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More Singapore firms hire ex-cons amid a labor shortage: gov't official

SINGAPORE -- More Singapore companies are hiring ex-convicts to ease a manpower shortage, a senior government official said, amid restrictions on hiring foreign workers.

More than 3,100 companies are currently working with the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (Score) to hire former prisoners, minister of state Heng Chee How said late Wednesday.

This was a marked increase over the 2,872 employers registered with the scheme in 2011.

An estimated 10,000 offenders are released each year from Singapore prisons, and Score trains about 5,000 of them to acquire new workplace skills, the Straits Times newspaper reported Thursday.

Score matches roughly 2,000 of the former prisoners every year with employers, the report said.

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