|The cute (and very rare) Singapore baby|
Singapore will widen foreign-worker curbs to professional jobs as the government clamps down on companies that hire overseas talent at the expense of citizens, stepping up efforts to counter a backlash against immigration.In case you're curious, the unemployment rate in Singapore is 2.1%--3% for Singaporeans. While it is minuscule by Western standards, Singaporeans are apparently not keen to compare themselves with the old world:
The Southeast Asian nation said yesterday it will set up a job bank where companies are required to advertise positions to Singaporeans before applying for so-called employment passes for foreign professionals. The unprecedented policy will target jobs that currently pay at least S$3,000 ($2,400) a month, an amount that will be raised to S$3,300 by January.
The job bank will be set up by mid-2014, the Ministry of Manpower said in a statement yesterday. Companies with 25 or fewer employees will be exempt from the new rules, as well as jobs that pay a fixed monthly salary of S$12,000 or more, it said. The cap was set as that would include 95 percent of the local workforce, it said.At any rate, I am convinced that there is nothing structurally amiss with immigration to Singapore for the very simple reason that its total fertility rate is well below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. It has not reached that level since 1976. Barring migrants wholesale would result in depopulation in quite short order since its current total fertility rate is 1.2:
“This is a step up from the government’s efforts to tighten the quality and the quantity of the foreign worker inflows,” said Chua Hak Bin, an economist at Bank of America Corp. in Singapore. “We’re moving to another phase now where they’re looking to ensure that opportunities for the middle-income Singaporeans are maintained.”
The nation’s unemployment rate rose to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, with the resident jobless rate at about 3 percent. That “translates to 50,000, 60,000 Singaporeans without jobs,” Tan, the minister, said. “What the regime allows is that there may be a better matching of demand and supply” between companies and job-seekers, he said.
My take is that there is currently slack in Singapore's mostly white-collar labor market due to a number of factors such as reduced hiring in service sectors alike banking post-global financial crisis. These will soon even out, though, easing complaints from locals that foreigners are "stealing their jobs" and so forth. Natalist policies haven't exactly born fruit. Make no mistake: Singapore's real problem in the medium- to long-term is not having too many people, but having too few of them. (Cue Barbra.)
PS: Besides, isn't Singapore supposed to be the world's most adaptive nation?