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Written Answer by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on foreign labour in local workforce

Mr Yaw Shin Leong: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Manpower whether there is a target to keep foreign labour to one-third of our workforce and, if so, whether this target is still relevant.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam:

The Government had accepted the recommendation of the Economic Strategies Committee in 2010 that we should moderate the growth of the foreign workforce, and avoid a continuous increase in its proportion to the total workforce beyond the one-third level over the long term. While the proportion may fluctuate above or below the one-third level from time to time, we should aim to avoid a secular increase in our dependence on foreign labour over the long term.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has implemented a series of measures to reduce demand for foreign workers, in particular by increasing foreign worker levies, revising the qualifying salaries for the Employment Pass and S Pass holders, and enhancing the qualifying criteria of Employment Pass and S Pass holders. We will monitor the situation, and will further calibrate foreign manpower access if necessary in future.