Not for love of money, but of Humanity. "Greater is he who works for the good of all, then he who works for the good of himself only" ~ Matthew 25:40: "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"- (NIV). I live in Singapore where the Emperor must not be disturbed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Why not scrap this bureaucratic rigmarole an standardize the levy amongst all foreigners working here?

Singapore government plans $5.26B tax bonanza from new foreign worker levy rates.
Total foreign worker employment levies collected (new levy rates) = $1,651,680,000 (WP-cons) + $511,560,000 (WP FDW) + $2,587,620,000 (WP- svc+mfc) + $508,380,000 (S-pass)= $5,259,240,000.
Same calc, minus the new FW levy rate increases.
Total foreign worker employment levies collected at current rates (YA2011)= $699,360,000 (WP-cons) + $511,560,000 (WP FDW) + $1,588,440,000 (WP- svc+mfc) + $178,620,000 (S-pass)= $2,977,980,000.
The new levy collections, at $5,259,240,000 is a 76.6% increase over the current $2,977,980,000 in annual WP/S-pass levy collections, an increase of $2,281,260,000 in nominal terms.
Whatever the case, I really do find the various MOM ties of levies most confusing and liable to misuse and abuse as mentioned in parliament:
"Mr Ong Ah Heng (Nee Soon Central): (In Mandarin): A lot has been mentioned in the media about foreign workers and foreign talents. Today, I want to talk about workers who are employed in the HDB restaurants, eating shops and coffeeshops. Sir, according to my knowledge, these shopkeepers employ foreign workers in the ratio of six-to-one. In other words, they have to employ six local workers before they can employ one foreign worker. One shopkeeper told me that coffeeshops do not need six workers; they need only two to four workers. All these are only in name, and the authority adopts an "open-one-eye and shut-one-eye" policy". [link]
And the totally incoherent and absolutely nebulous 'GUIDELINES ON COMPUTATION OF COMPANY’S QUOTA BALANCE (4th Edition)' [MOM link].

And not to mention how all this bureaucratic rigmarole fails to restrict the scalpers who seem to have gained a foot hole exploiting and deceiving potential foreign workers with jobs in Singapore that never materialize:
- 'Eight Reasons Why Foreign Workers Will be Preferred Over Our Local Ones' [TR, 19Mar2010]:
4. Scams and schemes: "One of the worst offspring of the whole foreign worker saga is the exploitation of work permit visas issued by our Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Any registered companies have access to a certain quota of worker permit holders. What we are witnessing is perhaps the largest human trafficking scam that we have seen in modern days. The most frustrating thing is that it is all supposed to be legalised and legitimate. ..." [link]
- 'Don't blame it all on workers': [ST, 21Feb2011]
"We have encountered cases where the fake education certificates were, in fact, procured by the recruitment agent in Singapore or the country of origin without the worker's knowledge.
The workers found out about this only after they had arrived in Singapore. They had no intention of violating our laws."
Harmonizing all FW levies into one standardized rate would, whilst very much simplifying our tax regime, remove the opportunities for shady businessmen to either scalp work permits to foreigners, and MOM from the need to practice its rather arbitrary and ludicrous "open-one-eye and shut-one-eye" policy" in respect of its granting of work permits and levy collection policies.

There nothing wrong with standardizing the FW levy- it is merely a fee that employers pay in lieu of employing a foreigner a job- overall market forces will deal with the demand; only this much and not more government intervention is necessary bearing in mind how problematic the existing system is.

Work at MOM would be so much smoother if the Minister and his team didn't micro-manage the Singapore worker and companies so much; and with more transparency in MOM practices and reports, perhaps Singapore would be a state renown for best practices rather then petty bureaucracy.

The cobwebs in our halls of parliament need a sweeping.

Pls see: 'Cohesion dividends for all Singaporeans': "With equal distribution of 'cohesion dividends', Singaporeans can better take control of their own productivity vs the enhancement of local productivity through foreigner deployment. A low WP/S-pass levy would mean more foreigners- higher 'cohesion dividends' for Singaporeans but more competition in the job market. A high WP/S-pass levy vice versa."[HWZ, 22Feb2011]

At/ related:
22Feb2011: Singapore government the new slave trader on the block

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