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Singapore Expands Foreign Worker Employment in Hospitality Sector, Including Thailand

As Singapore’s tourism sector gradually rebounds from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is taking measures to address the labor shortage in its service industry by opening its doors to more foreign workers, including those from Thailand.

Singapore is embarking on a strategy to bolster its service sector workforce, which has faced challenges stemming from the labor scarcity resulting from the COVID-19 crisis and the resurgence of tourism. To alleviate these workforce constraints, the Singaporean government has expanded the list of eligible countries whose citizens can work in specific roles within the country.

Workers hailing from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and now Thailand, are eligible to fill positions in nine job categories within Singapore. Among these positions are housekeepers and porters in hotels, cooks in Indian restaurants, and metalworkers.

This move represents a significant departure from Singapore’s previous policy, which limited work permits to residents of Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Margaret Heng, the Director of the Singapore Hotels Association, has expressed satisfaction with the decision to broaden the pool of eligible foreign workers. She believes that this inclusion of workers from a wider array of countries will help alleviate the labor shortage and contribute positively to the country’s hospitality industry.

Singapore’s approach to foreign labor plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s economy, as approximately one-third of its workforce comprises foreign workers with specific types of visas.

In addition to work permits for semi-skilled workers, Singapore offers other visa programs tailored to various professional backgrounds. The Employment Pass (EP) program caters to foreign professional workers, while the S Pass is designed for skilled workers.

Recently, Singapore introduced a groundbreaking assessment framework known as the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). This framework is applied to evaluate Employment Pass applications, scoring applicants based on criteria such as salary, educational background, and qualifications. It also considers skills relevant to in-demand fields like artificial intelligence (AI). COMPASS reflects Singapore’s commitment to attracting skilled talent to fuel the growth of its economy.

With its proactive stance on foreign labor and innovative programs like COMPASS, Singapore is positioning itself to address labor shortages and bolster its service sector, ensuring a steady recovery from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and welcoming talent from an increasingly diverse array of countries, including Thailand.

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