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Why Getting Singapore Employment pass Is Becoming More Difficult in 2021

by | Feb 24, 2021 | Business, Immigration

The number of rejections for Singapore employment pass applications has continued to increase in recent years. To treat its residents equally for higher-quality jobs, Singapore has tightened its hiring criteria. In 2017, the nation saw the biggest decrease in the number of foreigners holding work visas. There was a reduction of over 30,000 and in 2016 that was ten times more than the decrease in foreign jobs. Here are the main reasons that have led to difficulties in obtaining a Singapore employment pass in 2021

Fair Consideration Framework

After the introduction of the Equal Consideration Process (FCF), a list of hiring conditions to ensure that the local workforce has access to more job opportunities has been impacted by work visa approvals. NASSCOM has seen the number of Indian professionals in Singapore’s tech sector shrink to less than 10,000 with work visas not renewed upon expiry. As a consequence, it is difficult for India’s tech companies to sustain their employee base, let alone increase hiring in Singapore.

The FCF has recently further tightened approval requirements for applications for foreign Jobs Pass applications so that employers accept Singapore nationals ahead of foreigners for work vacancies.

Stagnancy of Local Salary

Most local businesses have used EPs in the past to attract international executives with a wealth of expertise and experience who are willing to work for far less compared to locals. Nowadays, however, employers are required to lift the minimum wage for migrant employees so that they can be on par with locals. There is a very big risk that their Singapore employment pass application will be denied if their salary is too low.

Assessment of Commitment to the Local Workforce While Considering Employment Passes Applications 

MOM will take into account in assessing Singapore employment pass and S pass applications if the employer retained the help of local PMETs such as practitioners, supervisors, managers, and technicians in their employment; was sensitive to government efforts to assist them in hiring and educating more Singaporean PMETs, and discriminated against eligible Singaporeans. A watch list will be placed on employers whose PMET employee profiles indicate a bias towards locals. MOM will engage them to review their hiring practices for employers whose Singaporean core has been weakening or whose EP and S pass applications are excessively concentrated from a single foreign source before putting them on the watch list based on the Singapore employment pass processing time.

Increasing the Salary Criteria for Employment Pass Applications

Singapore employment pass applications are intended for professionals, executives, and executives from abroad. The previous minimum qualifying salary of S$ 3,600 was increased to S$ 3,900 for EP applications in general and was further raised to S$ 4,500 (from 1 September 2020) for new applicants. In particular, the minimum qualifying salary for EP applications in the financial services sector was similarly raised to S$ 4,500 but was raised again further to S$ 5,000 (from 1 December 2020) for new applicants.

In its international talent strategy, the Singapore employment pass application requirements represent a shift by the Singapore government to concentrate more on efficiency, and less on quantity. It hopes to continue to attract valued foreign talent to Singapore, particularly in key targeted sectors such as technology, to push the country’s ongoing economic restructuring to the next phase of growth.