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Singapore announces tighter rules for hiring skilled foreigners

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's government announced rules on Monday that will force many companies operating in the city-state to consider Singaporeans for skilled job vacancies before turning to candidates from abroad.

From August 2014, firms with more than 25 employees must advertise a vacancy for professional or managerial jobs paying less than S$12,000 (5,992 pounds) a month on a new jobs bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency for at least 14 days. Only after that period can the company apply for an employment pass to bring in a foreign national.

The city-state will also raise the qualifying salaries for employment pass holders to at least S$3,300 a month, up from the current S$3,000, starting in January 2014.

"Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly," said acting manpower minister Tan Chuan Jin.

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"Singaporeans must still prove themselves able and competitive to take on the higher jobs that they aspire to," he added.

The Ministry of Manpower said it will also scrutinise companies that "have a disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans" in professional or management positions compared with others in the industry.

(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Editing by Richard Borsuk)