Latest News: 22 February 2021

1. Public career matching services helped nearly 25,000 job seekers find work in 2020

The 18th Jobs Situation Report revealed that the Governmentā€™s career matching services helped close to 25,000 individuals secure jobs in 2020, a 25 per cent increase from 2019. Of these 25,000, approximately 60 per cent were professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs).Ā 

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that these increased numbers despite the economic downturn caused by the pandemic ā€œspeaks a lot to the resilience of our workforceā€. She added, ā€œI honestly did not dare to expect that even placements through career matching would see any growth.ā€

Ms Teo went on to say that initiatives such as the Jobs Growth Incentive as well as the backfilling of positions after the economy opened up in Q3 2020 likely ā€œhelped bring employment back on track.ā€

The latest Jobs Situation Report also included an update on programmes put in place by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the National Trades Union Congressā€™ Employment and Employability Institute.Ā 

These figures include 13,000 people being placed in career conversion programmes in 2020, more than double 2019ā€™s total.Ā 

Additionally, 34,000 job seekers received individual career coaching, 15 per cent more than 2019. Of these, 60 per cent landed jobs within six months. There were also 1,300 career matching events like job fairs last year, 40 per cent more than 2019.Ā 

The report also details some common struggles faced by job seekers, such as a skills gap, a limited network, or having outdated job search tactics.Ā 

2. Enhanced CPF Housing Grant disburses nearly S$500 million, benefitting 15,600 first-time HDB buyers

In a media release on Sunday, 21 February, the Housing Development Board (HDB) revealed that approximately 15,600 first-time HDB flat buyers benefitted from the Enhanced Housing Grant (EHG), under which close to S$500 million has been disbursed.Ā 

The EHG was introduced in September 2019 to streamline earlier housing grants and allow for higher qualifying income ceilings. It is available to eligible first-time buyers regardless of whether they purchase a new or resale flat, with no restrictions on flat type and location.

According to HDB, about 7,700 first-timer households purchasing new flats across the various sales exercises applied for the EHG between 11 September 2019 and 31 December 2020 and about S$270 million in grants have been disbursed to these households.

HDB added that as of the time of writing, not all EHG applications have been processed as these applications are made upon flat selection, and the selection exercises for the August and November 2020 sales are still ongoing.Ā 

Besides buyers of new flats, approximately 8,300 first-timer households applied for the EHG when purchasing a resale flat.Ā Of these, about S$226 million in grants have been disbursed to approximately 7,900 households, while the remaining applicants will receive their grants once their resale transactions are completed.Ā 

On top of the EHG, eligible buyers can also apply for CPF Housing Grants of up to S$50,000 and Proximity Housing Grants (PHG) of up to S$30,000.

The latter is available for all Singaporeans once when they purchase a resale flat with or near their parents or children, regardless of household income, ownership of private property, or whether they have enjoyed housing subsidies before.Ā 

The PHG was first introduced in August 2015, and has seen about 40,900 applications thus far. Of these, about 40,200 were successful, with a total ofĀ  S$748 million being disbursed.Ā These 40,900 households represent roughly a third of all resale applications in the same time period.Ā 

For more information on the available grants, home buyers can visit HDBā€™s webpage here. Alternatively, they can also make use of the customised financial calculator on the new HDB flat portal to check on their eligibility for these grants.Ā 

3. Stricter COVID-19 measures to continuesingapore for a few weeks after Chinese New Year festivities

On Friday, 19 February, Education Minister and co-chair of the COVID-19 task force Lawrence Wong said that tighter COVID-19 measures, including a cap of eight visitors per household per day, will remain for a few weeks following Chinese New Year festivities.Ā 

The measures have been in place since 26 January, following an increase in community cases then.

During a visit to a COVID-19 vaccination centre located at Jalan Besar Community Club, Mr Wong said that the situation had improved since then, but that the virus has an ā€œincubation timeā€.

He added, ā€œSo we will monitor one, two, a few weeks after the New Year celebrations and festivities are over.ā€

ā€œAnd if the situation remains stable, under control, then we will review and we will consider the measures again and see whether or not there is scope for us to adjust.ā€

Mr Wong said that the authorities will also take stock of postponed events, such as the National School Games, to determine when they can be continued, and thanked residents for their cooperation in light of the stricter measures.

Adding that he hoped there would not be a spike in cases after the New Year period, he said that they will ā€œcontinue to monitor the situationā€ and ā€œseek everyone’s cooperation to maintain this very disciplined approach.”

4. COVID-19 vaccination records and test results available in HealthHub mobile app

Singapore residents will be able to check their COVID-19 test results and vaccination records on the HealthHub mobile app, thanks to the introduction of a new feature.

Users will be able to receive real time updates of their vaccination records, with details such as the type of vaccine taken, the batch the vaccine belonged to, the location and date of their vaccination, and their appointment for the second dose.

At present, two vaccines have been approved for use in Singapore ā€“ the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

COVID-19 test results are usually conveyed via a SMS or a phone call, and can also be collected in person, but will now be uploaded and made available for access on the HealthHub app.

HealthHub was launched in 2015, and is a one-stop portal that enables users to access their public health records and medical appointments. To access their records, users may log in with their SingPass details and click on the ā€œCOVID-19 recordsā€ tab.Ā  This feature is unique to the app, and will not be available on HealthHubā€™s website.

Integrated Health Information Systems (IHiS) said that approximately 69,000 unique users have viewed their COVID-29 records via the new feature in the first two weeks following its launch on 16 January.

Vaccinations for seniors will begin on 22 February, with those aged 60 to 69 being slated to begin receiving their vaccinations around the end of March 2021, followed by the remaining population in April.

Thus far, approximately 250,000 Singapore residents have received their vaccination, with 110,000 having taken their second dose.Ā 

Join the conversations on THG’sĀ FacebookĀ andĀ Instagram, and get the latest updates viaĀ Telegram.

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