Minister allays fear of new passes robbing locals of jobs

SINGAPORE: Manpower Minister Tan See Leng has assured Singaporeans that the new Overseas Networks and Expertise (One) Pass will not rob locals of job opportunities.

He stressed that "creating good jobs isn't a zero-sum game", in response to a Facebook post by Workers’ Party Member of Parliament Jamus Lim.

The Singapore government is introducing the new passes to attract top-level foreign talent.

The One Pass will be available for qualified foreigners who earn at least SGD 30,000 per month, and has several benefits over the regular Employment Pass.

These include longer validity periods, as well as easier acquisition criteria, such as reduced health assessment requirements prior to arrival in Singapore.

The new passes will allow more Singaporeans a chance to work in leading firms alongside experts from around the world and advance their careers, Tan clarified.

"Companies invest in Singapore and create good jobs here because we have built up a strong talent pool,” he said.

Tan also added that having the right complementary talent here will add to the number of opportunities available to Singaporeans, and to future generations.

On Lim’s concern about discrimination against Singaporean workers, Tan explained that employers must practice fair consideration when selecting candidates. The Ministry of Manpower has a zero-tolerance policy against employers who are found to be discriminatory, he added.

“Member of Parliament Jamus acknowledges that Singaporeans are not instinctively anti-foreigner. Let’s keep it this way,” Tan said.

“We hear the anxieties that Singaporeans feel about competition in a globalised and fast-changing economy, especially from those who are themselves facing employment difficulties,” he added.

In a post from September 30, Lim shared a conversation he had with a constituent, who was concerned that the pass would make it more difficult for Singaporeans to climb up the corporate ladder.

“This fear was further corroborated by his impression that many foreign nationals working here tended to favour their own countrymen, further alienating Singaporeans when they seek a job at home,” Lim wrote.

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