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The Tightening Of Foreign Worker Policy In Budget 2013

The adjustments in the foreign worker policies announced by the government in its Budget 2013 have raised some eyebrows. To decrease Singapore’s dependency on foreign talents and encourage more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to hire local employees, the government increased the qualifying wage salary and levies of foreign workers. The S Pass qualifying salary has been increased from S$2,000 to S$2,000 starting July of 2013. The main goal of these initiatives is to manage the Dependency Ration Ceiling and segregate it according to sector and categories.

To encourage Singapore employers to increase the salary and improve employees’ quality of life, the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) is introduced. To further inspire small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to hire more Singapore citizens as employees, the WCS offers a co-funding with the qualified companies that amounts up to 40% of the employees wage increase. Valid until 2015, the main aim of the scheme pushes for the sharing of productivity gains with workers and ease the increasing manpower costs in a tight labour market. The employees must be Singaporean citizens who earn a monthly salary of S$4,000 or below and must have been with the company for at least three months.

SMEs can also enjoy corporate tax rebates and apply for Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) Scheme. These are not only meant to hearten more individuals to innovate and start a business in Singapore but also to help existing small and medium-scale enterprises to survive amidst cut-throat competition and grow.

The Singapore government with these policies shows its commitment to support the SME sector to build relationships with the industrial giants so that they can, not only grow consistently with technological advancement but also effective strategic planning. The Association and Trade in Singapore is being the common ground and helping the small-scale industry overcome their productivity hurdles.

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