SingaporeJuly 27, 2015

Earlier this month the Ministry of Manpower announced several enhancements to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) with the goal of further strengthening the position of Singaporean Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs).

What’s Changed?

Salary Information to be Added in Job Advertisement
As part of the FCF, in August last year the MOM introduced a job advertisement requirement for Employment Pass (EP) applications. Before an EP application can be filed, the job vacancy needs to be advertised in the MOM’s Jobs Bank for 14 calendar days. To clarify job terms to job seekers and increase transparency of the labor market, this job posting will soon need to specifically include the salary range related to the job position. Any applications filed on or after October 1, 2015 where the job posting did not contain this information will be rejected.

Increased Scrutiny for Companies with Lower Singaporean Core
Companies who have been identified as having a lower percentage of Singaporean PMEs compared to other companies in their industry can expect their EP applications to undergo increased scrutiny. Additional information may be requested regarding, for example, the amount of Singaporean applicants for the position, how many of these applicants were interviewed, and the share of Singaporean PMEs currently at various levels in the company.

Increased Attention on Qualifications and Experience
EP applications are assessed on the basis of three denominators: salary, qualification and experience. MOM will be shifting more of its focus on the latter two.

Applicants holding doubtful qualifications, e.g. from degree mills, can expect their EP application to be rejected. It should be noted that in cases where the forgery of qualifications is actually established, an applicant can be banned from working in Singapore for life.

In addition, the relevant experience of EP and S Pass applicants will become a more decisive factor in the assessment of an application, especially when applying for a professional occupation.

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Companies should be aware that the Singaporean authorities are continuing their mission to increase the relative share of Singaporean PMEs within the nation’s workforce. It will become increasingly difficult to obtain both Employment Passes and S Passes for companies that do not have a strong core of Singaporean employees in place at all levels.

Should a company have low shares of Singaporean PMEs, a thorough review and possible amendments to your company’s hiring policy in Singapore may be warranted in order to ensure that your company will continue to be able to bring in foreign nationals at those times when they are absolutely required.

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