By Justin Ong
SINGAPORE – Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Singapore office of a United States-headquartered technology company has shed a third of its staff, which included forgoing 60 places that would have been filled by Employment Pass (EP) holders.
The main reason? “We can’t afford it,” a regional vice-president for the company told The Straits Times, citing how minimum EP salary requirements have been raised three times in under three years. These are roles that Singaporeans could not have filled as they required proficiency in languages such as Thai or Vietnamese, she added.
A general exodus of EP holders since the pandemic began has prompted some soul-searching as to whether Singapore is still a choice destination for such talent, an issue that directly affects the Republic’s overall competitiveness.