Singapore announces changes to the Employment Pass
Under new plans announced by Singapore, Employment Pass (EP) applicants will now need to pass a points-based evaluation and meet a higher qualifying salary.
Under the proposals there will be two main changes to EP applications:
1) an increase in the qualifying salaries which will be benchmarked against the top 33% of local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) by age; and
2) the introduction of the new points-based Complementarity Assessment (COMPASS) framework.
- The minimum qualifying salary (applicable from 1st Sep 2022) has now been set at SG$5,000 for all sectors (excluding financial sectors). The minimum qualifying salary for the financial sectors is now SG$ 5,500.
- Applicants will be required to score at least 40 points on the new COMPASS framework in order to qualify for an Employment Pass.
Salary requirements in Singapore
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), has announced that the updated minimum qualifying salary for foreign workers (applicable to all sectors except financial services) will be SG $5,000. This is an increase from the previous salary of SG $4,500.
For the financial services sector, the minimum qualifying salary is now set at $5,500, which has been increased from $5,000.
These new minimum salary requirements will come into effect from 1 September 2022 (1 September 2023 for EP renewals).
What are the new evaluation procedures?
For the evaluation procedures for the EP, there will be a new objective criteria introduced that will be used to determine how points are to be awarded to EP applications. This will be known as the COMPASS framework.
Applicants will be required to get at least 40 points in order to pass.
However, it is important to note that all the criteria contained within the COMPASS framework is “tradeable” and “none is a veto factor”. This means that if an applicant scored 0 points relating to firm-related attributes but scored at least 40 for the individual attributes, the applicant will still pass the COMPASS framework.
The COMPASS framework will also be used to monitor the firms that scored poorly in the firm-related section and help them strengthen their workforce profile, and adjust to the new framework.
What happens if an applicant fails either of the two requirements?
Should an applicant fail to pass one or both of the two steps mentioned above, they will have the right to appeal their unsuccessful application.
Should an application be rejected, The MOM will provide reasons for its decision and provide advice on what the applicant should do next. If the applicant believes they can address and fix the issues raised by the MOM an appeal can be filed.
However, it should be noted that the chances of success for an appeal succeeding is less likely, unless there are new facts introduced which allow for more points to be granted to the applicant and push their application over the threshold.
Should an applicant decide not to appeal or or can no longer do so, there are other types of work passes available for consideration. For example:
- S Pass for mid-level skilled staff;
- EntrePass for eligible foreign entrepreneurs who are keen to start and operate a business in Singapore; and
- Personalised employment pass for high-earning foreign professionals.
However, these passes also have their own application procedures and considerations to overcome.
How can our team of experts can help?
Obtaining an Employment Pass has long been a troublesome procedure for applicants and these new policies will further add to this reputation.
If you need more information about the Employment Pass in Singapore, you can book a consultation with one of our experts. This consultation will allow you to receive dependable advice and quickly figure out the best option for your particular needs.
Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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