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Singapore hoping special visa will draw global 'rainmakers'

Economy Sep 12, 2022 03:36AM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask passes the skyline of Singapore?s business district amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore, May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore is hoping a special work visa will make it more competitive in attracting "the rainmakers of the world", its manpower minister said on Monday, as it seeks to balance its need for talent with local unease about expatriate workers.

The regional financial hub announced new rules two weeks ago to draw expatriates earning at least S30,000 ($21,452) a month, offering them five-year visas that would automatically allow their spouses to work also.

Addressing parliament, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said global talent would help Singapore develop sectors like sustainability, artificial intelligence or fintech, but it faced a challenge with other countries "playing an offensive game".

"When we are talking about top talent, we must be mindful of how global they are, and how stiff the competition is for them," Tan said.

Britain, Australia and Germany have launched similar programmes, while closer to home, Malaysia and Thailand are also offering incentivised long-term visas for foreigners with specialist expertise who earn above a certain income threshold.

Singapore has seen discontent among the local workforce about the number of foreigners employed in the country, with fears that too many well-paid jobs were being taken by expatriates.

The government has sought to allay those concerns, however, stressing foreign talent lured to Singapore would help to "create a diverse range of opportunities for Singaporeans".

Tan said Singapore would also develop its own talent and upgrade skills of its workforce, while giving Singaporeans global and regional exposure so they could take up leadership positions in global firms.

The head of Singapore's central bank in May said the country's financial sector was creating more jobs than local staff could fill and warned a "Singaporean only" approach would be fatal for the country as a global financial centre.

($1 = 1.3985 Singapore dollars)

Singapore hoping special visa will draw global 'rainmakers'

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Comments (1)
John Wee
John Wee Sep 12, 2022 5:32AM ET
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Look at last decade or so where Singapore govt let in foreigners to have lucrative jobs over the locals and made them naturalised citizens. One of them is the CEO of DBS bank. He was given citizenship after he got that job. One more is the dean of dentistry faculty. Altough there are Singaporeans eyeing that position but it was given to an Irishman. These two are just tip of an iceberg. Majority of Singaporeans are just plain stupid to vote for a govt that favours foreigners over the very citizens that voted pap to power.
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