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Employers who treat Singaporeans unfairly at workplaces will be taken to task

  • The Straits Times (8 March 2018): Not enough to make firms advertise on Jobs Bank

Employers who treat Singaporeans unfairly at workplaces will be taken to task
- The Straits Times, 29 March 2018 

  1. We refer to the letter by Mr Terence Lim (“Not enough to make firms advertise on Jobs Bank”, 8 Mar). TAFEP has contacted Mr Lim and is investigating these incidents with MOM.
  2. Should the employers be found to adopt unfair employment practices, MOM will take action against them, including curtailing their work pass privileges.
  3. MOM expects employment agencies to similarly make reasonable efforts to attract and consider Singaporeans for job positions on merit. Employment agencies that discriminate against Singaporeans are in breach of the Employment Agencies Act, for acting in a manner detrimental to public interest. Such agencies may be issued with Demerit Points, have their licenses suspended or revoked.
  4. All employers must adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. Those who are suspected of discriminatory practices will be placed on the Fair Consideration Framework Watchlist. To date, 500 companies have been placed on the Watchlist and had their Employment Pass applications subjected to additional scrutiny.
  5. Those who have encountered workplace discrimination should report the matter to TAFEP ( so that we can immediately address the discriminatory behaviour and build more fair and inclusive workplaces in Singapore.

Mrs Roslyn Ten
General Manager
Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices

Ms Christine Loh
Director, Employment Standards Enforcement
Labour Relations & Workplaces Division
Ministry of Manpower 

Not enough to make firms advertise on Jobs Bank
- The Straits Times, 8 March 2018

  1. Even before its extension to cover more firms, the rule that requires companies to advertise their jobs in the Jobs Bank for at least 14 days is already futile because employers can still ignore or reject the local applicants and proceed to hire foreigners anyway (Rules on employing foreigners to be tightened; March 6).
  2. I experienced this with a recruitment agency that rejected my application for a Japanese-to-English translator's position at a Japanese company.
  3. When I asked the company why I "did not fit the criteria", since the only requirement specified was proficiency in business-level English (which in my case is native-level), it replied that the company wanted only Japanese candidates.
  4. Another encounter at a company where I had worked demonstrates how raising the qualifying salary for S Pass holders actually benefits foreigners at the expense of locals.
  5. At a townhall meeting, locals asked the global head of department who was visiting the Singapore office why their foreign colleagues were being paid more for doing the same type of research work.
  6. She did not mince her words when she answered: "Your Government is responsible for that."
  7. She explained that, to perform research in certain regions, foreigners needed to be hired for their language skills, which locals did not possess, even if this meant paying whatever the qualifying salary was.
  8. Hence, it seems that giving locals a chance to merely apply for the job does not really mean they are given a fair shot.
  9. The rules should be improved by emulating those of Australia and the United States, which allow employers to hire a foreigner only after proving that they are unable to find a willing and able local.