Expat professionals in Singapore facing increased resentment

Published:  11 Oct at 6 PM
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Tagged: Jobs
In spite of a recent policy change favouring local workers, resentment against expat professionals in Singapore is at an all-time high.

Singaporeans are claiming expat professionals are stealing jobs which should go to locals, in spite of August’s new Fair Consideration Framework, aimed at ensuring foreigners don’t get jobs which could be done by locals. The number of expat professionals working in the former British colony has increased considerably over recent years, with its almost half a million forming a sizeable chunk of the city-state’s 5.6 million population. Unemployment is historically low at under three per cent.

The new Fair Consideration Framework policy states all employers should only hire expats if no suitable Singaporean professional is found after two weeks. However, the rules only apply to positions paying under 12,000 Singaporean dollars monthly – some £ 5,850 – and are only applicable to firms with more than 25 employees. Locals believe the policy is ineffective, and are also complaining that expats work fewer hours and get promotion faster than Singaporean workers.

Another complaint is that employers word their job vacancies in a manner which excludes local workers, such as requesting a particular qualification not taught in Singapore or relevant experience in a very limited field. Entry level jobs are easily available, but Singaporeans with degrees are understandably resentful when the only work they can get is either low-salaried or manual. One local with friends in banking told reporters there’s a huge difference in the way expats work, especially regarding fewer hours spent in the workplace.

At the same time, reports are coming in that more and more expat professionals are leaving Singapore to take up positions in Japan, quoting long working hours and high living expenses as their reasons for relocation. In addition, Japan’s professional environment is more suited to the needs of serious expat professionals as it’s far more cooperative and collected than in Singapore. Another important aspect is job security, far higher in Japan due to the trust-based workplace environment.
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