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Suggestion on increasing Work Passes met with caution from Manpower Minister

MP for Chua Chu Kang, Mr Don Wee proposed increasing work passes for certain night-shift roles, allowing workers to return to Johor Bahru and Batam by day.

Manpower Minister Dr Tan See Leng cautioned against over-reliance on foreign workers, emphasizing challenges in regulation, but pointed to the M-SEP scheme for businesses needing temporary foreign manpower.

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SINGAPORE: Over-dependence on foreign workers can expose businesses to potential disruptions, as witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was said by the Minister for Manpower, Dr Tan See Leng in a written response to a query on Monday (18 Sep) from Mr Don Wee, Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC, concerning the potential increase in the number of work passes for certain job types.

The MP proposed this specifically for roles like production line operators, packers, and truck drivers.

These roles can be performed during the non-peak night hours, and it was suggested that workers in these roles should have the flexibility to return to their residences in Johor Bahru and Batam during the day.

In response, Dr Tan See Leng, the Manpower Minister, addressed the suggestion with caution.

According to Dr Tan, increasing the quota for such foreign workers would mean an effective relaxation of the Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRCs).

These DRCs are in place to regulate the size of Singapore’s foreign workforce. The main objective behind these ceilings is to prevent businesses from becoming excessively reliant on foreign workers.

Furthermore, Dr Tan highlighted the challenge of ensuring that these workers return to their homes daily rather than choosing to stay in Singapore.

Such a move could exert undue pressure on Singapore’s infrastructure. Implementing and ensuring adherence to such a rule would be impractical and would require a significant allocation of resources.

However, the Manpower Minister also acknowledged that there might be businesses in need of additional foreign manpower, especially during their transitional phases like business expansion.

To assist such businesses, Dr Tan directed them towards existing initiatives like the Manpower for Strategic Economic Priorities (M-SEP) scheme.

This scheme provides temporary flexibility for companies contributing to Singapore’s strategic economic goals.

If these businesses participate in particular programs or activities related to investments, innovation, or internationalisation and make a commitment to hiring or training locals, they can employ S Pass and Work Permit Holders beyond the existing DRC for a duration of two years.

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What’s the issue? 86% voted for no change

A bloody pantomime this is !!!

Ownself asking ownself with prepared questions and, … ownself answering ownself, with platform to charade, … concern and consideration for locals !!!

A joke and a half this is !!!

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