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After US, Singapore Too Embraces Protectionism; Stops Issuing Visas For Indian IT Professionals

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Singapore Stops Issuing Visas

If you thought that Donald Trump-led USA is the only country which is stopping the inflow of skilled professionals in their country, then think again.

In an anti-free-market move, Singapore is now stopping Indian IT professionals from entering their country as their issuance of work visa has dropped “to a trickle”, in the last 12 months.

In a clear cut case of protectionism, Singapore Govt. is indirectly forcing Indian firms to only hire local talent.

And the after-effects are clearly visible, as most of the IT biggies are now slowly but gradually moving away from Singapore, and establishing their presence elsewhere.

Protectionism By Singapore?

As per a report published by TOI, it has been revealed that Singapore is using a regulation called “Economic Needs Test” or ENT to deny a visa to Indian IT professionals. ENT requires compliance with some economic criteria, using which, they are forcing Indian firms to only hire local talent.

Same like the US, Singapore is actually using a maze of regulations and laws to protect their own citizens, and ensuring that only they get jobs in IT firms.

Nasscom president R Chandrashekhar said, “This (visa problem) has been lingering for a while but since early-2016, visas are down to a trickle. All Indian companies have received communication on fair consideration, which basically means hiring local people,”

As per unofficial reports, leading Indian IT firms such as HCL, TCS, along with Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, L&T Infotech and others are now considering to relocate from Singapore and establish their overseas offices in other countries.

Indian Govt. Strikes Back

Meanwhile, after analysing the scenario, and understanding the fact that Singapore Govt. wants only locals for IT jobs, Indian Govt. has decided to put on hold the crucial Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between India and Singapore.

As per reports, Indian Govt. is upset over Singapore denying work visa to Indian IT professionals, and consider it as a violation of trade pact signed under Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

An Indian official said, “They (Singapore) are doing it despite the CECA clearly stating that there will be no ENT or quotas on agreed services. This is a violation of the agreement,”

If CECA is put on hold, then trade ties between India and Singapore can come to screeching halt, and mutual trade relations can severely hamper.

Interestingly, after US Govt. started imposing newer, stricter rules against H1-B visa holders and Indian IT firms established in the US, other frontiers opened up for Indian professionals.

Japan has already rolled out a red carpet for Indian skilled workers, whereas European Union has welcomed Indian IT professionals with open arms.

We will keep you updated as we receive more information on Singapore’s objections to Indian IT professionals. Do share your views by commenting right here!

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