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Oral Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Possible Further Tightening of Employment Pass and Jobs Bank Schemes

Notice Paper No. 193 Of 2015 For The Sitting On 13 Jul 2015 

Question No. 664 For Oral Answer  

MP: Ms Foo Mee Har

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Employment Pass (EP) and Jobs Bank schemes can be further tightened to ensure that employers are required to give due consideration to applications from qualified Singaporeans first and that EP applications must be accompanied by evidence that the hiring of foreigners is only after unsuccessful sourcing from local talent pool.

  1. To ensure that companies give fair consideration to Singaporeans when hiring, the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and Jobs Bank were introduced. So far, almost 20,000 employers have registered more than 72,000 active job postings1 with the Jobs Bank, drawing 110,000 local job seekers to register with the Jobs Bank. 
  2. On the whole, it has led to fairer hiring and easier access to job opportunities. Notwithstanding this, MOM is making further enhancements to send a clearer and stronger signal about fair consideration for Singaporeans. As announced last week, we are making further enhancements to take effect from 1st October this year. This includes publishing the salary ranges of job vacancies, closer scrutiny of EP applications for companies with a weaker Singaporean core relative to others in their industry, and more stringent quality assessment of EP and S Pass applicants.
  3. For example, companies with weaker Singaporean core will be required to provide additional information, such as the number of applications from Singaporeans, how many were shortlisted, and the interview outcomes. We may also require some of them, what I call the “double weak” – weak Singaporean core, and weak commitment to fair consideration for Singaporeans – to commit to plans to strengthen their Singaporean core. 
  4. Working together in partnership with the industry, agencies and the labour movement, our four core priorities are:
    1. To strengthen our competitiveness and sustainability; 
    2. By becoming more manpower lean;
    3. With a strong Singaporean core; and
    4. Better quality foreign manpower. 
  5. These are important priorities as we reposition our economy for future growth. 

1Jobs refer to the “average number of live job vacancies”, which is the summation of the unique number of job vacancies which are active at the end of each week, averaged across the total number of weeks in that reporting period.