Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song: The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is one of the criteria in the COMPASS framework. MOM has said that the first SOL will be announced this month. It is expected to identify occupations requiring skills that are currently in shortage in the local workforce.
Could the Minister share what occupations will be included in the SOL? Will the SOL take into account the pipeline of local ITE, polytechnic and university graduates in both local and foreign institutions? For example, if there are many local graduates in, say, information and communications technology (ICT) next year, the SOL should be revised accordingly.
With the knowledge of skill shortages in the SOL, schools, tertiary institutions and adult education centres can better plan their curriculum and intake size to better prepare local students and workers to fill them. The Government should work closely with ITEs, polytechnics and universities to expand their intake of courses for occupations in the SOL.
How frequently will the SOL be reviewed? I hope it will be reviewed frequently so that it can be responsive to changes in industry requirements and we will not have situations where an occupation remains on the SOL when there is sufficient local talent in that area.
Finally, the SOL should be included as one of the foundational criteria of COMPASS instead of only being a bonus criteria. This could prompt firms to search harder for available local talent before turning to foreigners.
All these can create more opportunities for Singaporeans in the workplace and reduce the heavy reliance on foreigners in our workforce.
Ministry of Manpower
1 March 2023