NEW YORK--Singapore has drafted in Ruder Finn to support the country's controversial efforts to attract more foreign talent, in this case from North America.

Contact Singapore, an alliance between Singapore's Economic Development Board (EDB) and Ministry of Manpower, selected Ruder Finn for the $250k North American assignment, following a competitive tender that also included Grayling.

The organization aims to attract foreign talent to work, invest and live in Singapore, amid concerns that the country is losing its edge in the battle for talent versus other Asian countries and emerging markets globally.

The foreign talent policy is a cornerstone of Singapore's growth into a wealthy Asian financial centre. However, it has sparked public anger in recent years because of concerns that immigrants are replacing locals in senior positions, particularly in the financial sector.

According to Reuters, the concerns have led some lawmakers to call for "requirements that locals be considered for managerial and professional positions before foreign candidates."

Public tender documents reveal that Ruder Finn will assist Contact Singapore by "increasing awareness of, and promoting Singapore as a destination for international talent to work, live, invest and do business in."

The brief calls for three specific target groups in North America: Singaporeans and other Asian communities, working professionals, and North American and international students.

The contract is for one year, with an option to extend for one more. Ruder Finn is charged with providing strategic counsel, media monitoring and message development, while also overseeing stakeholder engagement and media outreach.

Ruder Finn has handled Contact Singapore and EDB activity in the past, including in China.

Representatives from Contact Singapore declined to comment as this story went live, while Ruder Finn referred calls to the client.