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     FrontPage Edition: Sun 9 December 2007

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 New foreign workforce measures to meet strong market demand


MOM Unveils New Package of Foreign Workforce Measures

To meet strong labour market demand
Employment creation is hitting another record high in 2007. The overall unemployment rate has fallen to 1.7% in September 2007, the lowest in almost a decade.
A record proportion of the resident population has secured employment, especially women and older residents. Far more jobs are being created than locals can fill.
Following rapid gains in the past two years, the growth in resident labour force eased in 2007, due to a smaller pool of remaining residents able to work.
Amidst this tight labour market, companies have been giving feedback that it is increasingly harder to find workers, especially locals.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will therefore implement a package of foreign workforce measures to support the manpower needs of the growing economy.
For All Sectors S Pass
To help meet the growing industry demand for mid-skilled foreign workers, companies will have greater access to S Pass holders.
With effect from 1 January 2008, the S Pass quota for all sectors will be increased from 15% to 25%. The new S Pass quota will come entirely from companies' Work Permit quota which will be increased for all sectors. Companies can therefore employ more S Pass holders, in lieu of Work Permit holders, hence improving the quality of their foreign workforce.
Construction, Process and Marine Sectors
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) expects the Construction sector's annual output to rise by $19-$22 billion. Given robust growth in Asia's energy markets and global demand for petrochemicals, the process and marine sectors are experiencing rapid growth.
To ease the manpower pressure in these sectors, MOM will:

(i) Raise the Dependency Ratio for the Construction and Process sectors from 1 local worker : 5 foreign workers, to 1 local worker: 7 foreign workers, from 1 January 2008;

(ii) Reduce the work experience requirement for non-Man Year Entitlement workers in Construction from 4 to 2 years from 1 March 2008; and

(iii) Raise the Dependency Ratio for the Marine sector from 1 local full-time worker: 3 foreign workers, to 1 local worker: 5 foreign workers, from 1 January 2008.


Source: Press Release 28 Nov 2007

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