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EFMA Amendments Seek To Improve Singapore Labor Force Stability

As Singapore steps into the second half of the year, the Singapore parliament has been pushing to amend the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) to improve the lives of its growing manpower. After all, Singapore’s economy owes much of its impressive and steady growth from its competent network of professionals and skilled laborers.

The amendment proposals to EFMA were presented by acting labor minister Tan Chuan-Jin during a parliament meeting in August. The proposals aim to impose a stricter set of rules for employers who are thinking of violating Singapore’s labor laws.

Changes to the EFMA include penalizing employers to hire “phantom” employees to be able to meet the quota for their foreign labor pool, increasing penalties of labor law violators, and punishing employers who are receiving bribes for illegally hiring foreign employees.

The proposed changes to the EFMA seek to protect both local and foreign workers in Singapore to create a more balanced work atmosphere for the two. By controlling the arrival of foreign laborers, more jobs would be made available to Singaporeans. Salary ranges would also increase, improving their standard of living.

Expats who are granted a work pass in Singapore, meanwhile, would also benefit from the amendments as they will be protected from opportunistic employers and unnecessary fees. The changes would seek to regulate the work activities of foreign workers, making sure they are correctly and sufficiently paid for their hard work, without getting ripped off by their employers or by the third-party employment agencies.

The changes are reported to be implemented by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) by the end of the year.

Over 40 percent (40%) of Singapore’s population is composed of foreigners, according to a report released by United Nations in 2010. With the new and updated EFMA, employers are less likely to circumvent employment rules.