Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:58 PM
Nayanima Basu | New Delhi February 17, 2013 Last Updated at 12:17 IST
Govt decries CECA violation by Singapore
The country has imposed restrictions on inflow of foreign workers, which is going to affect Indians working there
Those of you planning to make it big in Singapore might be in for a setback. Singapore recently made certain changes to its Employment Pass Framework law to reduce inflow of foreign workers significantly to create more job opportunities for local professionals. The move is expected to impact even those Indians working there at present across various sectors.
The amendments, made on a proposal by its Ministry of Manpower, has armed the Singapore government to bring down the foreign share of the total workforce to around one-third while encouraging employers to invest in productivity in return for incentives in the form of tax breaks.
The move came as a recent Singapore's policy paper predicted that its population would grow by 30 per cent to 6.9 million by 2030, with immigrants making up nearly half that figure. The paper led to demonstrations in Singapore yesterday, a rare happening in the country, in protest against rise in immigrants.
The step has irked India as the new law does not give India a preferential treatment incorporated in the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CECA) between the two countries, operational since 2005. This stance by the Singapore Government is expected to affect Indians working as middle-level managers, executives and technicians.
Speculations are rife that India might take up the issue with World Trade Organization’s (WTO) dispute settlement body. However, according to Singapore such a decision was imperative in the interest of the natives as the share of the foreign workforce is rising very rapidly.
“The one-third is a long term target and we have not imposed quotas as such for any country. Of course, the end result is still a reduction of the current foreign workforce numbers. But in doing so, I do not think we have contravened our commitments in the WTO or the CECA. Moreover, this is not specifically targeted to any one country. We remain very open to foreign talent,” a senior Singapore government official told Business Standard.
According to the Singapore government, the demand of Employment Passes (EP) has surged since its economic recovery in 2010, necessitating such a step.
There are three types of professional passes under EP – Q1, P2 and P1, depending on the kinds of jobs. As per the new law, the qualifying salary thresholds for Q1 and P2 Passes have been raised from $2,800 to $3,000, $4,000 to $4,500 respectively, while for P1 it remains unchanged at $8,000. The educational qualifications requirements have also been tightened under the Q1 Pass category. Foreign professionals who are already working at present would have to earn even higher salaries to retain their work permits.
The Singapore government is taking these measures--raising the salary ceilings of employment passes or increasing the work permit levy-- to increase cost for companies to bring in foreign talents. Additionally, it will offer incentives to those companies in the form of tax breaks for using high-end technology to do the same job instead of being dependant on labour.
Both India and Singapore are currently reviewing the CECA , the talks for which started in 2010. But it has been stuck ever since over various issues, and now this law is all set to create further hurdles.
According to Indian officials involved in the negotiations, this is a violation of the services trade agreement under CECA. This will also adversely affect Indians who are working there as it might lead to job losses, especially for the middle level workers.
India has submitted a request to Singapore for addressing the matter but has not received a formal communication yet.
Currently, there are about 2,00,000 non-resident Indians in Singapore working in ITES, financial services and scientific research sectors among others, according to one estimate.
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:08 PM
And even so, how on earth does giving preferential treatment becomes synonymous with owing them a livelihood?
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:11 PM
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:14 PM
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:20 PM
Life is very fragile. Nobody knows what's gonna happen next.
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:24 PM
Pai seh, my maths no good. So 2,00,000 is how many ar?! Sillypore really cannot make it, the number of different foreigners from different countries really a lot!!!
That's 2 lakh. If you don't know how much is 1 lakh, look here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakh
And you will know why they put the comma this way.
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:25 PM
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:28 PM
It stated movement of natural persons, faciliating business persons moving into Singapore for work purposes. It didn't say anything about giving them unlimited quota of people coming in to work in Singaporean companies. They can come into Singapore to work, if they get accepted to work here with the valid passes.
These fellas should find a different tree to bark up.
Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:37 PM
He did not serve a single day of National Service and became a Singapore citizen only two years ago at the invitation of the PAP government, but Angelo Marc Jandugan behaves as if he is the rightful owner of Singapore and ticked off a Singapore NSman like nobody’s business!
Angelo Marc Jandugan has earlier implored PM Lee to ignore the ‘noise’ made by Singaporeans and continue his ‘good policy’ of bringing more foreigners into Singapore:
“Hello sir, on behalf of all the Filipino community in Singapore and new citizens like myself, we thank you so much for believing in us and I hope you will continue your good policy of bringing more people from all over the word to take Singapore forward.”
[Source: PM Lee's Facebook]
His insensitive remarks were bombarded by many angry Singaporeans, one of whom is Mark Lee who served two and a half years of National Service and ten years of reservist in a combat unit to protect the likes of Angelo Marc Jandugan and other foreigners.
When Mark wrote to Angelo Marc Jandugan to protest against his remarks, Angelo Marc Jandugan gave him a tongue-lashing:
“You have such a LOSER mentality. You have to wake up….We have people earning so much than you guys..”
He also revealed he became a citizen in 2009 and boasted about having people in the PAP grassroots organizations:
“For your info, I became a citizen in 2009 and voted for GE2011. We have people in your grassroots, RC and PA. We have new citizens who have gone on to become MPs in Punggol.”
He ended his rant at Mark by saying he has the support of the PAP government:
“….we have the FULL support of your government and we love them. They believe in our talent. Face the new reality, migrate somewhere else cause you can’t stop more of my people (from Philippines) from coming here.”
According to his Facebook page, Angelo Marc Jandugan graduated from the University of the Philippines Diliman and is currently working at Deutsche Bank, Singapore. He is probably earning much more here in Singapore than back home.
The University of the Philippines Diliman, is ranked 332 by QS, and 753 by webometrics but can’t be found on the list of THE and ARWU.
Mark Lee may have served his National Service faithfully and even sustained injuries during his stint, but he is still considered a ‘second class citizen’ in Singapore compared to newcomers like Angelo Marc Jandugan whom the PAP government has been exhorting Singaporeans constantly to make them feel ‘welcomed’ in Singapore.
Speaking at a forum recently, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said:
“Singaporeans need to do their part to make newcomers feel welcome, and to help them imbibe the values that have made Singapore strong as a society.”
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