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250 firms on MOM watch list for not doing enough to hire, groom Singaporeans

SINGAPORE – Some 250 companies have been placed on a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) watchlist for not doing enough to hire and groom Singaporeans as of the end of last month, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say told Parliament on Monday (March 6).

250 firms on MOM watch list for not doing enough to hire, groom Singaporeans

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say says work pass privileges will be curtailed for the firms on the MOM watchlist that "have not been receptive or cooperative". Screenshot image.

SINGAPORE – Some 250 companies have been placed on a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) watchlist for not doing enough to hire and groom Singaporeans as of the end of last month, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say told Parliament on Monday (March 6).

They are from the information and communication technology, professional services, and financial and insurance activities industries, among others.

And among these are 50 firms which “have not been receptive or cooperative”, and more than 500 of their applications for Employment Pass have been rejected by the MOM, or withdrawn by the firms.

“We will continue to curtail their work pass privileges until they improve,” said Mr Lim, who stressed that such “unfair” employers form a small minority of firms.

Under the Fair Consideration Framework, which was implemented in August 2014, rules were put in place to ensure that firms consider locals for job openings.

Being placed on the watchlist means that the MOM will scrutinise these firms’ Employment Pass (EP) applications more closely.

Speaking during the debate on the MOM’s budget, Mr Lim said that the majority of the firms on the watchlist have “responded positively” to guidance on ways to improve their employment practices, such as hiring more locals, working with institutes of higher learning to scout new graduates or putting in place in-house programmes to groom local talents.

Altogether, these firms have hired 800 more Singaporean professionals, managers, and executives since being placed on the watchlist, Mr Lim added.

Going forward, the MOM will take a “differentiated approach” to how it engages companies, with firms that have a progressive attitude in developing their manpower and a “Singaporean Core” to be given “fast lane” access to support from the Government.

Mr Lim said that the Human Capital Partnership has 74 employers with a workforce of about 100,000 Singaporeans onboard, and these employers will be on the fast lane to the MOM’s development schemes and services, such as those under SkillsFuture, and they will also have “hotline access” to the MOM to address queries expediently.

Fair employers will have “normal lane” access, while employers on the watchlist who engage in unfair Human Resources practices will be relegated to the “slow lane” and face additional scrutiny of their work pass applications.  

This will send a “clear message” to all employers that foreign manpower is an integral part of the workforce, but all employers are expected to give fair consideration to the recruitment and development of local manpower, said Mr Lim.

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