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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs    28  July  2016  

S’pore tightens conditions for hiring foreign professionals

SINGAPORE will raise the salary criteria for foreign managers and specialists that companies can hire starting next year, a move that may add to the competitive challenges faced by local firms amid slowing economic growth.

The qualifying monthly salary for employment passes (EP) will be raised by 9 per cent to S$3,600 (US$2,650) from S$3,300 starting Jan. 1, 2017, the Ministry of Manpower said on Tuesday.

Firms must apply for the passes when hiring foreigners in managerial, executive or specialised jobs.

“This change is part of the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) regular updating of the EP qualifying salary to keep pace with rising local wages, maintain the quality of our foreign workforce and enhance their complementarity to the local workforce,” the ministry said, adding that it was the first such update since January 2014.

The change is likely aimed at preventing the salary criteria from becoming too low compared with rising wage levels seen in Singapore in the past few years, economists said.

The nominal median gross monthly income from work for full-time employed residents rose by 4.7 per cent year-on-year as of June 2015, after rising 1.8 per cent the previous year, according to official data.

The latest change could add to the cost burden that companies face, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), said Francis Tan, an economist for UOB.

“A lot of SMEs that I have been talking to have been already complaining about the higher cost of labour over the past few years,” Tan said.

“At a time whereby economic growth is still probably as slow as last year, this will translate to probably also quite smaller profit margins for firms going forward,” he added.

The Ministry of Manpower said firms will get to use the old criteria when renewing existing employment passes that expire by June 30, 2017.

Singapore has been making it harder for firms to hire foreign workers to reduce its dependence on low-cost overseas labour, as well as to address complaints by citizens concerned about overcrowding and increased competition for jobs.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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