Singapore seeks to attract more highly talented workers under a new points-based visa system as part of the government’s effort to boost local employment while positioning itself as a global city.
Singapore last week announced an overhaul of visa rules that allow entry of typically highly-paid workers.
The revised scoring system, set to kick in from September next year for new applicants of Singapore’s employment pass, will rate expats based on factors such as education, skills, and how their nationality contributes to the diversity of their firm.
“What we are trying to do is to be able to differentiate the high talent, the really super-skill sets talent that can come to our country to work to complement our existing workforce,” Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The changes seek to address concerns among residents about a perceived bias toward hiring foreigners, although Tan clarified that resentment against foreigners was not a widespread sentiment.
“Rather than open the door and let every single one in, what we are trying to say is that let’s have a little bit more differentiation,” Tan said in the same interview. The endgame is a workforce where “the ones that leave get replaced by higher-calibre EPs,” he added.
Singapore continues to face a shortage of workers across sectors ranging from construction and services industries to tech and finance, following the exit of foreign nationals amid the country’s tight border controls during the pandemic.
The government hopes to address this by wooing highly educated women and older employees back into the jobs market with calls for firms to introduce flexible work arrangements and a previously announced increase in the retirement age.