Singapore’s fintech ambitions bump up against immigration curbs

Technology startups in many countries are fighting to attract skilled workers like software engineers. Yet in the tiny city-state of Singapore, with a population of 5.6 million, the dearth of talent is particularly acute. As a small, open economy Singapore relies on foreign talent to help meet its skills needs. Yet a gradual tightening of immigration rules in recent years is putting pressure on a labour market that’s already feeling the crunch. Official data puts demand for technology jobs in financial services at more than 26,200 in 2016, a record high. Data scientists, blockchain developers and computer programmers are most in demand. The government says it’s trying to strike a balance between an approach that protects local jobs and labour rules that give flexibility to employers in industries where skills shortages are most severe.

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