Singapore-India Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) does not provide Indian citizens with unconditional access to Singapore or immigration privileges, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Saturday (November 9th).
Mr. Chan claims that the bilateral agreement is low in job opportunities because Singaporeans aim to eliminate fears in times of economic uncertainty.
Media reports on Chan's testimony reported that there were inaccuracies in relation to free trade agreements (FTA).
Channel News Asia said that one of such inaccuracies allowed CECA's Indian citizens to remove PMET (professional, management, manager and technician) jobs from Singaporeans.
In a statement to the press, Chan said that all FTAs, including the CECA, have brought no obligations to Singapore regarding immigration.
“Indian professionals, like other professionals in other countries, MOMs (the Ministry of Manpower) must meet the current qualifying criteria to work in Singapore. This applies to the Employment Gateway, S Gateway, and work permit.
“Second, CECA does not grant privileged immigration access to Indian citizens. Anyone applying for Singapore citizenship must be qualified according to our current criteria..
In response to allegations lost by Singaporeans in PMET jobs, Mr. Chan said the country's FTA network has actually increased these jobs from 400,000 to 1.25 million since 2005.
However, CECA did not specify how many PMET jobs were created. To mention this, there was an explosion in the number of Permanent Residents during the time Chan stated. Obviously, new PRs and new citizens converted from PRs are those who serve as the Immigration and Control Point Authority to the PMET, indicating that only one Employment Pass or S Pass holder can apply for PR.
Mr. Chan acknowledged that economic uncertainties raise concerns about job security, while maintaining fear is not the right response.
Uz We understand and share the concerns of Singaporeans with competition and business opportunities in the current uncertain economic environment. But the way to help Singaporeans is not to mislead them and to create fear and anger. ”
Yolu The way to help Singaporeans is to make sure that we are expanding our markets first for our businesses. Continuously train our employees to stay ahead of the competition. Never allow others to assume the fears and racial prejudices of our people. Never do this for selfish personal or political reasons. ”
Chan said MOM is aware of companies that violate fair recruitment practices and will extract them to protect Singaporean workers and businesses.
Controversial CECA terms
On June 29, 2005, India and Singapore signed CECA. This free trade agreement not only allows Singapore and India to trade goods freely, but also makes it easier for professionals to work in other countries.
The CECA ended after 13 rounds of negotiation, and Singapore's side was ruled by none other than Heng Swee Keat, the current Prime Minister, then the Permanent Secretary of Commerce and Industry. Heng and his team basically did the groundwork with their Indian colleagues. He then presented his proposals to politicians for approval.
Some of the areas covered by CECA include: Improved Avoidance from the Double Taxation Agreement, Trade in Goods, Customs, Investment, Trade in Services, Intellectual Property, and so on.
However, controversial ones include Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) to facilitate the more free movement of professionals between Singapore and India. It helps to recognize each other's educational and professional qualifications so that Indian and Singaporean professionals from the following five professions can practice in other countries:
- Accounting and Auditing
- Medicine (doctors)
Singapore already recognizes degrees from Indian doctors and nurses from some Indian universities.
Subsequently, the CECA enables the movement of persons between the two countries. In particular, professionals of 127 specific professions will be allowed to enter, and whichever is less, may remain for up to 1 year or remain contractual.
In addition, intra-company transfers (eg managers, managers and experts within organizations) will be allowed to remain and work for a first term up to 2 years or the duration of the contract (whichever is less) in India and Singapore.
The stay period can be extended up to 3 years at a time for a period not exceeding 8 years.
Politicians ask about CECA's problems and benefits, unanswered
While Chan says CECA brings business to Singaporeans and Indian citizens, there is no data to support his claim when claiming he did not steal from Singaporeans.
For the figures, we know that approximately 5,400 local professionals, managers, managers, and technicians (PMETs) were reconsidered in 2018. Despite being the lowest level since 2014, PMET was announced to have about 34,000 local employment growth funds. 79.3% of local inspection and in 2018 saw 11,100 foreign S-Pass growth across all sectors.
In 2016, Leon Perera, a deputy without a Labor Party constitution, asked the Minister of Manpower for the number of in-company transfers (ICT) from India approved by the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) from India. The year in which the agreement entered into force and last year in which the data was available. In response, however, then Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said the ministry did not deprive nationality of data on foreign manpower, including data on ICTs.
This non-transparent policy remains the same to this day.
Earlier this year, Dr. Tan Cheng Bock said that at the official opening of the Singapore Party of Progress, his party would ask the government to bring a balance sheet to explain how Singapore has benefited from the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) of India-Singapore. India and Singapore signed with India to allow citizens to travel to every country to look for work.
Dr. Kaç How many local businesses went to Indian professionals and how many Singaporeans went to India? Tan Tan asked.
Theoretically, of course, CECA can also benefit Singaporean professionals who want to work in India, but how many Singaporeans really want to work there to win in rupees?