Bad news for foreign office workers looking for employment in Singapore

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SingaporeA number of Singaporean MP’s are suggesting that foreign office workers have to be replaced with the local workforce as their education level and experience gained increases. These MPs want to give priority for locals ahead of any foreigners. A minority are suggesting introducing a ‘Certificate of Eligibility’ for businesses to qualify before being able to hire foreigners. These steps are heading towards Singapore closing the market for foreign office workers and raise questions for international businesses about operating in Singapore. The number of work permits issued by the Singapore Immigration Authorities is falling due to measures taken in previous years. Among those measures are higher qualified salaries and professional qualification. On the other hand, Singapore is getting more expensive and the cost of living is rising. According to recent ranking Singapore is considered as 6th most expensive city in the world to live in. Other cities in Asia are becoming more attractive for foreign nationals who do not consider Singapore as the first choice in this region. If we take for example Carrefour, a French supermarket chain, which has successfully expanded to many parts of the world. Carrefour has recently closed its department store in Singapore. There have been some comments from Singaporeans that they are frustrated that Carrefour have brought French nationals to Singapore to manage the business. This however is standard practice in many multinational companies in order to apply a successful business model that has proved successful elsewhere. It always takes time to train a local staff and foster among them a business culture that a multinational company wants to project. Introducing restrictions on foreign workforce will open new opportunities for local graduates and professionals but will close some other opportunities such as learning new cultures and new ways to conduct business, etc.