As Singapore continues to evolve as a hub for global businesses, the government has been making progressive changes to the Employment Pass (EP) eligibility criteria to ensure that local companies have access to the right talent pool to support their growth.
Two upcoming changes that are set to take effect from 1 September 2023, impacting EP renewals and new applications include raising the qualifying salary for EP renewals and introducing a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for new EP applications.
The Qualifying Salary for EP renewals
Currently the minimum qualifying salary for EP renewals is SGD$4500 per month for all sectors except Financial Services, and SGD$5000 for Financial Services. However, starting from September 1, 2023, the minimum qualifying salary for EP renewals will be raised from SGD 4500 to SGD 5000 monthly for all sectors, with Financial Services sector being raised from SGD $5000 to SGD$5500. This change will apply to all EP renewals submitted on or after September 1, 2023.
Employers are advised to ensure that they meet the new salary threshold when renewing their EP holders, as failing to do so may result in their applications being rejected.
Introducing COMPASS for EP Applications
Another significant change is the introduction of the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for EP applications. This is a points-based system that evaluates an applicant’s qualifications, experience, salary, and other factors to determine their eligibility for an EP.
All post-secondary diplomas and above qualifications declared in EP applications must be supported with a verification proof verified by a 3rd party screening agency. This requirement will apply to new EP applications from 1 September 2023, and renewals from 1 September 2024.
The introduction of COMPASS aims to ensure that EP holders have the necessary skills, experience, qualifications to fill critical roles that cannot be easily filled by locals. This new system will evaluate an applicant’s overall profile, and only those who meet the required threshold will be considered for an EP.
How Will These Changes Impact Businesses and Foreign Workers?
The new EP eligibility requirements aim to ensure that businesses have access to the right talent pool and that foreign workers are compensated fairly for their contributions. Companies will need to pay closer attention to the salaries of their EP holders to meet the new threshold for renewals. The introduction of COMPASS will also make it more challenging for companies to hire EP holders with lower qualifications or work experience.
The new rules may present challenges for companies that hire foreign workers, but it is vital that they thoroughly understand them and comply with the new requirements to avoid any complications with their employees’ EP applications or renewals.
Eligibility for Employment Pass (mom.gov.sg)
Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) (mom.gov.sg)
Documents required for Employment Pass (mom.gov.sg)