MPs must assure residents that help is available: Tan See Leng responding to Jamus Lim’s Facebook post

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MPs must assure residents who express anxieties over competition, that help is available, Dr Tan See Leng said. 

Minister Dr Tan See Leng was responding to a social media post (23 Sep) by WP MP Jamus Lim sharing his residents’ views on the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass and our foreign workforce policies.

In his social media post, Jamus did not explain to his resident that there is help available in their job search. Neither did he explain to his resident the reason and rationale for ONE Pass even though the Workers’ Party had agreed in Parliament on the need for complementary foreign talent. 

One resident who had just returned after a long stint in China told Jamus he had a difficult time securing a job here. He also expressed concern that ONE Pass would ‘ultimately end up exacerbating the difficulties locals faced in advancing to the upper tiers of the corporate hierarchy, thereby relegating them to being trapped in middle management’. 

A second resident told Jamus that Singaporeans enjoyed few privileges in the local job market and found it tough competing with foreigners willing to work for less. 

On discrimination against locals

In his Facebook post, Dr Tan said that MOM takes fair consideration seriously.

“Employers must practise fair consideration in their selection of candidates and MOM will not hesitate to take action against employers found to be discriminatory,” he said. 

MPs must assure residents help is available

Dr Tan added that MPs on the ground must assure residents that help is available when they hear residents  – especially those who are themselves facing employment difficulties – express anxieties about competition in a globalised and fast-changing economy.

Actually the resident had already found a job!

On the first resident who had difficulty looking for a job, Dr Tan said he had asked colleagues in Workforce SG to offer job matching support. But it turns out that actually, the resident had already found a job

It is unfortunate that Jamus chose to post about the resident’s difficulty without revealing that the resident had found a job – despite difficulties. 

On ONE Pass and its effect on local talent

Dr Tan said, 

“To be clear, the objective of ONE Pass is to bring in global talent who can create more opportunities for Singaporeans. More Singaporeans will have opportunities to work in leading firms, alongside experts from around the world, and progress in their careers.”

Even as the Government tries to attract top talent through ONE Pass, it is also working to support our businesses to grow the local talent pool through a wide range of programmes, said Dr Tan.

“Local leadership development schemes like International Posting Programme (iPOST) and SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative also help local talent gain regional and global experiences, to prepare them for senior positions,” he added.

Dr Tan noted that the Workers’ Party had in fact agreed in Parliament on the need for complementary foreign talent.

It is unfortunate that while inside of Parliament, the WP supported the need for complementary foreign talent, yet outside of Parliament, Jamus did not make any attempt to explain to his resident the reason and rationale for ONE Pass.

In conclusion, Dr Tan said:

I sincerely hope and believe colleagues on both sides of the House will agree that creating good jobs is not a zero-sum game. Even as we highlight the concerns of our residents, we can explain to them why it is essential that we stay open. Companies invest in Singapore and create good jobs here because we have built up a strong talent pool. Having the right complementary talent here will add to the number of opportunities available to us, and to future generations. This is what our foreign manpower policy and schemes like ONE Pass aim to achieve.


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