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Singapore’s Work Holiday Programme: Participation rates and impact



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Minister of Parliament in Singapore, Dr Lee Bee Wah asked Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower a series of questions on the impact of foreign student holiday work passes on jobs and internship opportunities for Singaporean graduates and undergraduates.

The Work Holiday Programme (WHP) allows eligible students and young graduates of universities from nine countries or regions (Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States).

It allows them to work and holiday in Singapore for up to six months, without applying for an additional work pass. The WHP is subject to a quota of 2,000 applicants at any one time.

In response, Minister Teo clarified, that from 2015-2017, on average, 2,800 applicants have been issued a Work Holiday Pass each year. However, the Ministry of Manpower does not collect information on the jobs and industries that the WHP holders work in.

She affirmed: “The WHP has not affected jobs and internship opportunities for Singaporean graduates and undergraduates,” citing the Graduate Employment Survey conducted by the institutes of higher learning, in each of the last three years, about nine in 10 economically active graduates from the autonomous universities (AUs) and polytechnics were employed within six months of graduation.

“This is about the same level as before the WHP was introduced,” she added.

Additionally, approximately 98% of polytechnic students and 70% of AU students would have done at least one internship by the time they graduate, and the polytechnics and AUs have completed over 1,600 overseas internship placements in the academic year 2016/2017.

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