Changes in Employment Pass Requirements

Changes in Employment Pass Requirements

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What is an Employment Pass?

An Employment Pass is a work visa issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore. It is directed to foreign professionals with a job offer within Singapore who meet the eligibility criteria, it may also allow for the process of applying for Permanent Residence (PR) to be simpler. The Employment Pass possesses a 2 year long duration for first-time candidates but renewals allow for up to 3 years in length.

2023 Key Updates : Employment Pass Eligibility

Let's begin by discussing the eligibility criteria for the Employment Pass (EP) application. According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the EP is available to foreign professionals of any nationality or citizenship who:

-       Hold a job offer in Singapore.

-       Engage in managerial,executive, or specialized roles.

-       Possess acceptable qualifications, typically including a solid university degree, professional certifications, or specialized skills.

-       Receive a fixed monthly salary that aligns with the top one-third of the local PMET(Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians) workforce, based on age categories mentioned later in this article.

Besides, candidates must now pass a two-stage eligibility framework called COMPASS, which evaluates attributes like salary, qualifications, diversity, and support for local employment. Bonus points can be earned for meeting relevant qualifying conditions. These changes reflect the updated EP requirements and assessment process.

First Stage : Higher Qualifying Salary

From1 September 2023 onwards, higher qualifying salaries were implemented for first-time EP candidates and EP renewals. The minimum qualifying salary increased to S$5,000 for non-financial sectors and S$5,500 for financial sectors.

table of higher ep qualifying salary

Second Stage: Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

As stated above, EP candidates are required to successfully navigate a two-stage eligibility framework for EP qualification. Alongside meeting the EP qualifying salary, candidates must also pass the points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).

COMPASS assesses applications based on four foundational criteria, awarding points if expectations are met or exceeded. It evaluates a range of attributes, including individual aspects like 'Salary' and 'Qualifications,' as well as firm-related aspects such as 'Diversity' and 'Support for Local Employment.'

Furthermore, candidates may earn additional points through the bonus criteria if their application satisfies the relevant qualifying conditions. These processes ensure a comprehensive evaluation of EP candidates and their suitability for the pass.

table of COMPASS framework

To pass COMPASS, a total of 40 points is required. For detailed information and case studies on how the scoring system operates, you can refer to here.

Of course, there will be exemptions from COMPASS, these includes:

-       Candidates who earn at least $22,500 in fixed monthly salary;

-       Candidates who are applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services or an applicable Free Trade Agreement that Singapore is a party to; or

-       Candidates who are filling a role on a short-term basis of one month or less.

From 1 September 2024 onwards, the COMPASS framework will encompass all EP renewals.

How It Affects Current EP Holders?

For now, the recent changes will not impact current EP holders, but they will gradually be subjected to these adjustments when it's time for their EP renewal. The Ministry of Manpower has established a progressive timeline to provide employers with sufficient opportunity to adapt and make necessary preparations for these upcoming changes:

Table of employment pass updates 2023

Applying for an Employment Pass

An Employment Pass can only be applied for by an employer or an authorised third party. For local online applications, an application will take between 4 to 8 weeks to process. It is advised for existing Employment Pass holders to not resign from their previously company until their new Employment Pass is approved. For more information about the documents required to apply for an Employment Pass click here and refer to the appropriate section.  

What Happens if My Application is Rejected?

In the case where an Employment Pass application has been rejected, there is a 3 month long duration in which your employer or authorised third party can send in an appeal, this can only be done after addressing the reasons for rejection. If this 3 month long window has passed before your application is appealed, a new application must be submitted. Commonly, an Employment Pass appeal takes at least 3 weeks to process.

Ask Sprout!

Unsure if you qualify for an Employment Pass? Sprout offers professional consulting services to our clients, we are able to provide an Employment Pass eligibility consultation for S$300 that is inclusive of: An Applicant & Company Operations Questionnaire, Review by our experienced Human Resource Team and a Consultation Call. Browse through our Work Pass Packages for other budget-friendly solutions. Feel free to contact Sprout with any queries you may have, we’ll respond within 24 hours.