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16 May 2019  (377 Views) 
Ministry of Manpower

Jobs for Singaporeans
Someone said that the govt prefers to have foreign workers to be employed, rather than locals.

I asked him to explain his remark. 

He said that the govt receives a levy of between $300 to $950 a month for each foreign worker that is employed on a work permit or S-pass.  They do not get this levy for a local worker. 

The employer pays the wages of the foreign worker and the levy. The employer wants to control his cost, so he makes sure that the salary and levy for the foreign worker is lower than a local worker. 

I learned that a foreign worker who works waiter in a club earns about $2,500 a month. If the club has to pay a levy of $500 for the foreign worker, the total cost is $3,000. Surely there are local workers who are willing to work for a salary of $2,500 plus CPF? Why does the employer not employ a local worker?

Maybe, there are other reasons. Perhaps, NS reservist duty is a factor. Perhaps the cost of maternity leave (for a waitress) is a deterrent. Perhaps the other benefits that are guaranteed to local workers add to the cost. 

There could be several factors that make employers prefer foreign workers, even though they have to pay a levy. 

But why does the govt not make the employer engage local workers? Maybe, the govt has a conflict of interest. They like to see the billions of dollars of revenue (from foreign workers levy) that goes into their budget. 

If we want to have more jobs for locals, we have to remove this conflict of interest. 

How can it be removed? Make the govt more accountable for allowing foreign workers to enter into the job market. Have more transparency in the issue of work passes for foreign workers.

Tan Kin Lian

Vote - do you agree that the conflict of interest should be removed?


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