Revised Singapore Employment Pass Rules Take Effect in Early 2014
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has recently issued new and tougher rules for employment pass. Under the new and revised immigration rules, MOM will implement the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and raise the minimum threshold monthly salary for new Singapore employment pass (EP) applications from S$3,000 to S$3,300 from January 1, 2014.
As part of an initiative to provide more employment opportunities to Singaporean, the authority has implemented another rule for employer to run advertisements in a new Jobs Bank administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) for at least 14 calendar days before submitting an EP application to the Singapore MOM.
Additionally, the authority has also imposed a strict compliance measures against those firms who adopt discriminatory hiring practices. They will be subject to additional scrutiny and may have their work pass privileges curtailed.
Therefore, the new policy framework has three-tier approach which must be followed by every employer in Singapore.
- Increased minimum salary of employment pass holder:
As per the revised rule, in beginning January 1 2014, the minimum salary threshold for applying employment pass in Singapore will be raised from S$3,000 to S$ 3,300 per month. While young graduate from reputed education institutions must meet the minimum salary requirement, experienced candidates will have to demonstrate a higher monthly commensurate with the work experience and quality they are expected to bring.
Existing Employment Pass holders whose passes will expire before 1 January 2014 can file for one-year renewal if their minimum monthly salary meet the current minimum salary threshold S$3,000. For those whose passes expire between 1 January 2013 to 30 June 2014 can also apply for one-year renewal based on the current minimum salary requirement S$3,000. From July 1 2014, all existing EP holder will have to meet the new criteria i.e. minimum salary should be S$3,300.
- Implementation of FCF (Fair Consideration Framework):
The new policy for mandatory advertisements of new job vacancies by employers in a new job bank administered by WDA is known as the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). The authority has taken this initiative for encouraging companies to consider Singapore residents for open positions before hiring foreign nationals.
Exemptions from the advertisement requirements apply to small companies that have 25 or fewer employees and for positions paying a fixed monthly salary of at least S$12,000.
- Stronger Compliance measure for Employers Suspected of Discriminatory Hiring Practices:
The government will take strict action against firms with discriminatory hiring practices. As of the first quarter of 2014, the MOM and other Singapore government agencies will identify and notify the employers suspected of discriminating hiring practices. This could include employers who have a disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans at Professional, Managerial and Executive (PME) level positions as compared to other companies and the employers with repeated complaints of nationality-based or other discriminatory HR practices. These Singapore companies are subject to additional scrutiny and review of their hiring practices. Unresponsive firm may face stringent scrutiny and their EP privilege may even be curbed.