Under a new scheme that kicked in yesterday, firms working to advance Singapore’s key economic priorities will temporarily be allowed to hire a few more foreign workers than permitted by the prevailing quotas for their industry, a move that may benefit Indian workers.
These firms, recognised for their role in keeping Singapore competitive, can apply to take on more S Pass (Special Pass) and work permit holders than they are currently allowed, under the newly launched Manpower for Strategic Economic Priorities (M-SEP) scheme.
If approved, their quotas for foreign workers on either pass will be expanded by up to 5% of their existing base workforce, capped at 50 additional workers, for two years at a time, and renewable.
Singapore draws its foreign workers mostly from Asian countries including India, Bangladesh, China and the Philippines.
Eligible firms can apply for M-SEP via the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), The Straits Times newspaper reported.
“With the reduction in the quotas… that would come in next year, we wanted to provide enterprises that are very innovative, have made significant investments, and very firm internationalisation plans to ensure that they also have the complementary foreign manpower to help them,” said Minister of Manpower Tan See Leng at an industry visit.
The M-SEP complements the changes that MOM is making to Singapore’s work pass framework, by supporting the growth of businesses that contribute to Singapore’s strategic economic priorities, the MOM and Ministry of Trade and Industry said.
Manpower-short Singapore is scouting for top talent globally, according to earlier official announcements and media reports.