SINGAPORE, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday that the city-state have to make adjustment to the work pass schemes, but must not send the wrong signals of closing up to foreign talents.
He said when delivering a speech in the parliament that the numbers of both Employment Pass holders and S Pass holders in Singapore have been coming down since COVID-19 outbreaks this year.
"But we still have to make adjustments to our work pass schemes because there is now more slack in the job market, but also because over time, the education levels, capabilities and incomes of our local workforce have gone up," he added.
According to the prime minister, Singapore uses foreign work pass policies to control the inflow of foreign workers, and ultimately ensure that they add to the workforce in Singapore rather than substitute for them and benefit Singaporeans rather than hurting them.
He said that Singapore, as a small country with small population, have no choice but to topping up with foreign workers and work pass holders to grow its economy. By being open to talents from all over the world, Singapore created more opportunities for its people, and it has succeeded by being an international hub, tapping talents worldwide, and serving a global market.
"So even as we adjust our work pass policies, we must be careful not to give the wrong impression that we are now closing up, and no longer welcoming foreigners," Lee said. "Such a reputation would do us great harm."
Singapore has to do the right thing for itself, but must also avoid sending the wrong signals to others, he added.