Introduction

When Dr Albert Winsemius became an economic advisor to the Singapore government in 1961, he emphasised on the need to attract foreign investment. Foreign talents and investments play an important role in the development of Singapore's economy. Just as Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew mentioned, foreign talent is the "key to Singapore's future".

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Examples of Policies Regarding Foreign Talent

  • Contact Singapore, an alliance formed between Singapore Ecomonic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower, which aims to attract foreign talents to Singapore
  • The raising of the S-Pass quota for mid-skilled manpower from 10% to 15% in 2007
  • Introduction of Work Holiday Programme (WHP) to give overseas university students chances an experience of living and working in Singapore for up to six months in 2007
  • The setting up of Foreign Sports Talents Scheme to attract sports talents from overseas

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Reasons for Policies

  • To strengthen economic competitiveness.
  • Small talent pool prompts the government to scout for foreign talent.
  • Since Singapore aims to build a knowledge-based economy, people with areas of such expertise are needed since there is a lack of such talents.

In essence, the Singapore government has employed an aggressive policy of attracting foreign talents so as to combat the reality of globalisation.

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Reactions of Singaporeans + Potential Problems

  • Some of them expressed concerns that they might lose their jobs to these foreign talents and that employers might give more chances to foreign talents than local ones.
  • They see foreign talents as unwelcoming competition in the job market, particularly in the current economic crisis where jobs are scarce.
  • Some also think that foreign talents are given extra employment benefits and privileges, which they deem it unfair.
  • Singapore is also currently facing the problem of brain drain, where local talents choose to go overseas to work instead of staying. They also cannot ensure that the foreign talents that they have managed to attract continue staying in Singapore since they may migrate to another country for better opportunities.

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Actions that Singapore's government Took
  • Repeatedly assured that locals will not get retrenched before foreign talents during the economic crisis
  • Helped retrenched Singaporeans to look for jobs and provide re-training and upgrading of skills for them
  • Assured that Singaporeans and foreign talents both have equal opportunities and benefits.