S'pore hires more foreigners, mostly work permit holders in construction sector, as borders reopen

MOM expects non-resident employment to continue to recover and alleviate some of the tightness in the labour market.

Zi Shan Kow | April 30, 2022, 02:29 PM

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Singapore is employing more foreigners as borders reopen, based on a labour market advance release for the first quarter of 2022 by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Apr. 28.

Growth mostly in construction sector

Non-resident employment growth picked up pace in the first quarter and formed the bulk of the increase in total employment.

Most of this increase can be attributed to work permit holders in the construction sector.

For the rest of the sectors, non-resident employment was stable or only saw slight increases.

"With the progressive lifting of border restrictions, the increase in non-resident employment was significantly greater than that of resident employment, as employers replenished their non-resident workforce," said the preliminary report.

Non-resident employment to recover

As of December 2021, non-resident employment was about 18 per cent below its pre-pandemic level in December 2019.

The ministry expects non-resident employment to continue to recover, given the significant relaxation of border measures from April 2022.

This will alleviate some of the tightness in the labour market, the report added.

The report also noted that resident unemployment, which is comparable to pre-Covid levels, held steady. Retrenchments also declined to a record low.

The full detailed report with further breakdowns of resident and non-resident employment is due for release in mid-June 2022.

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Top images by Unsplash/Oleksii Drozdov.