At a webinar conference on Tues (4 May), Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), told his audience that Singapore will have to rely on foreigners to fill the technology sector since there is a shortage of tech workers here.
The shortage is partly due to the government policies to tighten foreign hiring in order to offset falling Singaporean employment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Singaporeans make up just over one-third of the estimated 25,000 tech workforce in the local financial sector, Menon said.
“The competition for tech talent is economy-wide as more sectors embark on digitalisation,” he added.
He also said that the pipeline of local tech graduates wasn’t enough to fill the vacancies. It’s not known why the government didn’t want to train more locals in Singapore’s universities to take on tech jobs in this case.
The large mismatch between demand and supply of tech workers meant that “we have to continue to depend on foreigners to fill the growing vacancies for technology jobs over the next few years,” Menon emphasized.
“If we tighten this inflow excessively, it will impair not just the competitiveness of our financial centre but dampen the prospects for creating good jobs in the future, especially for Singaporeans,” he said.
MOM investigating work pass holders with alleged fake degrees
In its eagerness to rely on foreigners to fill up the job vacancies here, the Singapore authorities do slip up from time to time in not thoroughly checking their qualifications before granting work passes for them to work here.
Three months ago in Feb this year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that it was investigating 15 work pass holders who had declared qualifications from Manav Bharti University in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh (‘Ministry of Manpower investigating work pass holders who declared qualifications from Indian private university that sold fake degrees‘).
The announcement came only after the Indian media reported that the said university had sold 36,000 fake degrees across 17 states over 11 years. It was discovered during a routine investigation of a fake degree case by the Indian police.
According to MOM, the 15 individuals were employed in Singapore and had declared qualifications from the university in their work pass applications. “If found to have falsely declared their educational qualifications, their work passes will be immediately revoked and they will be permanently barred from employment in Singapore,” said MOM then.
MOM added that it does conduct its own checks and verification after the employer submits the academic documents as an additional safeguard to uphold the integrity of the work pass framework.
“We scrutinise higher-risk academic institutions, companies and individuals more closely, conduct additional checks and require submission of verification proof of the qualifications declared in selected applications,” it said.
MOM said in the last five years, an average of eight foreigners each year were convicted and penalised by the courts for false declarations of educational qualifications.