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COME Jan 1, 2017, at least one in 10 foreign workers on the payroll of construction firms must be of higher skill.
The requirement, announced on Thursday evening by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, is the government's latest move to boost the quality and productivity of the construction industry.
Construction firms are given two years to meet the minimum requirement, with the firms requiring to upgrade 5 per cent of their Work Permit holders from the basic skilled R2 to the higher skilled R1 status by end-2015, and another 5 per cent by end-2016.
To help construction firms meet the targets, firms can from Sept 1, 2015 hire skilled workers directly from overseas - the new direct R1 pathway.
Alternatively, they can upgrade their R2 Work Permit workers through the CoreTrade and Multi-Skilling Scheme and Market-based Skills Recognition Framework.