Govt aims to moderate foreign manpower inflow at pace that can be accommodated: Lim Swee Say

The Government’s aim is to moderate the inflow of foreign manpower at a pace that can be accommodated, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say in Parliament on Tuesday (Jul 14).

He added that the pace of growth of the foreign workforce should broadly be in tandem with that of the local workforce. Currently, the foreign share of Singapore’s workforce is about one-third and the Government intends to maintain this.

The overall annual foreign workforce growth moderated from 144,500 in 2007 to 34,000 last year. Mr Lim said the slowdown occurred in all sectors, from services to construction to manufacturing.

However, the Government has no intention to do away with foreign worker levies.

“Reducing or doing away with levies would not benefit Singaporean rank-and-file workers,” said Mr Lim. “Employers may prefer to hire cheaper foreign workers to maximise their quota. The salary of local workers may also be suppressed due to lower cost of hiring foreign workers. In addition, this could deter investment in manpower-lean technology and solutions.”

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