• Highly-Skilled Workers’ Applications to be Subject to Closer Scrutiny
  • August 18, 2015
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced stricter measures for employers hiring highly-skilled foreign workers under the Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass categories. The policy changes are aimed at maximizing work opportunities for Singaporean professionals, managers and executives (PMEs).

    New Salary Publication Requirements

    Starting October 1, 2015, employers must publish the salary range of each job vacancy in the Job Bank and must make the salary range visible to job searchers. Currently, employers have the option to keep the information visible only to the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the administrator of the Job Bank. Employers who apply for EPs where the job advertisement did not state a salary range will have their applications rejected. This is meant to improve labor market transparency.

    Stricter Scrutiny of Applications

    The MOM has also announced that it will be more selective when analyzing foreign EP and S Pass applications, especially as to the relevant experience of those applying for professional occupations. Work pass applicants with doubtful qualifications, such as those from degree mills, will be scrutinized more closely. Applicants with forged qualifications will continue to be banned from working in Singapore for life.

    The MOM will increase scrutiny of EP applications for select employers with fewer Singaporean PMEs relative to others in their industry. These employers may be required to submit more information to verify that Singaporeans were considered fairly, such as the number of applications submitted by Singaporeans, the number of Singaporeans that were interviewed for the vacancy and the number of Singaporeans in PME positions at various levels.

    Lastly, the MOM intends to progressively encourage and facilitate the transfer of expertise to Singaporean PMEs, with a focus on companies with an imbalanced foreign-to-local workforce compared to other companies in the same industry. However, guidelines have not been provided regarding these factors.

    What This Means for Employers

    Foreign professionals should be prepared for increased scrutiny of their applications and should work with their immigration professional to provide complete and thorough records to document their education and relevant experience.