Ministerial Statement by MOM – Min Tan See Leng
Most media reported on Min/MOM’s ministerial statement in Parliament where he highlighted how Singaporeans could compete strongly and fairly for jobs, including fighting discrimination in the workplace, noting that all employers should comply with the Fair Consideration Framework. One of the requirements was to advertise jobs on the MyCareersFuture portal before submitting work pass applications, which had been extended to a minimum period of 28 days instead of 14, so local job seekers could have more time to respond to job openings. Meanwhile, Min/MOM stressed that TAFEP handled an average of 170 nationality discrimination cases, with half of the complaints from the wholesale and retail trade, administrative and support services, and other service activities. Min/MOM said that MOM would increase its efforts on clamping down on employers with discriminatory employment practices.
Apart from fighting discrimination, Min/MOM pointed out that upskilling and training were vital in helping Singaporeans remain competitive. He stressed that the Government had invested heavily in retraining and skills development for the transition of displaced workers to a different job within or another industry. He was also quoted as saying that the Government extended the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package in the Budget announcement in February. He emphasised that these programmes were in addition to long-standing programmes such as WSG’s career conversion programmes, and that WSG had also set up the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres in all 24 HDB towns to make Singapore’s career matching services even more accessible to locals. Further, the Retrenchment Taskforce led by WSG and supported by NTUC’s e2i had also reached out to nearly all retrenched local workers in 2020, citing that two-thirds of those who took up the Taskforce’s employment facilitation assistance found jobs within 6 months. Additionally, he highlighted the purpose of the 23 ITMs, and quoted former Min/MOM Lim Swee Say’s remarks that the Government will work hard to ensure the employability of Singaporeans by upgrading their skills and staying relevant.
Some media further reported on the 4,200 intra-corporate transferees working in Singapore, which had remained consistently small. Despite the exemption from the Fair Consideration Framework requirement that required firms to advertise jobs on the MyCareersFuture portal, Min/MOM pointed out that none of the Free Trade Agreements, including the India-Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), gave intra-corporate transferees unfettered access to our labour market. Noting on Singaporean’s worries about the growth of EP holders at the expense of local professionals and discrimination against local job seekers and workers, Min/MOM assured that they would continue to refine the system to deliver good jobs, livelihoods and a thriving economy for Singaporeans. Min/MOM underscored that the Government’s goals were for locals to enjoy better jobs and a higher standard of living and to stamp out discriminatory practices to ensure a fair playing field and to protect Singaporean workers.