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European businesses still committed to Singapore, says EuroCham

THE European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) Singapore said that European businesses remain ready to contribute to the republic's next phase of growth, adding that it welcomes recommendations by the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE).

Singapore is host to over 11,000 European companies, it added in a report released Wednesday.

EuroCham noted that the CFE's sub-committee on future jobs and skills' recommendations are aligned with the findings made by its human resources (HR) committee report conducted in July 2016.

The study, on how recent changes in Singapore's foreign manpower regulations are expected to affect European businesses, showed that Singapore's manpower rules have greater adverse impact on European small & medium enterprises (SMEs) than multinational corporations (MNCs).

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"Restricted visibility" is a key factor affecting both MNCs and SMEs.

One in three SMEs indicated that they intend to increase total headcount but are limited by the new regulatory restrictions.

"There is strong evidence that SMEs have suffered a larger blow to their business strategy as a result of these changes, offering proof that a one size fits all regulatory change will not be beneficial to encourage human capital growth and development," said the survey.

It added that the findings showed that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the relevant government institutions have to develop greater clarity on foreign manpower policies and to offer more avenues of business-to-government dialogue.

The survey drew data from more than 250 survey replies from business leaders from European MNCs and SMEs. In addition, seven in-depth interviews with HR professionals from European companies were also conducted.