I couldn't agree more with reader Chua Kim Choo on the authorities capping the number of foreign workers at the right level ("Rethink foreign labour laws", The New Paper, July 8).
Our service industry is in the doldrums, with the pool of staff as it is, and this has eroded our competitive edge as a tourist haven. Overworked service staff cannot offer good service, so this is an area where foreign labour can alleviate the situation and curbs may be unnecessary.
On the other hand, the authorities can implement a moratorium on foreign labour in jobs for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs).
The Government is encouraging senior citizens to re-train and continue working, but they can be edged out from PMET positions by foreign workers on S Passes or Employment Passes.
A few years ago, at the age of 50, I was thinking of a job change and responded to several job openings.
None responded positively and I believe my age was the deterrent.
If more effective curbs were to be imposed on the influx of foreigners, mature locals will have a better chance of clinching PMET jobs. No amount of re-training or re-alignment of expectations will yield results if so many of these jobs are taken by foreigners.
Mature locals who have worked in offices for years are likely to seek similar posts, perhaps with a smaller pay package - they cannot fill the gaps in the service industry.
FROM READER BRENDA LEE
This article was first published on July 12, 2014.
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