UNWISE FOR S’PORE TO SHUT DOORS ON FOREIGN TALENT

The letter “Do more to retain foreign allied health therapists in social service” (Oct 22) raises the question of how feasible it is to supply every sector with the quality and quantity of home-grown personnel required.

In both the public and private sectors, manpower will always be an issue in countries that face the disadvantage of a small selection pool.

Meritocracy is required to ensure that standards are high and never compromised. How, therefore, can a country remain ultra-competitive if it does not recruit globally?

Education is a means to an end, but it is not the only prerequisite; a university education is only as good as its standards, and if the courses feed the industries’ needs well.

Then, there is blue-collar and menial work, which is vital to the sustainability of any given society. Cutting back on labour means that services will have to be reduced, even with plenty of potential financial help from the Government.

It is simple logic that labour curbs are, in the end, self-defeating. Caring for an ageing population is labour-intensive, if a high standard of care is required.

How can care be provided adequately if there is a labour shortage in every service industry? Caring for the aged is hard work.

It is a demanding job, physically and mentally, yet little credit is given to caregiving.

Let us imagine ourselves as dependants and in want of care. How different our views might be.

Countries supplying foreign labour today are themselves developing. If we close our doors now, we cannot, in turn, expect to be welcomed to their markets with open arms in later years.

Let us have foresight and see our needs today as the needs of others too, to share our opportunities as we share in theirs one day.

June Cheah-Nicholls

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