After a 12.5 percent increase in the number of S Pass holders from December 2011 to June 2012 [see earlier story], the government is looking at doing more to control the inflow. The Straits Times reported Acting Manpower minister Tan Chuan-jin saying that “We should have an update on this perhaps in the first quarter of next year.” (‘Govt may curb inflow of S-Pass holder’s, 26 Oct 2012)

Another move the ministry is mulling over is to raise the salary threshold as to who is counted as a local fulltime employee, for the purposes of calculating foreign worker quotas. Currently, only local workers earning at least $850 a month are considered full-time.

The effect would not be much different from mandating a minimum wage for local employees in companies that need to hire foreign workers as well.

Straits Times reported:

Mr Tan hinted that the minimum monthly salary “will increase”, but he would not elaborate on how big the increase might be or when it would be implemented. But he promised to talk to unions and employers before setting the higher minimum wage. “I think we will be able to talk about it sometime early next year,” he said.

Separately, Mr Tan told the newspaper that discussion with unions and employers over possible amendments to the Employment Act have been going on, and public views will be sought “soon… in the next month or so” (‘Employment Act: Have your say soon’, 26 Oct 2012). There are no details as yet on any specific proposals.