Singapore on Monday announced new work visa rules in a bid to attract foreign workers. The measures include include giving a five-year work pass to foreign workers who earn a minimum of 30,000 in Singapore Dollar (around Rs 17 lakh) per month.

The rules will be applicable from January 1.

The country’s Ministry of Manpower said that individuals with outstanding achievements in fields of arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and research and academia, can also qualify even if they do not meet the salary requirement.

“The pass will be personalised…that allows holders to concurrently start, operate, and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time,” the ministry said. “Their spouses will be able to work on a letter of consent.”

Singapore, which is a popular choice for foreign firms to base their regional headquarters, has been facing a shortage of skilled workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Reuters. It had imposed strict pandemic rules that forced many expatriates to leave the country.

“We cannot leave any room for investors to doubt or have questions as to whether Singapore remains open,” said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said a press conference. “As a country with little or no resources, talent is our only resource and talent acquisition is an offensive strategy for us.”

The minister also said that businesses and talent across the world are searching for safe and stable places to invest, live and work in. Therefore it is time for Singapore to leverage this opportunity and cement its position as a global hub for talent, he added.

India ahead of China in getting study visa to US

Meanwhile, Indian students received almost twice the number of F-1 student visas as the Chinese till July, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday, citing data of the United States State Department.

The F-1 category is a non-immigrant visa for those who wish to study at a university or college, high school, private elementary school, seminary, conservatory, language training program or other academic institutions in the US.

According to the data, at least 77,799 Indian students got F-1 visas between January and July as opposed to 46,145 Chinese students in the same time period. In 2021, at least 99,431 students from China and 87,258 from India had received study visas to the country.

China accounts for the largest share of international students presently studying in the US, followed by India and South Korea, according to The Indian Express.