Foreign Talent (FT) is an expression that is often met with derision in Singapore because of the questionable quality of people being imported into the country.
It became a matter of concern two years ago when Singaporeans began to see a big dip in the quality of life here because of overpopulation through influx from across the shores. Not only were they losing jobs to foreigners even fresh graduates were finding it difficult to enter the workforce. Prime places in the universities in the country were going to foreigners, too.
To compound the situation, the government came up with a lofty plan to boost the population even further – from 5 million to 7 million in 15 years. Not often do governments come up with such insane decisions.
Quality of Life, a Casualty
Singapore was aping the U.S. in every way possible with an eye on the GDP and the economy. In the process, the quality of life has become a casualty.
But the U.S. itself is at a breaking point now after decades and decades of liberalism that disadvantaged Americans. The last few years saw more and more companies in the U.S. laying off American workers who had to train those from overseas who were replacing them. What gumption!
With the emergence of Mr Donald Trump as President, the administration is trying to turn the slogans, “America First” and “America for Americans”, into reality. And why not!
While one of Mr Trump’s first actions was to tackle any influx of terrorists he is also in the process of bringing about changes to the H-1B visa programme. Under this system, 85,000 “high-skilled” foreigners find employment in the U.S. each year, the bulk of them from India.
Through a recent order, the U.S. has suspended expedited processing of H1-B visa applications. But the administration also appears to have indicated that H-1B reform is not a priority for the U.S.
So, Indians can breathe easy! But will a “Singaporeans First” policy come into force in the country? I mean a meaningful policy that goes beyond slogans.
G Joslin Vethakumar