Singapore eases hiring rules for Chinese workers in more sectors

Singaporean companies will be allowed to hire Chinese workers who are already in the country. (AP pic)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will loosen restrictions on Chinese work-permit holders in the country to help businesses in manufacturing and services industries that have been hit by labour disruptions during the coronavirus outbreak.

For a six-month period beginning March 2, the Ministry of Manpower will allow companies in those sectors to hire Chinese workers who are already in the country, with the agreement of their existing employers.

Currently, the businesses can only hire Chinese work-permit holders once they have left Singapore.

Minister of Manpower Josephine Teo told reporters Tuesday that the measures will help balance labour needs in the economy, since some companies are facing shortages because workers haven’t been able to return from China, while others have an excess because of lower business volumes.

“This will plug a gap, and we hope that this is also a practical, tangible way in which we can help businesses to manage the current situation,” she said.

The Singapore Business Federation will work with the ministry to facilitate transfers between companies that need workers and those that have an excess. The transfers will apply to workers within the same industry

Companies in construction, process and marine sectors already have this option.