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Oral Answer by Mr Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on whether work permit holders may engage in part-time work

Notice paper no. 427 of 2016 for the sitting on 7 November 2016

Question no. 726 for oral answer

MP: Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang

To ask the Minister for Manpower whether the Ministry will consider allowing work permit holders to engage in part-time work, considering Singapore’s current labour shortage.


  1. We do not allow foreign work permit holders to engage in part-time work for several reasons.   
  2. First, we expect employers to bring in work permit holders for specific, full-time jobs. Work permit holders should not have the time to engage in part-time work on top of the work for their primary employer.
  3.  Second, allowing part-time work may put work permit holders at risk of exploitation, especially if employers offer their work permit holders to do part-time work for other firms.
  4.  Third, allowing part-time work may increase the overall demand for work permit holders, which would run counter to the national effort to restructure the economy and prevent over-reliance on foreign manpower. Firms should address their manpower needs by becoming more manpower-lean, or by re-designing jobs to be more attractive to locals, rather than by relying more on foreign workers.
  5.  Finally, allowing work permit holders to do part-time work is likely to increase competition with locals for freelance jobs or part-time work.
  6.  We offer support for companies through the Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme to transform and achieve manpower-lean growth. Many progressive companies have come forward to take up the LED Scheme and we encourage more to do so.