After Donald Trump’s Anti-immigrant policies, Singapore is next to shut down Indian Techies

Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism.

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Singapore, Wikimedia

April 13, 2017: Not only Trump’s America vouches for Anti-immigrant policies, an Island nation has been clamping down on Indian tech workers as part of its efforts to make sure corporations give locals a fair chance and to address concerns about overpopulation. Singapore having a population of 5.4 million people and a manpower of which nearly 40% constitutes nonresidents,  has been ramping up measures to ensure that firms have a “Singapore core.”

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

Officials have remarked that immigrant workers tend to be more frequent in certain industries, including food-and-beverage and technology. Although Singapore hasn’t made any declarations singling out Indian workers or firms, India’s IT trade industry body says it’s seen a definite change in the visa regime.

“They realized that the total number of people they have… far exceed the optimal level [the country can accommodate],” Gagan Sabharwal, director of global trade development at Nasscom, told Quartz.

“That’s when they started shutting the tap down by making it more expensive, making it more cumbersome for companies.”

Nasscom, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, has noted a decline in visas over many years but says things have become individually tough since last year.

In the beginning, Sabharwal states, Singapore started raising salaries required for foreign workers every six months or so by more than 10%. However, promptly, he said, local workers began whining that they weren’t getting paid as generously as their foreign counterparts.

The previous month, Singapore raised the minimum salary that a firm has to pay a local worker in order to count them as a full-time local employee while estimating how many foreign workers it is allowed to hire.

Singaporean officials are also reportedly asking for information in relation to work-permit applications for Indian tech workers that the firms believe is contradictory to a 2005 economic cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Quartz reached out to Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) with interrogations and will update if they counter.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower also necessitates that the companies must provide it with the relevant information on the number of applications submitted by Singaporeans, such as, whether the Singaporeans were interviewed for a vacancy, and the firm’s existing share of Singaporeans in professional, managerial, and executive positions.

In 2016, there were more than 300 applications pending for foreign employment passes after 100 firms came under extra scrutiny for not giving Singaporeans a fair chance.

Work-permit processes have stiffened lately since Singapore affirmed the Fair Consideration Framework, a slew of rules in place since October 2015 to make sure employers really are considering Singaporeans for vacancies. It requires for the company with over 25 workforces to advertise an opening for two weeks before applying for an employment pass for an international worker to fill that space.

“All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,” Nasscom president R. Chandrasekhar told Times of India.

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The total population of Indian techies in Singapore has desiccated to under 10,000, NDTV reported.

“Since about last summer, the approval rates have actually fallen drastically. Most companies are only getting a trickle through,” tells Sabharwal of Nasscom.

Of course, it’s not just Singapore that’s shutting the door on Indian techies, Sabharwal says. The UK, Canada, and the US—the three countries that account for the mainstream of India’s software export revenue—all have made it harder for Indians to drift to each of those locations.

Each of these mentioned places poses a unique problem further than the legal woes: For instance, a resurrection of white supremacist organizations nationwide and xenophobic political rhetoric have fueled hate crimes in the US. While such acts of violence are unheard of in Singapore, nevertheless an unwelcoming sentiment toward Indians has been pervading the Asian country too.

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The city-state—where nearly 10% of the citizens are of Indian heritage and Tamil is an official language—has seen discrimination against prospective home renters of Indian-origin. Inter-racial couples are subject to constant inspection and Singaporean students of Indian descent have complained of being victims of racism. Meanwhile, a new political party, SingFirst, says the city-state needs to focus on “growing our own timber,” when it comes to the workforce, and be less reliant on foreign labor.

Local hiring is also easier said than done, according to Sabharwal, who says it is difficult to find inhabitants to fill positions. He added that companies need to make more of an effort on providing skills training—or be prepared to move operations out.

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Singapore’s home minister, himself of Indian origin, has notified that the city-state must be on guard against populism that could grind ethnic divisions.

The new effort to promote local hiring is also at odds with how Singapore has billed itself over the last half century, as an attractive destination for the globe-trotting highly skilled worker.

– Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94