Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is launching a new scheme to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in hiring and retaining foreign workers, announced Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Wednesday.
Under the two-year pilot scheme, Lean Enterprise Development, companies can temporarily retain more of better-skilled foreign workers as long as they commit to cutting their overall foreign workforce numbers eventually. Some may even be allowed to hire foreign experts, who will not count on the foreign workers quota, to train local staff.
The new scheme will give companies some flexibility in deploying foreign manpower as companies carry out plans to be more innovative and productive, said MOM.
The scheme will start in October, and companies must apply to MOM to join in. As such arrangements will be allowed on a case-by- case basis, companies must submit proposals for improving productivity and innovation that will be assessed by a task force managing the new scheme.
A Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) has been introduced in 2014 to ensure that Singaporeans are considered fairly for job openings before firms apply to employ foreign Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).
Currently, Dependency Ratio ceilings spell out how many foreigners can be hired to ensure that companies do not rely too much on these workers to get the job done. Companies can employ foreigners according to the ratio.