Singapore looks to reduce expat numbers in face of recession

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Singapore looks to reduce expat numbers in face of recession

Singapore's government is introducing stricter controls for expat workers as the country records its highest levels of unemployment in more than 10 years.

The new measures are also a response to the recently introduced national security law in Hong Kong, which has prompted many expats to relocate to Singapore.

Unemployment rose to more than 4% in 2Q2020, and the Singaporean economy shrank by 12.6% on the same period in 2019.According to a report in the FT, the government has increased the minimum monthly salary an expat needs to secure a work permit by 15% this year. 

We are giving these considerations additional emphasis now, given the uncertain economic times, to remind all employers to play their part in building up their Singaporean workforce."

Financial services employees will need to earn at least S$5,000 ($3,290) per month or S$10,000 if over the age of 40. It marks the first time a specific sector has been singled out for employment pass criteria relating to pay.

In a statement Singapore's Ministry of Manpower said: "We are giving these considerations additional emphasis now, given the uncertain economic times, to remind all employers to play their part in building up their Singaporean workforce, and help sustain public support for a business-friendly work pass policy."

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.