On October 1st, Singapore’s Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing spoke on how it is extremely imperative for Singapore to remain attractive to global conglomerates in order to retain its reputation as a locus for talent. In the midst of growing local resentment, his message was clear: Singaporeans need to stay open to talent for economic opportunities.
Minister Chan reiterated that global companies like PwC, KPMG and Boston Consulting could be based anywhere in the world, and Singapore possesses access to talent, connectivity and innovation, as the main driving forces in retaining and attracting companies like these on to Singaporean shores:
Singapore will also be building a network of digital economy agreements which will aid professional services firms in having access to foreign markets. This requires Singapore to remain open to the foreign market, to continue to attract talent and industry leaders to the country so that it can be competitive and maintain its gold standard as a business hub.
Why is This Necessary?
For Singapore to keep its financial and business sector thriving, it needs to have better and diversified talent, global connectivity and be able to innovate better than other competing countries. This requires the country to possess key manpower and industry knowledge. It also requires its local workforce to be highly qualified and capable. Remaining open to the rest of the world would therefore allow Singaporeans and Permanent Residents to have unique opportunities that would boost local capabilities further.
In order to facilitate this quid pro quo, Singapore will encourage its local workforce to receive regional and global experience, which is extremely valuable, as well as invest into being an alluring location for foreign talent, as geographical insularity will only serve to drive talent and businesses elsewhere.
Whilst there is still an ongoing discourse among political leaders in Singapore regarding the extent to which Singapore should welcome foreign talent, one fact remains apparent – the economic security and competitiveness of Singapore is currently hinged on how it chooses to adapt and remain resilient in a changing world, as well as its ability to be a desirable location for industry leaders and businesses to settle in.
How Will This Impact Singapore Permanent Resident/Citizenship Applications?
Having been in the industry and equipped with the complexities of all inbound Singapore immigration policies, we can gather that:
- Singapore will continue to ensure that it is attractive to foreign talent and will continue to be encouraging towards relevant business professionals and industry leaders to remain in Singapore.
- We can continue to expect that highly skilled professionals in relevant sectors would be ideal candidates for pass approvals.
- We could still be looking at an increase in Permanent Residency and Citizenship quotas, to convert foreign talent into a key part of the local workforce and by extension, the local talent pool.
In the words of Minister Chan, “We are committed to strengthening our attractiveness to businesses and talent to (get them to) join Team Singapore in order for us to excel against our competitors.”