Nowadays in Singapore many immigrant workers work, and the term immigrant worker is divided in foreign workers and foreign talents. Foreign talents relegates to foreigners with acceptable degrees and professional qualifications, and foreign worker relegates to unskilled or semi-skilled workers who mostly work in domestic services, manufacturing or construction sectors.
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By 2010, foreign workers formed 34.7 % of the manpower in Singapore. Foreign workers are required to increase the population, increase GDP and per capita GDP, reduce the population ageing, operate as a periodic buffer and comprise salary costs to provide international competitiveness and defray deficit in labor skills and supply. On the other hand, strongly trust on foreign workers has also decreased the economic reforming position, generated FDW-dependency syndrome amongst housekeepers, and disadvantageously involved productivity performance.
Different people with different religious live in Singapore, and it makes Singapore more inter-ethnic and inter-religious. And in last decade large amount of foreign workers settled in Singapore especially 2006-2009. This happen made some Singaporeans distempered. The economic growth slowdown and it led to internal unemployment especially white collar-workers. Employment of the foreign labor increased by 21.4% whereas citizen labor increased by 2.7% in 2008 and the unemployment rate of residents went up by 4.9% by 2009. And the social discontent turned more sounding when the white collar-workers were dismissed in 2009 decline and had some difficulties in finding alternative jobs, whereas foreign workers endured to be more visible. There were increased impressions of the foreign people crowding in a public spaces and places such as health services, MRT, bus transportation and affecting to increasing housing costs. And the dissatisfaction through crowding out foreign people is a trouble of accelerated demand for public places or services through inflow foreign people as it is problem unequal providing of these services.
Why in Singapore has so many workers, it is because of low cost for example for employers, the cost is the most important factor, when they run the business, and it could not be disputed. Therefore, when the government sets up a system where the owner can hire cheaper foreign imports on the base quota system, you can understand why he would grab it with both hands. Many are counting how many foreign workers they can bring to the base of the type of business they are in and the number of current local workers under their payroll.
For the employer, Singaporean workers, although clear and clever, sometimes talk too much. They usually claim back especially if they have a job for a long time and get a good reputation with the rest workers. It is not surprising that the Foreigner imports mainly from China and India. These two countries, as we know, the great powers in the near future. They will be the world’s dominant economy and Singapore wants to be in the right relationship with them now.
In august 2009 Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong declared that the government would reduce the rate of its inflow foreign workers, with social and physical conditions. Foreign workforce would be supported at about 30% of the labor force. In 2010 he again declared that the government would moderate and manage the intake of the foreign workforce so that Singapore citizens are not bemused by absolutely number.
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In May 2011 the government declared main consideration of different government policies that had started voters’ opinions, involving that on immigration. In October 2011 at the opening of the new Parliament President’s Address highlighted the main issues and policies response while Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Addendum to the President’s address directed specifically issues that pertaining to the foreign workforce and Singapore citizen labor. The different policy responds to the problems of foreign workforce that summarized below.
- Toughening the needs for employment pass. In August 2011 MOM declared changes to the employment pass structure to get effect in 2012. It toughens admissibility needs for foreign people to entering mid-level, lower professional and skilled jobs. The tougher employment passes are aimed that Singapore citizen workers are not dissatisfied than foreigner who might be cheaper to recruit.
- Balancing the requirements for foreign workforce and the concerns and aspirations of Singapore citizens. The government has to step fine balancing in workforce policies of supporting a welcome foreign talents and business to make and support good jobs at the same time meeting increasing tendencies and abilities of Singapore citizens. The foreign labor will be hold at no more than one-third in the long term cause of physical, economic, infrastructural constraints and social. The government had started to toughen the rise of foreign workforce in June 2009, using the way of rising levies, qualifications criteria, tightening entry and increasing qualifying salaries.
- Accessing housing and public services. The new policy deleted foreign people from title to medical subsidies and decreased subsidies for PRs. Also government increased educational fees for foreigners. The employers and government are supporting recreational facilities and alternative housing for foreign people. To decrease the crowding out effect of foreign people on public services such as healthcare, housing and public transport.