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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on impact of foreign student holiday work passes on jobs and internship opportunities for Singaporean graduates and undergraduates



MP: Er Dr Lee Bee Wah

To ask the Minister for Manpower in the past three years (a) how many foreign students have been issued work passes under the Work Holiday Programme; (b) which types of industries and jobs do they usually work in; and (c) how has this impacted on jobs and internship opportunities for Singaporean graduates and undergraduates.


  1. The Work Holiday Programme (WHP) allows eligible students and young graduates of universities in nine countries or regions to work and holiday in Singapore for up to 6 months. The WHP is subject to a quota of 2,000 applicants at any one time, which is shared amongst the nine countries or regions that are part of the WHP (Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States).
  2. In the past three years (2015-2017), on average, 2,800 applicants have been issued a Work Holiday Pass each year. This Pass grants them the right to stay in Singapore for up to 6 months, and gives them an option to work without applying for an additional work pass. The Ministry of Manpower does not collect information on the jobs and industries that the WHP holders work in. Some may not work at all.
  3. The WHP has not affected jobs and internship opportunities for Singaporean graduates and undergraduates.  Based on the Graduate Employment Survey conducted by the Institutes of Higher Learning, in each of the last three years, about 9 in 10 economically active graduates from the Autonomous Universities (AUs) and Polytechnics were employed within six months of graduation.  This is about the same level as before the WHP was introduced.
  4. The internship participation rates for Polytechnics have also remained stable for the past three years and the rates for the AUs have been increasing gradually. Today, approximately 98% of Polytechnic students and 70% of AU students would have done at least one internship by the time they graduate. Our Polytechnics and AUs also provide overseas exposure opportunities for our students, and completed over 1,600 overseas internship placements in Academic Year 2016/2017.