Review of rules and regulations governing placement on fair consideration framework watchlist

Hazel Asks the Manpower Minister

Ms Hazel Poa asked the Minister for Manpower in view of the fact that companies that have not broken any rules or regulations are placed on the watchlist for indicators like high proportion of employees from certain nationalities, whether the rules and regulations will be reviewed to cover these indicators that have given the Ministry cause for concern.

Mrs Josephine Teo: Employers in Singapore have diverse manpower needs. As a result, their workforce profiles and hiring practices vary widely. This is not a concern as long as employers uphold the letter and the spirit of the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP). In particular, they must consider all qualified applicants fairly. 

 Besides investigating complaints of discriminatory hiring, MOM carries out proactive surveillance. This includes identifying companies whose share of foreign Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) is noticeably higher than their industry peers, or which have a high concentration of a single foreign nationality source. They are then placed on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) Watchlist, during which their work pass applications are subject to closer scrutiny. These companies are also engaged by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) to help them improve their Human Resource (HR) practices and local hiring.

 In most instances, the employers updated their hiring and expanded their employment of local PMETs with help from Workforce Singapore. Since 2016, firms on the FCF Watchlist have hired more than 4,800 Singaporean PMETs in total. Many of the firms have adjusted their HR practices and made sufficient improvements in their workforce profile to exit the FCF Watchlist within a year. For the minority of Watchlist firms who are uncooperative, they are barred from work pass privileges. This approach has therefore allowed for calibrated treatment depending on the employers’ responses, and has expanded local employment more so than rules that uniformly penalise all firms on the Watchlist.

Source : Written Answers to Questions