He acknowledged that the ongoing scrutiny on foreign manpower had given anxiety to businesses. Some companies wonder whether this means Singapore will no longer be open for business and foreign manpower.
Moves on foreign worker policies are about discriminatory hiring practices
“The moves we have made on our foreign worker policies are not a signal that we are turning away top international talent,” Mr Chan explained. “Rather, they signify that we are serious about discriminatory hiring practices and we want all businesses to play their part in building up the Singaporean workforce.”
We want the world’s best and brightest to be with Team Singapore
He assured businesses that Singapore remained open to international talent.
“We want the world’s best and brightest to be with Team Singapore to augment our skills and capabilities, competing on our side rather than against us and ultimately to benefit Singaporeans, not to substitute or to hurt them. We will continue to bring in international talent in a calibrated manner as we have always done that will enable our businesses to plan for the future, access the best minds, and allow Singaporeans to learn from the best and create more opportunities for Singapore and Singaporeans.”
Singapore’s hub status cannot be taken for granted
Singapore’s hub status was established through ‘sheer hard work’, Mr Chan said. In the midst of the uncertainties in the business environment and intense global competition, we cannot be complacent and take this status for granted.
“Beyond providing a platform for businesses to fulfil their regional ambitions, it has provided good jobs and created new opportunities for our people,” said Mr Chan.
Is there a role for hubs in the COVID world?
In a more fragmented global economy, Mr Chan said that rather than just a single hub, there will be a series of key nodes in a larger network with other nodes that must be able to connect seamlessly with one another.
Singapore aims to be one of these critical nodes in the global system, Mr Chan said.
“To achieve this, we will not only remain committed to make Singapore the preferred hub for companies to connect and do business with Asia and internationally, but also ensure that our businesses and people can continue to have access to opportunity,” he said.
A bright future for Singapore as a global hub
“I believe that there remains a bright future for Singapore as a global hub. We will continue to work closely with companies to anchor, hub, and grow their businesses out of Singapore, in a long-term and sustainable manner. More importantly, we will continue to endeavour to defy the odds of history against the fate of small states without a natural hinterland and with our roots in diverse racial and religious compositions.”
– Chan Chun Sing –