The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced several changes to the S Pass and Employment Pass (EP) regimes in relation to the hiring of foreign employees. These changes encourage Singaporean employers to hire locally, and also introduce a new points-based evaluative framework for EP applications.
Minimum Qualifying Salary for S Passes and Employment Passes
MOM intends to raise the minimum qualifying salary for S Passes and EPs. S Passes allow mid-level skilled staff to work in Singapore, whereas EPs allow foreign professionals, managers, engineers and technicians (PMETs) to work in Singapore.
The changes are as follows:
- The minimum qualifying salary for S Pass applicants will be raised from SGD 2,500 to SGD 3,000 in September 2022. In the financial services sector, where salaries are higher, the minimum qualifying salary will be raised from SGD 3,000 to 3,500. This will be further raised in September 2023 and September 2025 depending on prevailing local wages.
- The minimum qualifying salary for EP applicants will be raised from SGD 4,500 to SGD 5,000 in September 2022. In the financial services sector, the minimum qualifying salary will be raised from SGD 5,000 to 5,500. This seeks to ensure that the EP qualifying salary matches the 65th percentile of wages made by local PMETs.
- The qualifying salary for older candidates will also be increased. The minimum qualifying salary for an applicant in their mid-40s will be increased to SGD 10,500. In the financial services sector, the minimum qualifying salary for an applicant in their mid-40s will be increased to SGD 11,500.
- The new minimum qualifying salary will apply to S Pass and EP renewals from September 2023.
COMPASS Evaluative Framework
MOM is poised to introduce an evaluative framework for EP applications. Named the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), the framework is a points-based system which requires EP applicants to obtain a certain number of points, in addition to meeting the qualifying salary. COMPASS will apply to all new EP applications from 1 September 2023 and all EP renewals from 1 September 2024.
In order to fulfil the requirements under COMPASS, the EP applicant must score a minimum aggregate number of points across four foundational and two bonus criteria.
The four foundational criteria are:
- Salary: The applicant’s salary will be compared against local PMET salaries in the job sector;
- Qualifications: Whether the applicant has qualifications from a top-tier institution, degree-equivalent qualification or no degree-equivalent qualification;
- Diversity: Whether the applicant improves the firm’s nationality diversity; and
- Support for Local Employment: The percentage of the employer’s locally hired PMETs vis-à-vis its industry peers.
The two bonus criteria are:
- Skills Bonus: If there is a skills shortage in the job that the applicant is applying for; and
- Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus: Whether the firm contributes to Singapore’s strategic economic priorities, such as where the firm partners with the Government on innovation or internationalization activities.
An applicant must score at least 40 points to fulfil the COMPASS requirements. Points will be awarded on a sliding scale based on threshold requirements provided by MOM.
Certain foreign employees are exempted from the COMPASS requirements. These include employees earning at least SGD $20,000 a month, overseas intra-corporate transferees, and employees who are filling a role for 1 month or less.
For more details on the COMPASS requirements, please click here.