My gross salary of $2000+ after CPF is only xxx. I have been resorting to using credit facilities like cash advance or insurance loan for the past few years to get by. I am currently underemployed and I know some friends around me are underemployed as well. Some also work as full time tutors or go without a job for many months. I graduated from SIM in 2009 with a degree from xx University. I was awarded the top student in my specialization and overall top student in my cohort. I received no increment in view of my new qualifications. As 2009 was the peak of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) and given the fact that my first child was due in May last year I did not plan to change my job until this year.
This year, thinking that I could move on to a better paying job, I sent out close to 100 job applications, but I was only called up for one serious interview! I was also ‘tricked’ to turned up for one interview only to find out that it was for a career as an insurance agent which I have tried before many years ago. Quite a few job agencies called me up to seek my permission to forward my resume are also for contract positions – although I agreed to send out my resumes to them I was not called up for any interview. The one serious interview I went for was to a company which is a subsidiary of SATS.
After I filled up my expected salary in the job application form, I was told by my interviewer, who is a director level executive that my expected salary is too high and he did not think I am qualified to do the job but nonetheless wanted to see me in person as my experiences are ‘interesting’. I have many years of working experience and also have a degree but suddenly I am not qualified for the job. Was it the salary expectation that rendered me not qualified?
One statement he mentioned that was etched in my mind was that he does not care if the employee is a Myanmar National, Chinese National or Malaysian, as long as the person can do the job – he will hire him. This statement shows the unlevelled playing field Singaporeans face in the workface. The savings for an employer is huge in terms of CPF contributions, reservist, maternity benefits, annual leave entitlement etc. Foreigners on work permit cannot change job easily. In 2004, I was working in a Thai restaurant as a management trainee, 50% of the staff were Singaporeans. Now most employees in service industries like retail or F & B industry are foreigners.
After that job searching experience, I realized that job security, good prospects and reasonable paying jobs are a thing of the past due to the influx of ‘foreign talent’. Our wages are also severelydepressed. Going for upgrading of skills does not help if the playing field is tilted towards cheap labour from third world countries. Right now, even though my current job has little prospects, it is risky to go after a job which may have more prospects or pays better but lacking in job security. The fact that for many years I was the sole breadwinner also deters me from risking my career for a better paying job.
Singaporean workers at the middle level hierachy like us are facing intense competition from foreigners who are willing to work longer hours (their families are in their home countries but we Singaporeans need to balance our work and family life) and for lesser pay (due to exchange rate they have the luxury of doing that). The fact that inflation is very high in the past few years only served to worsen the situation. Many Singaporeans are either self-employed working in the insurance or property sales sector or they found work in the stable sector. Unless one is a highly qualified professional like lawyers, doctors, accountants or have the right connections, Singapore is a difficult place to survive especially for late bloomers like myself.
I used to be politically apathetic until recently when I started to wonder why GDP is always so high but our wages seldom reflect that growth. I begin to understand that certain policies are indirectly hurting Singaporeans. I can even explain in detail the reasons why I married a foreigner which was linked to my pay and HDB policies but I will want to keep my email short as I understand your time is valuable. I will be following up on my emails with a visit to MPS to meet you, my esteemed MP. I hope that as our MP, you can help the voices of the people to be heard in the parliament.
Date: Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 7:16 PM
I will be 33 years old later this month, I was told by my wife last Sunday that she intended to abort our second child without my knowledge.
I married my wife who is a foreigner in 2009 November. By the time we got married she was already a few months pregnant with our baby. We applied and appealed for her PR status unsuccessfully. We even went to MP xxx before my baby’s birth, despite his letter pleading for our case, her PR application was not approved. We wanted her PR status to be approved before she gave birth as it was very expensive for me to bear the costs of our baby’s birth as my wife is a foreigner.
All the pre-natal appointments, child birth were not subsidised as my wife is a foreigner. On the day my baby was born, in the same ward was another PR couple who enjoyed subsidised rates for child birth. I cannot help but feel unfair that I am a Singaporean citizen but enjoyed less privileges than a PR couple. My salary is only $2000+ gross presently. My father is working as a cleaner for $500 gross a month and my mother is unemployed as she have problems with arthritis. After our application was rejected just after my wife gave birth, we appealed but it was rejected again. I wrote in to ICA but they refused to reveal the reasons for the rejection.
This year around March my wife, feeling the strain of living expenses, decided to look for work. She is currently working as a room attendant at xxxx Pte Ltd for $1100 a month. She is a degree holder and speaks reasonable English. Now that she is pregnant, she will not enjoy maternity benefits as a foreign worker. Chances are her services will be terminated when her tummy becomes visible. I will be applying for her PR status again later this month.
I hope sir you can help us to secure her PR status earlier as our second child will be coming out early next year. The costs of prenatal appointments and child birth for a foreigner is not subsidised and expensive. If you are unable to help her get her PR status, please at least help us to negotiate with the KK hospital or whoever in charge to allow the expenses to be tagged to the father who is a Singapore citizen and not the mother, who’s a foreigner. Every time our application or appeal for the PR status is unsuccessful, it increases the financial burden on us. Short term pass, long term pass, PR applications, etc also cost money.
I know with a work permit now, it is more difficult for my wife to get her PR status. Also, after the last elections, the sentiment on the ground has not been foreigner friendly. But try to understand this, despite my wife not being the highly talented foreign talent, she is here in Singapore today to help build up a family with me. We have heeded the national call by our PM to make more babies… I have also served as a Navy regular for six years and even participated in peacekeeping force in the Persian Gulf .
Please, sir, help us so that the expenses for prenatal appointnments and childbirth are not charged at foreigners’ rate. Please also help my wife get her PR status soon…