Proposed Changes to EFMA Seen as Key Step to Improving Stability in Singapore Workforce

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Janus analysis of the recently proposed amendments to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) shows that the Singapore government is looking at stricter regulations to work towards achieving a balanced and stable workforce.

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Employers will be less inclined to skirt the rules, and thus will be more encouraged to employ local Singaporeans rather than illegally bringing in foreign workers.

The proposals, which were presented by Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin in Parliament earlier this week, aim to provide harsher penalties for employers attempting to circumvent the country’s various regulations regarding the employment of foreign workers. The main points of the proposals are to:

  • Make it illegal for employers to hire ‘phantom’ local workers to fill quota for foreign labor, or to receive kickbacks in exchange for hiring or retaining an employee
  • Increase penalties for employers who violate foreign manpower regulations
  • Create new Administrative Financial Penalty (AFP) regulations that deal with administrative infringements and complement existing criminal prosecution
  • Enhance MOM's investigatory abilities of violations through presumption clauses

Analysis by Janus Corporate Solutions, a leading services provider for Singapore business registration and the parent of, shows that the proposed amendments will benefit the labor market and economy as a whole as they are a significant move towards achieving balance between local and foreign workers.

“The proposals are a logical yet noteworthy step for the Singapore government, which is looking to tighten control on foreign manpower in the country amid increased calls by local Singaporeans to curb the rapidly rising population,” said Ms. Jacqueline Low, Chief Operating Officer of Janus Corporate Solutions.

“According to a United Nations report in late 2010, foreigners comprised 40 percent of the total population in Singapore. This was significantly higher than any other developed country in the world. On top of that, local Singaporeans have been lamenting that the sudden surge of foreigners has lowered salaries while increasing property prices and the overall cost of living.”

While looking to control the influx of foreign workers, the proposed changes to the EFMA also aim to protect any foreigners who do end up finding employment in Singapore.

“Often we have seen reports of employees not getting paid the correct salary or overtime pay, or ending up with a job completely different from what they were told. Many often pay huge sums to middlemen and agencies promising to give them secure jobs, but ended up taking home wages so small that they cannot even recover the amount they paid for their relocation to Singapore,” she added.

However, with the MOM intending to implement the new changes to the EFMA by the end of 2012, more balance is on the horizon for Singapore’s workforce.

“Employers will be less inclined to skirt the rules, and thus will be more encouraged to employ local Singaporeans rather than illegally bringing in foreign workers. At the same time, foreign workers who come here can feel more secure knowing that they will not be taken advantage of by dishonest employers or agencies. This will lead to better relations among employers and employees, and will boost productivity for Singapore in the long term,” concluded Ms. Low.

About Janus Corporate Solutions Pte Ltd
Janus Corporate Solutions Pte Ltd is a leading Singapore-based firm that provides comprehensive and cost-effective Singapore company formation, employment visa, accounting and tax filing services to businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. For more information, visit

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