File photo: Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong. Photograph:( Reuters )
Lee also mentioned, in his speech, that several Fortune 500 companies want to set up their Asian headquarters in Singapore
Singapore's economy has seen a downfall due to the ongoing pandemic, which has resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate.
The increase in unemployment rate has led to some locals fearing that the immigrants might be 'snatching away' their jobs. However, the SIngapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has warned these locals against this anti-immigrant sentiment.
In an almost two-hours long speech in the Parliament, Lee Hsien Loong said, "Even as we adjust our work pass policies, we must be careful not to give the wrong impression that we are now closing up and no longer welcoming foreigners."
The statement came after Lee's government made some changes in the conditions for work passes for international workers. Last week, it raised the salary threshold for issuing work passes for foreigners, the second hike this year. This has been one of the main decisions taken by Lee's government to promote local hiring.
The government's initiation towards tightening of the inflow of foreigners has led to an increase in dislike towards the international workers in the city.
The city-state's jobless rate has hit a decade-high in recent months, despite the government spending about S$100 billion ($73.47 billion) in support measures for coronasvirus relief.
Lee also mentioned, in his speech, that several Fortune 500 companies want to set up their Asian headquarters in Singapore, and he also made the announcement that a a pharmaceutical firm, which he did not name, wanted to build a vaccine manufacturing facility in the city. However, he added that "for them to come here, they must feel welcome and be allowed to bring in the talent they need."