After the US, Indian information technology professionals are now finding it tough to find work in Singapore, with the country advising Indian companies there to hire more locals, the Times of India reported today.
Work visas for Indian IT professionals have almost stopped and the push to hire more locals has led Indian companies to consider shifting their operations to other countries in the region.
To add to hurdles on issuances, the visa authorities at Singapore are said to be demanding compliance with certain economic pre-requisites via a test called the economic needs test (ENT). The test is being conducted despite clear instructions from the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that no such test be done on agreed services.
Due to such violation of the trade pact, the Indian government has had to defer the review of the CECA. The government has also been forced to decide against expanding the scope of goods where import duties would be cut unless the concerns of domestic industry, both IT and banking, are addressed.
Industry body Nasscom’s President R Chandrashekhar told TOI, the visa problem had been lingering for a while but visa issuances dropped to a trickle since early-2016.
It is interesting to note that Singapore is considering such a move at a time when the demand for IT professionals is rising at a rapid rate there. IT job advertisements in the country grew by 30 percent in Singapore in the fourth quarter of 2016, signalling strong demand as investment in technologies increased, a recent report suggested.