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HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Singapore expat jobs under threat in recession, local hire push

Recruiters say that the barriers to entry are mounting.

Singapore has long been the city of choice for Western expats wanting an easy entree into Asia. Clean, efficient, with low tax rates, it’s often seen as rivaling Hong Kong, especially with that city hit by street protests and unrest over China’s new national security law.

Yet just when Singapore should be a magnet for global talent, some recruiters say the barriers to entry are mounting. The city is facing the worst recession in its history, forcing a rethink for some firms on expansion and hiring plans. Alongside soaring unemployment has come a spike in rhetoric against foreigners, seen by some Singaporeans as taking jobs from locals.

An experienced nurse from New Zealand is finding out how tough it can be. She seemed, on paper at least, the ideal expat—arriving with her partner right before COVID-19. But 11 months and over 200 failed applications later, she says she’s on the verge of going home, unable to land a work pass.

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