Following President Donald Trump’s executive order on H-1B visas in the US, Singapore is next on the list to slowly restrict access to Indian professionals employed in the information technology sector.
According to a TOI report, Singapore visas for IT workers has dropped ‘to a trickle’. This move has prompted the government to put on hold the review of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) citing violation of the trade pact.
More than a decade ago, in 2005, India had signed CECA with Singapore. As a result of the pact, India's exports to Singapore increased from $4 billion in 2004-05 to $16.9 billion in 2011-12. However in recent years, the exports have seen a steep decline since then, going down to $ 7.7 billion.
Singapore authorities were insisting on the "economic needs test" (ENT) to deny access to Indian professionals, the report said. IT company 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.”
This startling new visa policy adopted by Singapore has resulted in a number of firms relocating some of their operations to other countries in the region.