expats working in singapore Expat Advice

Changes could make it more difficult for expats to work in Singapore

Finding a job in Singapore as an expat can be difficult. It’s a competitive market to begin with, and increasingly the country is focused on prioritising locals.

The number of foreign workers in Singapore dropped by 32,000 last year, which is the biggest decrease in 15 years. This is being linked to tightening of employment laws with a specific aim at matching locals to job vacancies first.

The Ministry of Manpower’s launch of the job website My Careers Future this month ties in with this. The tech-savvy website’s focus is on matching jobseekers to jobs based on skills, making it easier to apply for relevant jobs and be more likely to get a response from the prospective employer.

“Today, some jobseekers send out many resumes, not knowing whether there is a good job fit and whether they have the skills employers are looking for. Employers also have a similar problem – they have to sieve through a lot of CVs (curricula vitae), and sometimes it is hit and miss, they may not find who they are looking for,” said Josephine Teo, the Second Minister of Manpower.

It’s a step up from the previous website, Jobs Bank, but it maintains the older website’s purpose. The original site was launched in 2014 as part of the Fair Consideration Framework aimed at boosting employment prospects for Singaporeans. Companies with at least 26 employees with roles making under $12,000 per month had to post the job ads on the portal for at least two weeks before they could apply for an international Employment Pass for the role.

From July this year, the rule will be expanded to include organisations with at least 10 employees and for jobs paying under $15,000 a month.

As expats will probably know, internationals need to have an Employment Pass to work in Singapore – and to be eligible for an Employment Pass, you need a job offer. An Employment Pass is required for any international applicants, so the regulation change may make it a little more difficult to secure jobs.

While this might be bad news for expats with their eye on the Lion City, it does demonstrate a civic integrity and care on Singapore’s part. If a country isn’t willing to support its own citizens, it’s worth considering whether that’s somewhere you’d actually want to move to. A country’s attitude towards ensuring citizens have opportunities for income and self-support can be a good measure of a country’s values.

If you are interested in moving to Singapore, you can visit the Ministry of Manpower’s website to check your eligibility to work with SmArT, an online self assessment tool, or read about working in Singapore as a foreigner.