THE Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has identified 38 firms as requiring "closer scrutiny", as these firms have been found to have a weak Singaporean core, and weak in commitment to fair consideration in hiring and developing Singaporeans.

These "double weak" firms will have their employment pass (EP) applications scrutinised more closely and be asked to provide additional details, such as the number of Singaporeans who applied and were interviewed for the posts, and whether their existing Singaporean employees have been considered, said Minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say, in a blog post on Thursday.

Since the Fair Consideration Framework was introduced last year to ensure Singaporeans are considered fairly for job openings before firms apply to employ foreign PMEs (professionals, managers, and executives), MOM has engaged 150 firms.

The ministry has also identified about 100 more firms for further engagement. They are the outliers in their respective industries such as admin & support, construction, infocomm, finance & insurance, professional services, transport & storage and wholesale trade.

In addition, MOM will also engage these firms to step up their efforts in the training, development and upgrading of local PMEs. If there is a shortage of qualified Singaporeans in some specific areas, these firms will be encouraged to transfer the know-how from the foreign PMEs to their Singaporean staff.

"(This is) so that over time, more Singaporeans will be qualified to take on these opportunities and challenges," said Mr Lim. "Should there be 'double weak' firms that are unresponsive or uncooperative, they will have their EP privileges curtailed."

He added: "Working together, we can help companies to grow their businesses and Singaporeans to grow their careers, in a win-win partnership."