We will continue to bring in foreign talent “in a calibrated manner” as we have always done, to create more opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (8 September).
Speaking at a virtual forum organised by Standard Chartered Bank, Mr Chan addressed the issue of foreign talent which has been much debated recently, noting that “this scrutiny is not unique to Singapore”.
He explained, “Every country facing economic slowdown and recession will have elements questioning the balance between locals and foreigners in the job market”, as reported in Channel News Asia.
By bringing in the foreign talent, Mr Chan also asserted that it will enable the businesses to plan for future, access the best minds, and allow Singaporeans to learn from the best, and thus create more opportunities for the country and the people.
“Let me be clear. We want the world’s best and brightest to be with Team Singapore – to augment our skills and capabilities, competing on our side rather than against us, and ultimately, to benefit Singaporeans, not to substitute or to hurt them,” he noted.
Speaking about the Government’s move to emphasise quality than quantity in the foreign worker policies, Mr Chan clarified that it is not a sign that Singapore is turning away top foreign talent, but to show that the country is “serious about discriminatory hiring practices”.
He stressed that all businesses – regardless of size and nationality – will have to play their role to build up the Singaporean workforce and provide Singaporeans “a fair shot at the same job opportunities”.
As part of “good business continuity practices”, he said that the Government encourages the companies to “have a diverse workforce, and not overly rely on any particular source of labour from any particular foreign country”.
He added that this will also help the country in the social integration.
“That is how we will continue to keep Singapore relevant, as the preferred hub for Singapore companies and international companies,” he noted.
The Government’s action in tackling the foreign talent issue and discriminatory hiring practices however has upset the netizens. Penning their thoughts on the Facebook page of TODAY and Channel News Asia, the netizens called the Government to act and convince the people with the results, instead of just “uttering these meaningless statement”.
“A simple idea if not carried out probably would do more harm than good…Stop dreaming and do some real work,” a netizen wrote.
A handful of netizens also doubted if the Government has really attracted “the best and brightest talents”.
The netizens also pointed out that the education system in Singapore should be improved because Singapore have to bring in the foreigners to coach the Singaporeans as if the current education system cannot produce best talents.