses, and the pay offered has dropped in recent weeks.
It’s not known why those companies who appealed to MOM and successfully obtained a work pass for their foreign employees would not want to give Singaporeans a chance. More importantly, it’s not known if those companies have considered Singaporeans fairly through the national Jobs Bank administered by MOM.