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This week’s international HR headlines: Bahrain named number one for expats, visa changes in Singapore and AI threat in the Philippines

15 Sep 2017 By PM Editorial

The top stories from People Management’s international websites

1. Bahrain tops list of best destinations for expats in 2017

Friendly locals, good career prospects and a pleasing work-life balance saw Bahrain crowned the best destination for expats to live and work in a new global survey. In the research by expat network and information website InterNations, 86 per cent of expats rated Bahrainis’ attitude towards foreign residents positively. On the other hand, Kuwait was named among the three least welcoming destinations for expats, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar also in the bottom 10.

2. Greater demand for emotional intelligence in Vietnamese workforce

There is a greater need for emotional intelligence in the Vietnamese workforce, as continual advancements in technology mean different skills are required, experts have suggested. The concept is still relatively unfamiliar in the country. However, “the ability to stay cool under pressure, conduct thoughtful discussions and control emotions are vital to handling people effectively in this fast-changing, highly digitising business world”, said Tran Tien Cong, chief executive of the Vietnam Coaching Institute.

3. Singapore revamps EntrePass work visa programme

Changes have been made to Singapore’s work visa system as it looks to encourage entrepreneurial activity. A central plank of the new EntrePass visa requirements is the removal of the paid-up capital requirement of SGD$50,000. The value of global start-up talent will also not be measured by monetary contribution alone; other factors, such as knowhow and relevance to individual industries, will also be taken into consideration.

4. Saudi Arabia’s labour market transformation plan to be redrafted

It has been reported that Saudi Arabia will redraft its National Transformation Plan 2020 after it was recognised that some targets were unachievable within the timeline set. While the full scale of the revisions is not expected to be known until the end of October, it is believed the deadline for some targets will be pushed back by as much as 10 years, to 2030. The original plan set out various goals related to employment, including the creation of 1.2 million private sector jobs by 2020.

5. AI threat to low-skilled BPO roles in the Philippines

The advance of artificial intelligence (AI) is threatening business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in the Philippines, with low-skilled workers predicted to be most affected. Jon Goldstein, regional director for Asia at Page Outsourcing — the recruitment process outsourcing arm of PageGroup — told People Management that a substantial share of transactional administrative work will be taken away over the next three to four years, whereas jobs for people with the skills to set up and maintain automation centres and create AI algorithms will be added.

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