Red Dot United (RDU) on Tuesday (11 Aug) called for a re-evaluation of the Government’s Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) as it proposed a ‘Citizens First (CF)’ hiring policy to address the issue of discriminatory hiring.
This came after 47 employers were placed under the FCF watchlist on 5 August for suspected discriminatory hiring practices against Singaporeans.
“We call on the government to pay closer attention to the overall effect of an increased number of foreign workers in our job market and society and explore new ways to encourage fair and comprehensive consideration on the hiring of Singaporeans,” said the alternative party in a statement yesterday.
RDU cited the 2018/2019 Tripartite Alliance Annual Report which states that from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, one in four public complaints to Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) were related to unfair hiring practices against Singaporeans.
“Short-term government subsidies are limited in both time and reach. Recommendations on re-skilling and re-training workers will span over months or years and does not address the potential issues on discriminatory hiring right now,” it stated.
In fact, MOM’s data showed that the Employment Visa (EVisa) statistics has increased since 2014. Employment Pass (EP) holders require a salary above S$3,000, while Short-term employment Pass (S Pass) holders need to earn at least S$2,400 a month.
Regarding this, RDU said that it is “concerning” because many of the restrictions that are applicable to S Pass are not reflected in EP. Hence, the party proposes to assess the bearing of the EVisa system and study its impact on unfair competition for good jobs among Singaporeans.
“We support a ‘Citizens First’ hiring policy (CF) and call for a re-evaluation of the effectiveness of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) to assess if it is an effective mechanism where Singaporeans are assured of access to good jobs and fair hiring practices,” it noted.
RDU claimed that the CF policy is a form of Labour Market Testing (LMT) which has been implemented in “several first world countries” like Canada and Australia to protect their citizens.
“Unlike the FCF, the proposed CF policy would require the employer to exhaust all reasonable means to hire a Singaporean. MOM will require an approved positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which will demonstrate the need for a foreign worker where no Singaporean is available for the job,” it added.
RDU explained that in order to get a positive LMIA, employers will have to provide reasons on why they want to hire a foreign worker, disclose the numbers of Singaporeans who have applied and interviewed for the job, and justify why they did not hire the considered local candidates.
The party went on to say that the MOM must be mandated to consider some of the elements during the approval process of LMIA, as it requires a stronger mandate for companies to hire local candidates who have the ability to fulfil the job scope.
“LMIA will allow for closer management of the employment visa system where less qualified foreign professionals will not be chosen over Singaporeans. Talent niche and best in class specialization should be the only reasons why a foreign worker should be hired over Singaporeans,” it asserted.
RDU also proposed to implement an award scheme for human resource managers where they will be incentivised for good compliance track records, while those with bad practices in their track records will be penalized individually.
“Such a standard of regulation can be used to help instil a standard of fair hiring practice in this profession. MOM could also incentivise companies who have employed consistently outstanding human resource managers,” it remarked.