The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) says that out of 150 firms that it had called in for “talks” over the past year, 38 were identified for close scrutiny as they were not doing enough to hire and groom Singaporeans.

According to Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, these firms will have their Employment Pass (EP) applications looked at more rigorously, and recalcitrant firms could even be banned from hiring foreign professionals if they do not cooperate.

“Should there be ‘double weak’ firms that are unresponsive or uncooperative, they will have their EP privileges curtailed,” said Mr Lim, in a MOM blog post.

Mr Lim said that the 38 firms identified had a low ratio of Singaporeans to foreigners compared with the industry average and were weak in their commitment to fair consideration of Singapreans when it comes to hiring and developing staff.

Mr Lim added that the MOM was making efforts to enhance the Fair Consideration Framework, introduced last year to get companies to look for suitable Singaporeans before hiring foreign professionals.

On top of the 150 firms, another 100 firms were also identified for MOM to work with as they have unusually high proportions of foreigners for their industries, which include infocomm, finance and insurance, construction, and wholesale trade.

MOM will instruct firms on its watchlist to step up their efforts to train and upgrade Singaporean professionals, managers and executives, and transfer knowledge from foreign staff to locals.

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Before the government say that Singaporeans are too demanding, they should consider our cost of living and think about whether the low pay is enough to safeguard our future. Do you agree?