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    Jul 09, 2015

    Wage subsidies for firms to hire unemployed locals as PMEs

    FIRMS looking to hire foreign professionals will soon have to abide by tougher hiring rules, while those prepared to fill their professional, manager and executive (PME) vacancies with unemployed locals will get financial help to offset the wage cost.

    From Oct 1, firms will have to disclose the salary ranges for their PME jobs when they advertise their vacancies in the government-run national jobs bank. This will ensure that there is transparency and accountability in the hiring process so that locals will not be short-changed, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say yesterday.

    When these firms subsequently seek foreigners to fill vacancies after they cannot find locals, some may be singled out by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to give information such as whether locals applied for the jobs and how many were interviewed. This will put firms under "greater scrutiny", Mr Lim said.

    And those which already have a higher ratio of foreign staff, compared with their peers in the industry, will be asked by the MOM to implement a plan to reduce their reliance on foreign PMEs, before the ministry approves new or renews the employment passes of foreigners.

    The ministry has already put the hiring process of some 150 firms under greater scrutiny, said Mr Lim.

    But firms will not just face the stick when they try to hire foreign PMEs. Carrots will also be dangled to coax them to give unemployed locals a shot at the jobs.

    Those which hire unemployed locals for PME jobs that pay at least $4,000 a month can get wage subsidies of between $400 and $2,800 each month for 12 months, to lower the cost of hiring these workers.

    The wage subsidy programme will run for two years from Oct 1.

    Besides the wage subsidy, the Workforce Development Agency is also looking into hiring professional headhunters to help unemployed PMEs find jobs.