1. I wish to give my views about the current Government policy of giving permits for foreigners to work in Singapore. I do not use the word "foreign talent"; instead I will refer to them by the more common terms of foreigners, foreign workers or expatriates.
2. I disagree with the strategy of employing foreigners to reduce our business cost and improve competitiveness, or even to do the work that Singaporeans do not want to do.
3. I believe that there will be Singaporeans who are willing to do most kinds of work, if the pay is adequate and the working conditions are safe and satisfactory. This applies even to the more risky jobs in construction sites and ship repairs. In the developed countries, they are able to find locals who are willing to do these jobs, so why can't we?
4. When foreign workers are taken in at lower salaries to reduce business cost, there is a risk that they will displace our local workers. In this past, this was confined to the sectors considered to be risky, such as construction and ship repair, but it has now expanded to many other sectors, including cleaning, nursing, service jobs and even the PMETjobs.
5. The foreigners are able to accept lower salaries because their goal is to earn money to send to their families back home, where the cost of living is only a fraction of Singapore. Our locals cannot compete with the foreigners because they have to earn enough to meet the high cost of living in Singapore.
6. Our males are further handicapped by the need to go for reservist duties, which disrupt the work schedules and make them less preferred by many employers.
7. This situation in Singapore is now quite untenable. Having opened the flood gates, the Government does not know how to deal with the situation. Is there any other option? Can we rely more on local workers and less on foreign workers?
8. An economy that entirely on local workers will adjust the wages for various occupations to the appropriate level based on supply and demand. If the economy is competitive and vibrant, there will be sufficient jobs for all the locals, especially if they are well educated and highly trained.
9. Even the less educated can get employed in the jobs that suit their skills, such as cleaning and manual work. If these jobs pay adequately, they will be Singaporeans willing to do the work. We have no shortage of locals doing cleaning, nursing and other manual work in past years.
10. We can have continue to bring in foreigners with the skills that are needed in our economy and are in short supply, including the expatriates and entrepreneurs. We should be prepared to give them permanent residency after a few years, and allow them to bring them families here.
11. If they fit into our environment, our aim is to make them into our citizens and integrate them into our society. This is similar to how we treated Malaysians in the past. We can now extend this treatment to other nationals, who have an interest to make Singapore into their home.
12. The foreign workers should be placed on the same salary levels as the locals for the same type of work and performance, so that their cost to the employer is the same. It is all right for the Government to impose a levy to be paid by the foreign workers, if their family do not live in Singapore.
13. There is a fear that our businesses will not be competitive, if the wages are increased. This fear is largely unjustified. Wages are only one component of the total cost of doing business. The other costs, such as rents, taxes and bureaucratic costs and transaction costs can be reduced through government policy and national collaboration.
14. If Singaporeans are assured that they can get jobs that are suitable to their skills, and they can earn adequate wages to meet the cost of living, to afford a home and to save for the future, they will be willing to welcome immigrants to contribute to a better life in Singapore.
15. We need to manage immigrants in a more holistic way. We have to access their skills and their desire to make a home in Singapore - instead of their willingness to work at lower pay to make our businesses more competitive. If they do not serve National Service, they should be expected to pay an additional tax.
16. It is possible for us to re-think about the structure of our work force, and if work towards a more sustainable model.