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New Criteria To Employment Pass (EP)

Hand writing of Regulations and RulesNew Criteria (Upcoming changes) to Employment Pass eligibility

What are the New Criteria (Upcoming changes) to Employment Pass eligibility?

What are the Upcoming changes to EP eligibility?

MOM will be progressively implementing changes to the Employment Pass (EP) eligibility framework over the next few years. These changes will strengthen the quality of EP holders and their complementarity to the local workforce. Find out how these changes affect your EP applications and renewals.

 

Overview of changes to Employment Pass eligibility

What are the changes to Employment Pass eligibility?

MOM will be raising the qualifying salary and introducing a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for Employment Pass (EP) applications. These changes will apply progressively from 1 September 2022.

At a glance

Candidates must pass a two-stage eligibility framework:

Stage 1            Earn at least the EP qualifying salary, which will be benchmarked to the top 1/3 of local PMET salaries by age.
Stage 2            Pass COMPASS, a new points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework.
Note: Employers must continue to meet the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job advertising requirement before submitting a new EP or S Pass application.

 

Timeline

What is the timeline for changes to Employment Pass (EP) eligibility?

The changes to the EP framework will apply progressively to give employers time to adjust:

Changes New applications Renewals
Higher qualifying salary From 1 Sep 2022 From 1 Sep 2023
Introduce COMPASS From 1 Sep 2023 From 1 Sep 2024

 

Updates to EP qualifying salary

What are the updates to Employment Pass (EP) salary?

The EP qualifying salary will be benchmarked to salaries of the top 1/3 of the local PMET workforce to ensure quality of EP holders. EP holders must meet a higher qualifying salary from 1 September 2022.

Older candidates will require a higher salary to qualify.

The financial services sector will continue to have a higher qualifying salary due to higher wage norms.

With this benchmark, employers should expect regular updates to the qualifying salary to reflect local PMET wage trends, taking into account prevailing economic conditions.

 

At a glance

What is the revised salary criteria for Employment Pass (EP)?

The revised qualifying salary will apply to:

  • New applications from 1 September 2022
  • Renewals from 1 September 2023
Sectors Current minimum qualifying salary Revised minimum qualifying salary New applications Renewals
All
(except financial services)
$4,500

(increases up to $8,400 for candidate in mid-40s)

5,000

(increases up to $10,500 for candidate in mid-40s)

From 1 Sep 2022 From 1 Sep 2023
Financial services
$5,000

(increases up to $9,300 for candidate in mid-40s)

5,500

(increases up to $11,500 for candidate in mid-40s)

 

Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

What is Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)?

What is the effective date of COMPASS (Complementarity Assessment Framework)?

In addition to meeting the qualifying salary, EP candidates must pass a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) from 1 September 2023.

COMPASS enables employers to select high-quality foreign professionals, while improving workforce diversity and building a strong Singaporean core. It is a transparent system that gives businesses greater clarity and certainty for manpower planning.

 

COMPASS will apply to:

When the COMPASS will apply to new EP Application?

When the COMPASS will apply to EP Renewal?

  • New applications from 1 September 2023
  • Renewals from 1 September 2024

 

How COMPASS works

Infographic of new criteria of COMPASS to EPHow does Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) work?

What is Foundational Criteria?

What are the attributes by individual under Foundational Criteria?

What are the attributes by individual under Bonus Criteria?

What are the attributes by the Firm under Foundational Criteria?

What are the attributes by the Firm under Bonus Criteria?

 

Foundational Criteria

Individual Attributes Firm-Related Attributes
C1. Salary

Relative to local PMET salary norms for Sector

C3. Diversity

Whether candidate improves nationality diversity in firm

C2. Qualifications

Based on candidate’s qualifications

C4. Support for local Employment

Based on local PMET share relative to industry peers

Bonus Criteria C5. Skills Bonus

(Shortage Occupation List)

For candidates in job where skills shortage exist

C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus

For partnership with Government on ambitious innovation or internationalisation activities

 

COMPASS evaluates EP applications based on a holistic set of individual and firm-related attributes.

What is the assessment of scoring points for EP candidates?

Your application is scored on four foundational criteria. Applications earn points if they meet or exceed expectations.

Points for each foundational criterion Assessment
20 Exceeds expectations
10 Meets expectations
0 Does not meet expectations

 

Your application can also earn additional points on bonus criteria if it meets the relevant qualifying conditions. These criteria recognise applications that bring in skills in shortage and support strategic economic priorities, thus creating good jobs for Singaporeans.

