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[Sticky] New Singapore Employment Pass Scheme: What it means for Foreigners & Businesses?


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New Singapore Employment Pass Scheme: What it means for Foreigners & Businesses?

Workforce diversity, high-quality professionals, and complementary pool of talents are hailed as the key manpower drivers for the Singapore economy. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is switching things up when it comes to the Singapore Employment Pass in the coming years.

 

Passing a Life of Ambiguity

If you’re a foreigner who is looking to apply for the Singapore Employment Pass (EP) previously, you would have little to no clue on what is deemed as a great applicant. All you get from MOM is a set of criteria which includes:

  • Salary
  • Work experience
  • Educational qualifications

 

NOTE: The minimum qualifying salary is set to increase from S$4,500 to S$5,000 in September 2022.

 

However, that’s about to change in the new Singapore EP scheme that is slated to launch in September 2023.

Navigating a Compass Towards the New Singapore EP Scheme

The new Singapore EP scheme is campaigned as the points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (Compass). With this new Compass scheme, applicants will undergo two key stages for approval, which are:

  1. Fulfillment of the qualifying salary
  2. Scoring at least 40 points under the Compass scheme

 

Under the second stage, there are four aspects that will be assessed that is based on both the applicant and the firm applying for the Singapore EP.

  1. Individual attributes (40 points): Qualifications & relative salary in comparison to local PMETs in the same sector
  2. Firm-related components (40 points): Existing nationality diversity & the local hiring headcount in comparison to other firms in the same sector

 

You must be wondering that this could be difficult for smaller companies that have a low headcount, given that each employee’s weightage could result in a big shift in overall diversity score. To tackle this issue, MOM will award 20 points on firm-related components for companies with less than 25 PMET employees.

 

Here’s how the scoring system works:

  • 20 points: Exceeds expectations
  • 10 points: Meets expectations
  • 0 points: Below expectations

 

However, it’s not all that rigid – there are still bonus points to be scored. The bonuses are for companies who are looking for candidates who are skilled in areas that Singapore has low headcount on and those who are journeying on ambitious innovation and internationalization activities. Each of these bonuses is valued at 10 points.

The Compass scheme will kickstart in September 2023, and renewals under Compass will begin from September 2024.

 

Case Study: A Scenario Under Compass

To paint a better picture, here is a self-made up case study based on a few fictional characters – Jane, Kennedy, and Parathi.

 

 

Jane

Kennedy

Parathi

Nationality

Malaysian

Australian

Indian

New Job Title

Senior Accountant

Cybersecurity Specialist

Account Director

Salary

S$5,500

$12,850

$5,220

Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries

70th percentile

68th percentile

60th percentile

Years of Relevant Experience

7 years

5 years

7 years

Educational Qualifications

Degree-equivalent

Top-tier institution

Degree-equivalent

Firm’s diversity – share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs

30%

20%

22%

Firm’s support for local employment

20th percentile

18th percentile

48th percentile

Part of Innovation & Internationalisation activities

Yes

No

Yes

 

Here’s a breakdown of the scores for each application:

 

 

Jane

Kennedy

Parathi

Individual Attributes

Salary

10

10

0

Qualifications

10

20

10

Firm-related Attributes

Diversity

0

10

10

Local Employment

0

0

10

Bonus

Skills shortage

0

10

0

Innovation & Internationalisation

10

0

10

TOTAL SCORE

30

50

40

 

Based on the new Compass scheme, Kennedy and Parathi both qualify for Singapore EP as they meet the minimum score requirements of 40 points. Even though Parathi’s individual attributes may not be very strong, the firm’s attributes and bonus pushed her to hit the minimum score.

This means that even though the individual or firm’s attributes may be poor, there are alternative ways to score points.

 

Food for Thought: Is the New Compass Scheme a Double-Edged Sword?

The rationale behind this new scheme is simple – to provide a transparent scoring system that people has battered through the years for its ambiguity and for Singapore to maintain its workforce status of one that is of high-quality, yet diverse.

While the new Compass scheme for Singapore EP has given transparency to the approval process, it can be argued that because of this scoring system, it can be more difficult to get the work visa approved as there is limited grey area.

 

P.S. If you want to know why NOW is the best time to apply for the Singapore EP, read more about it here!

 

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