Will Singapore Immigration Politics Impact Law Firms?

, The Asian Lawyer


protest against the government at Hong Lim Park on February 16, 2013 in Singapore

One senior partner with a QFLP firm says he think it’s unlikely his firm will lose QFLP status for falling short in terms of hiring. He says the Singapore government will likely be reasonable in understanding why firms might not be able to meet targets set in 2008, just before the global financial crisis. The partner expressed concern that the government could press QFLP firms to expand into new practice areas in order to boost local hiring.

“The most important question for us is whether expanding into new practices makes economic sense,” he says.

Another QFLP firm’s Singapore office head agreed, noting that the market has become much more competitive in the past few years, with a large number of new firms entering the market. That has made it much harder for the QFLP firms to meet their own economic targets and in turn justify increased local hiring.

Still, he thinks the fact that the number of foreign lawyers has doubled could be an issue in the current environment. Which is odd, since he thinks the government would have been celebrating that fact not too long ago.

“You could say they’re becoming victims of their own success,” he says.

*Correction, 12/11/13: The previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the number of foreign lawyers in Singapore has almost doubled to over 2,000. It has almost doubled to over 1,000. We regret the error.

Email: alin@alm.com.

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