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Politics

Singapore juggles global talent vs local jobs under COVID threat

Lee warns against turning inward but new policy raises cost of foreign hiring

Singapore's leaders are under pressure to protect jobs for citizens without missing out on foreign talent.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE -- Simmering discord over Singapore's skilled foreign workforce resurfaced this week, as lawmakers gathered to debate policies for the first time following the competitive general election in July.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday stressed in parliament that the city-state remains open to overseas investors, even as his government tightens rules on hiring of non-locals. After immigration emerged as one of the hottest issues in an election that saw the opposition make unprecedented gains, Lee is walking a fine line -- attempting to reassure citizens hit by the COVID-19 pandemic without scaring off businesses.

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