 

40 points are required to pass COMPASS:

How many points are required to pass COMPASS?

What is the minimum points to pass COMPASS?

  • Applications that meet expectations (earn 10 points) on all 4 foundational criteria will pass (Example A-1 and Example A-2).
  • Otherwise, applications can make up the required points by exceeding expectations on another criterion (Example B) or by scoring bonus points (Example C).

COMPASS scoring

How is the COMPASS scored?

How various criteria are scored under COMPASS for EP?

The table below summarises how points are earned.

Passing score: 40 points

Foundational criteria Points
C1. Salary (Individual)

Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age

≥ 90th percentile 20
65th to 90th percentile 10
< 65th percentile 0

 

C2. Qualification (Individual)

Based on candidate’s qualifications

Top-tier institution 20
Degree-equivalent qualification 10
No degree-equivalent qualification 0

 

C3. Diversity (Firm-related)

Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs.*

< 5% 20
5 to 25% 10
≥ 25% 0

 

C4. Support for local employment (Firm-related)

Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector*

≥ 50th percentile 20
20th to 50th percentile 10
< 20th percentile 0

 

Bonus criteria
C5. Skills bonus (Individual)
Job on the Shortage Occupation List +20#
C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus (Firm-related)
Firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation or internationalisation activities +10

# Skills bonus is reduced to +10 if the share of candidate’s nationality among the firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher.

* Small firms with fewer than 25 PMET employees score 10 points on C3 and C4 by default. PMETs are proxied by employees earning at least $3,000 per month.

 

Criteria details

What are the criteria details Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)?

C1. Salary

How many points will be scored for meeting out salary criteria under COMPASS to EP?

All applicants must meet the EP qualifying salary, which increases with age.

COMPASS further accounts for sectoral differences in salary norms. Your application earns points by meeting sector-specific benchmarks for local PMET salaries. These benchmarks are also age-adjusted.

Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age Points
≥ 90th percentile 20
65th to 90th percentile 10
< 65th percentile 0

 

C2. Qualifications

How many points will be scored for meeting out educational qualifications (criteria) under COMPASS to EP?

As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your candidate’s qualifications are genuine and were awarded by accredited institutions. Learn more about the requirements.

Candidate’s qualifications Points
Top-tier institution 20
Degree-equivalent qualification 10
No degree-equivalent qualification 0

Top-tier institutions include:

  • Top 100 universities based on international rankings, and other highly-reputed universities across different regions
  • Singapore’s Autonomous Universities
  • Vocational institutions that are highly-recognised in a particular field

Degree-equivalent qualifications generally refer to:

  • Foreign qualifications that are assessed to be comparable to a bachelor’s degree in the UK system (MOM determines this with reference to international recognition bodies, e.g. the UK National Information Centre for recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills (UK ENIC)).
  • Professional qualifications that are well-recognised by the industry and endorsed by a relevant sector agency.

Qualifications are not a mandatory requirement under COMPASS. Candidates who do not hold degree-equivalent qualifications can still pass COMPASS by earning sufficient points on other criteria.

 

C3. Diversity

How many points will be scored for maintaining diversity of nationalities under COMPASS to EP?

A diverse mix of nationalities enriches firms with new ideas and networks, and contributes to a more inclusive and resilient workforce.

COMPASS awards more points to applications where the candidate’s nationality forms a small share of the firm’s PMET employees. No points are earned if your firm is applying to bring in a candidate whose nationality currently forms a significant share of its PMET employees.

Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs.* Points
< 5% 20
5 to 25% 10
≥ 25% 0

MOM considers all employees earning at least $3,000 per month in the firm as PMETs when computing this criterion.

Your application scores 10 points by default if your firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees.

Your employee’s nationality is determined based on the nationality indicated on their passport in MOM’s records.

 

C4. Support for Local Employment

How many points will be scored for supporting local employment under COMPASS to EP?

COMPASS recognises firms that make efforts to create opportunities for the local workforce and build complementary teams comprising both local and foreign professionals.

Your application earns more points if your firm has a relatively higher share of locals among PMET employees, compared to your peers in the same subsector.

Share of local PMETs within  your subsector Points
≥ 50th percentile 20
20th to 50th percentile 10
< 20th percentile 0

MOM considers all employees earning at least $3,000 per month in the firm as PMETs when computing this criterion.

Your application earns 10 points by default if your firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees.

