Bad news for employment permit (E-pass) seekers in Singapore

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Bad news for employment permit (E-pass) seekers in SingaporeThe Singapore government has presented the White Paper on its vision of the demographics of Singapore. Singapore like any other developed nation is facing very difficult decisions on immigration and foreign workforce. The population of Singapore is aging with a fertility rate of only 1.3 which has put an increasing strain on the social welfare system. The inflation rate for 2012 was 4.6% and in 2012 the economy demonstrated the weakest growth in 3 years of 1.2%. The government solution was to keep the door open to attract a foreign workforce. After many heated debates, the White Paper has been passed with some amendments. However, the game is not over. Singapore has seen its first public demonstration in years with people are protesting against a foreign workforce. Some Singaporeans are blaming foreigners for increased living costs and property prices. According to the Economist research, Singapore has become 6th most expensive city for living in the world and 3rd most expensive in Asia. The number of work permits being issued has decreased due to cooling measures and caps already introduced by the Singapore government. New measures (for example the S$650 levy for hiring a foreign construction worker, the S$550 levy for the service industry sector and the S$500 levy for the manufacturing industry) have been imposed. There is also a restriction on the ratio of a foreign workforce to Singaporeans; 7:1 for the construction industry, 1.5 for the manufacturing industry and 0.8 for the service industry.