Saturday, December 11, 2010

272. Know what to do in seeking employment

Related themes or events happen in threes within a short time in this case when I encountered 3 ladies with BSc (Chemistry) degrees from Myanmar universities.

I was at Peninsula Plaza to visit Khin Khin who had rented a table space to start up her employment agency focused on Myanmar nationals (except maids) looking for jobs in Singapore. I congratulate her on finally doing her own business as she had passed the examinations to be licensed as an employment agency (except maids in the first year of operation).

LADY NO. 1. She was in her 50s and had submitted her papers to Khin Khin to look for an employer to do research in the chemistry field. Khin Khin asked me to read the papers. She was a Chinese and spoke the Hokkien dialect to me. Her English was not so good. I noted that she took 7 years to get her PhD degree and asked her why. She said she had to raise 2 daughters and therefore she took a long time while working for the government. It would be very difficult for her to get a job as she did not have proper documentation of her work experience or testimonials from previous employers. She said: "The government (of Myanmar) does not give testimonials to employees." Her daughter came to Peninsula Plaza later. She studied in Singapore and the father was working in Singapore on a "S" pass. She said: "Looking for job is her 2nd priority. Mum comes to visit the family in Singapore." Yet to me, Mum's first priority seemed to be looking for a job and be able to stay with the family in Singapore. Without a job, she could stay in Singapore for 2 months on a visitor visa
and then must go home.

LADY NO. 2. While talking to Lady No. 1, there was a young lady doing typing on a table near Khin Khin. Khin Khin said: "This lady has a BSc (Chemistry) degree too and her S pass had been rejected. So she is asking me to help her apply for an Employment Pass."

This lady is in her late 20s or early 30s, I can't really tell. Her oral English was good as she could communicate with me just like a Singaporean. She had worked 18 months in Singapore for an expatriate company under an S pass. But now, the MOM (Ministry of Manpower) said that her company did not have 4 Singaporeans to qualify for an S pass for one foreigner. So, her manager wrote a few sentences in a letter to apply for an Employment Pass. The MOM officer rejected this application saying she was not qualified.

So, she looked for an employment agency to help her do a proper job and that was where Khin Khin's employment agency was involved. I was just visiting her but Khin Khin wanted me to help her review her client's case. If I can help somebody to get a job, I will be most happy to do it.

Khin Khin's one-table desk was insufficient to provide the administrative support. So the young lady had to go out to another office to get her documents printed. Two and a half hours passed by so quickly and still she could not finish her paper work. I could now see why it is so difficult for a person just to apply for an S or E pass from the MOM as there are at least 6 procedures to be adopted and presented in writing.

One of them is testimonials from the previous employers and the other is a list of duties and responsibilities from the new employer. Now, she has the excellent testimonials from her previous two employers in writing. One was from a Myanmar hospital expatriate who wrote a good testimonial for her to get her job in Singapore. Then she got the S pass from this second Singapore employer 18 months ago but now her S pass would not be renewed by the MOM. It must be very stressful for her.

I advised her to get all the writing done as required by the MOM as updated details of her work, her promotion to assistant manager to qualify for the Employment Pass and testimonials, employment contract, details of her company's activities, recent invoices and contracts were required. Surprisingly, she has all these documents as her expatriate boss trusted her to do all the operations. So, she has a 50:50 chance of success to apply for an E pass, I told Khin Khin. So much more documentation needed to be done. Khin Khin wanted me to help and another 2 hours were spent. Still we had not completed the paper work as I had to ask her to edit and I had to proof read.

This case has all the supporting documents MOM wanted but it takes so much time to justify in English. I had to help as the written English of this young lady and Khin Khin would understandably be not be up to the MOM's standard of English to support the case. I hope this young lady will be successful as I discovered that she is energetic and has good communication skills as well as experience. This expatriate company with head offices in Hong Kong has the potential to create more jobs for Singaporeans but it needs the time to do it. It does not have 4 Singaporean employees as its jobs are highly specialised and professional engineers from overseas are used to do the technical work for the time being.

LADY NO. 3. She stays in Myanmar with her parents who run an electronic trading company. She asked me whether there are jobs in Singapore for her. She has a BSc (Chemistry). I advised her that she has to have a good command of English and the best way is to study English in Singapore seriously and get the certificates. At the same time, she may speak English better while in Singapore. Her parents would need to pay for her tuition and boarding expenses. But I guess this is difficult for her. She can work for a foreign company in Myanmar if she has good skills just like Lady No. 2 who worked in a Myanmar hospital in administration and IT and got her first testimonial from an expatriate there to get a job in Singapore. I advised this young lady to acquire IT skills in Myanmar and tourism skills if she is really interested. She would be around the same age as Lady No. 2 but Lady No. 2 was already working in Singapore for at least 2 years and getting more experiences.

In the end, much depends on the mindset and drive of young Myanmar single ladies with graduate degrees being proactive in seeking employment in a foreign company in Yangon first. The pay may be very low but it is a stepping stone to a better tomorrow.

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