Moonlighting Foreign Workers
Singapore is an island with an approximate area of 42 Kilometers. The country has a population of about 5.08 million of which 1.31 million are foreigners. The country has foreign worker’s policy to maintain a controlled and revolving pool of foreign workers. The workforce provided by the locals is rated low due to several reasons. The declining birth rate in Singapore cannot counter the rate at which the aged are retiring. More people are leaving employment as compared to those joining. This has created a deficit in job replacement forcing the ministry of manpower to employ foreigners. The fast economic growth of Singapore demands a large workforce. Since the country’s population cannot meet this workforce demand, foreigners have been employed to meet the demand. The general work output of Singaporeans is generally poor. Employers keen on the quality of output are therefore forced to look for workforce from outside the country. Such employers are keen on employing foreigners. Availability of these opportunities has lured many foreigners to move to Singapore in search of employment opportunities.
Many foreigners move to Singapore every year with a view of getting jobs. The ministry of Manpower has come up with foreign worker’s policy that should be adhered to when looking for employment in the country. These policies are also to help the Singapore government control the influx of such foreigners. The conditions of the policy are a bit demanding to some foreigners who then opt to work in violation of these conditions. Such foreigners are generally referred to as the moonlighting foreign workers. Such workers may not keep their employment for long time in a specific office for fear of being identified and then subjected to prosecution. Some shy away from jobs in busy offices as such offices will expose them to the security organs of the country. The country’s ministry of manpower has given a list of countries from which foreigners can come for employment. Some of the countries include Taiwan, Pakistan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Peoples republic of China and many more. Foreigners from countries not listed will automatically qualify to be moonlighting foreign workers should they get employed in Singapore. Such foreigners try to obtain documents showing that they are from the authorized countries to get employment in Singapore.
Besides meeting the conditions in the foreign worker’s policy, these workers are expected to undergo medical examinations. The foreigners with questionable medical conditions evade the medical examination and so are employed under unauthorized terms. The employers are also subjected to conditions for employing these foreigners. Some foreigners with certain ailments may prefer not to do the medical examinations and collaborate with the employers to hire them at low rates. Unwillingness to take medical examinations has resulted into many moonlighting foreign workers.
The total employment population of Singapore in 2008 was 2,952,400. The local residents employed then were 1,894,700 leaving a vacancy of 1,057,700 to be filled with foreigners. This number is large and encourages the existence of moonlighting foreign workers. With increased economic growth, this number has definitely increased as well. The working permits given to foreigners are supposed to be used for 2 years. The permits are supposed to be renewed once they expire. The process of renewal also encourages foreigners to opt being moonlighting workers.
Some employers encourage the foreigners to continue working even after the expiry of the permit. Such foreigners are referred to as illegal immigrants and when employed, work as moonlighting foreign workers. Both the employers and employees are given conditions by the ministry to try control the influx of foreigners. The low manpower available in Singapore has made it very difficult to manage the moonlighting foreign workers.