Tan See Leng: We Need Foreign Talents. Don’t Think Whatever we do is Sufficient

Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng recently explained why Singapore needs the Overseas Network and Expertise (ONE) Pass. The new pass aims to attract top foreign talents earning more than $30,000 a month. The objective is for them to come to Singapore and ensure we remain competitive in the world.

Nevertheless, many Singaporeans have reservations about the Pass. Why do we need so many foreign talents? Do we not have our own? Is it not enough that we train locals? Responding to these questions, Dr Tan said:

“It is not that we don’t have enough talent, it is just that the whole world – the economies and the industries – they are progressing at even bigger and faster speeds than what we are able to change.”

He also mentioned:

“The fact that we are such a small population, and to think that whatever we do is sufficient, we have been training enough, it is really taking many many steps back.”

Dr Tan said the rate of change in the world today is so fast, we will fall behind if we do not open up. He thinks Singapore is not quick enough when it comes to staying competitive and reinventing ourselves. Therefore, we need people of higher caliber to help us stay ahead of the curve.

Although he is uncertain if bringing in foreign talents will bridge that gap, he is sure “we cannot do without it”.

He gave an example of how some of the top US companies were founded by non-US citizens and propelled by foreign talents. With this, he persuaded Singaporeans to be open to possibilities of change and believe the ONE Pass will benefit locals. Only by doing so will we have our much needed first-mover advantage. We need to open up, “ride the flow” and extract all the best talents.