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Foreign firms start pulling out of Singapore: AmCham survey


While 15% mulls over relocating elsewhere.

According to an informal survey by AmCham (American Chamber of Commerce) Singapore, 5% of respondents have moved operations out of Singapore, and 15% of respondents are looking at relocating their operations overseas, as a result of the recent manpower changes. The small survey involved participation from over 100 AmCham members.

The firms' concerns were expressed in a letter undersigned by 9 chambers to Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin last 31 January. Here's more from the joint-chamber statement:

While Singapore continues to attract significant foreign investment we nevertheless fear current implementation of revised labour policy risks negatively impacting Singapore's economy and reputation as an open economy.

We do acknowledge Singapore's challenge in managing the competing interests between productivity driven economic growth with improved jobs for Singaporeans and limiting the size of a foreign workforce despite the need to supplement a small national workforce.

In summary our concerns relate to certainty in the ability to employ candidates with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience required and also to be able to tap into a larger labour workforce than is available in Singapore.

Following the change in criteria for S and Employment passes, The Dependency Ratio Ceilings in the Services and Manufacturing sectors and Dependent's privileges, anecdotal evidence from constituents has indicated inconsistency in the granting of passes against published criteria...

Singapore's rapid economic development has resulted in increasing levels of education throughout the population. This education has brought renewed expectations of employment opportunities and a decline in those seeking non-PMET positions as well as negative attitudes towards service.

This further supports the case to increase foreign workers in nominated service, construction and manufacturing sectors or risk serious service deterioration.

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