Hiring practices of companies will be review by the Ministry of Manpower , as well as those whose Employment Pass and S Pass workforce are “overly concentrated” from a single foreign nationality source, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.
The hiring practices review comes amid a heightened sense of insecurity about jobs, in an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Announcing the review of hiring practices in Parliament on Tuesday Sep 1, Mrs Teo said MOM will work with other agencies to actively intervene and help such companies reshape their workforce profiles.
The ministry will also engage the human resources community to “do more”, she added.
Mrs Teo was responding to several Members of Parliament, who had posed the issue of job competition between Singaporeans and work pass holders.
She pointed out that work pass policies have been regularly adjusted, slowing down the growth of Employment Pass and S Pass holders.
With COVID-19, the number of Employment Pass and S Pass holders have also come down sharply, she said, adding that this group of workers dropped by 22,000 between January and July this year.
Highest rate level of unemployment in a decade
Singapore’s overall unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in more than a decade, with retrenchments more than doubling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the second quarter, retrenchments more than doubled to 6,700, from 3,220 in the previous quarter.
Mrs Teo said that MOM actively monitors retrenchment exercises, and that the vast majority have so far been conducted fairly and responsibly.
“By and large, there has also not been a weakening of the Singaporean core,” she said.
Nevertheless, these “reassuring observations”, said Mrs Teo, MOM will work with businesses and unions to “advance sound practices” – such as by updating the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment, or through the Fair Retrenchment Framework proposed by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).