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The Government must be Held Accountable for the Impact of the Dependent’s Pass Scheme on Singaporean Workers

In a long over due move, the government has announced that will scrap the scheme where Dependent’s Pass (DP) holders are excluded from companies’ foreign worker quotas.

The move to exclude DP-holders from foreign worker quotas – which has endured for over a decade – has potentially cost Singaporeans tens of thousands of job opportunities over the years.

Even as of March 2021, about 11,000 DP-holders were working in Singapore.

The scheme, in a nutshell, allows spouses and children of work pass holders to hold jobs in Singapore with a Letter of Consent (LOC) issued by the Ministry of Manpower.

With this LOC, they would circumvent the requirements and quotas required of work pass holders.

Come 1 May 2021, this will no longer be the case – all DPs will have to meet eligibility requirements and obtain a work pass before they can work in Singapore.

While the change is welcome, questions abound over the impact of the scheme on Singaporeans over the years.

The Manpower Ministry has simply announced the scrapping of the scheme without explaining in detail its reasons for doing so.

Except, that the move is to serve the interest of Singaporean workers and in line with moves to tighten foreign labour.

The SDA questions then – what was the impact on Singaporean workers throughout the time that the scheme has been in existence?

How many of jobs held by DP-holders could have gone to our citizens if such a scheme was not in place?

Which sectors were these DP-holders employed in?

Were they taking up jobs that Singaporeans could and would want to do, while unemployment and under-employment rates in Singapore rose, and PMET retrenchment levels hit all-time highs?

Only when these questions are answered can the impact of the scheme be measured, and Singaporeans can truly understand how far scrapping it would go towards serving the interest of local workers.

The Manpower Ministry must be held accountable for its policies, and transparent with Singaporeans as to the results of these policies.

Singaporeans are wise enough to laud good policy decisions, and recognise policies which work to their detriment.

SDA Chairman’s Office

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