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SG Govt must Balance Immigration Laws with Fintech Dreams

The government of Singapore has constantly reiterated its intent to become a global leader in fintech. Several initiatives of the government are directly or indirectly aimed at promoting the city state as a fintech hub. It is already a leading player in the region. Following the exit of Britain from the European Union, there is an exponentially greater chance for Singapore to actually become the largest fintech center in the world. The Singapore Fintech Festival, the numerous initiatives under the Smart Nation program, the changes in existing laws to facilitate the boom of a burgeoning industry and proposed legislations to further boost investment would definitely help the country realize its fintech dreams. However, skilled manpower continues to remain a strong hurdle in its path to unprecedented glory.

The ambitious programs of Singapore may fall well short of expectations if the dearth of talent is not addressed. The country has been tightening the immigration policies, partly to protect the interests of its citizens and partly to ensure there is no massive influx of relatively unskilled or less skilled immigrants. This has had a direct impact on the influx of actually skilled and talented professionals from around the region. The government has a stated objective of adding or generating a thousand jobs in the fintech sector every year. The various universities and polytechnics in the country deliver around four hundred graduates every year. There is an immediate shortfall of six hundred skilled graduates, with or without experience in fintech. This shortage in available talent makes the capacity of adding a thousand fintech jobs irrelevant. It is futile to generate jobs if there are no takers or skilled people to capitalize the opportunities.

If the shortage of available talent is not countered with more favorable immigration policies, the investors and various companies that are contemplating venturing into Singapore and especially in the fintech sector will be cautious and they may choose other hubs in the region or beyond where they would not struggle to hire the best minds. By the end of 2016, the number of fintech jobs or tech jobs in the financial services sector was pegged at twenty six thousand two hundred. The number of employment passes generated in 2017 witnessed a substantial decline. This was the first such decline in five years. While the government should try to protect jobs for citizens and locals, there has to be a more pragmatic immigration policy to make the available talent pool relevant and enticing enough for fintech firms and investors.

Singapore has a dearth of programmers, blockchain developers and data scientists, jobs that are witnessing substantial growth right now. Many experts and industry leaders are of the opinion that Singapore should consider experimental immigration schemes such as an employment pass valid for a year, specifically for fintech workers. These programs can be supported and vetted by relevant industry associations. The immediate shortage in talent can be countered effectively with such prompt policies. Singapore is a tiny country with just over five and a half million people. It has an ageing population. The government must balance immigration laws with fintech dreams.

About the Author

Morris Edwards is a content writer at, he writes different topics like Singapore’s Immigration Visa Schemes, Monetary Authority of Singapore a strong supporter of Fintech and all topics related to Singapore Business and Tech. More info on how to  Incorporate a Singapore company  visit our website.

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