If your firm’s local PMET share is at least 70% (pegged to the 20th percentile of firms economy-wide), your application will earn at least 10 points. This is regardless of where your firm stands within their subsector. In this way, MOM does not penalise firms in subsectors which have a relatively high share of local PMET employees.

 

C5. Skills Bonus (Shortage Occupation List) (SOL)

What is Skills Bonus under COMPASS to EP?

How many points will be scored when the candidacy is on Shortage Occupation List (SOL)?

What is Shortage Occupation List?

As Singapore moves to capture new economic opportunities, companies will require access to skilled talent to fill these jobs. The Government works closely with education and training institutes and tripartite partners to train our local graduates and reskill mid-career workers for these good jobs.

However, given our limited local workforce and worldwide competition for talent, the demand for skilled roles will also need to be met by complementary foreign manpower.

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) recognises EP holders in occupations requiring highly specialised skills that are currently in shortage in the local workforce. As an indication, this could include niche infocomm-related roles supporting Singapore’s digitalisation drive.

The SOL is determined by a robust tripartite evaluation process that takes into account industry needs and local workforce development efforts.

Skills Bonus Points
Job on the Shortage Occupation List +20

(Reduced to +10 if share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher)

Your candidate’s bonus points will be reduced from +20 to +10 if their nationality forms one-third or higher of your firm’s PMETs. This encourages resilience and diversity in firms, especially in areas requiring critical skills.

 

C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus

What is Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus under COMPASS to EP?

How many points will be scored when eligible for Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus under COMPASS to EP?

Singapore seeks to anchor and grow firms that can contribute to the innovative capacity of our economy, enhance our global linkages, and strengthen our economic competitiveness. This creates better jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans.

COMPASS recognises companies that are undertaking ambitious innovation, or internationalisation activities in partnership with the Government, in line with our economic priorities. Such companies should also have the scale or potential to provide good jobs for locals.

Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus Points
Firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation or internationalisation activities +10

To qualify, firms must participate in selected programmes run by various economic agencies or meet specific assessment criteria, and show commitment to developing the local workforce or ecosystem.

 

Exemption from COMPASS

Is there any exemption from COMPASS to EP in Singapore?

Your candidate is exempted from COMPASS if they fufill any of these conditions:

  • Earning at least $20,000 fixed monthly salary (similar to the prevailing Fair Consideration Framework job advertising exemption).
  • 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 party to.

OR

  • Filling a role on a short-term basis, i.e. 1 month or less.

 

FAQ:

What is my firm’s sector and subsector under COMPASS for EP applications?

MOM will group firms into relevant sectors and subsectors based on their principal business activity, as declared to ACRA. This applies to firms whose operations cut across different sectors.

Sectors refer to broad industry groupings based on the Singapore Standard Industry Classification, such as the financial services sector.

Some sectors that are more varied are split into more granular subsectors for the purpose of benchmarking of local PMET share.

You should review and update what your firm declares to ACRA as its primary business activity, to ensure it is current and accurate.

More information on your firm’s sector and subsector classification will be available before September 2023 when COMPASS takes effect.

Can I find out more information on how my EP application will fare on COMPASS?

What is called Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT)?

When PAT will be available to assess the EP candidates?

Is there any portal to check my workforce profile with MOM?

Does MOM portal have an overview of workforce profile?

When COMPASS takes effect, MOM will offer a Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT) for employers to get an indicative COMPASS score for their prospective EP candidate before submitting an EP application. You will be able to get an estimate of how your application is scored on each COMPASS criterion.

The PAT will be available by September 2023.

Other resources:

  • The Employer Data Portal (EDP) on myMOM Portal provides employers with an overview of their workforce profile. MOM will enhance the EDP so that you can see how your firm’s local PMET share compares to your industry peers. This new feature will be available before COMPASS takes effect.
  • MOM also regularly publishes labour market statistics, including resident income statistics, which provide an overview of wage trends.

How will the Shortage Occupation List for EP applications on COMPASS be identified?

How is the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) determined for EP applications on COMPASS?

When will the exact occupations be announced?

The COMPASS Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be developed through a robust evaluation process involving the tripartite partners. The review will take into account quantitative evidence of labour shortage, and qualitative assessments made by sector agencies in consultation with industry partners.

Occupations will be considered for inclusion on the SOL based on:

  • Their relevance to Singapore’s economic priorities
  • The degree and nature of labour shortage
  • The sector’s progress in developing the local pipeline in the medium term to address these shortages

A tripartite evaluation panel will be appointed to assess the proposed occupations and provide a final recommendation for the SOL.

The first SOL will be announced when tripartite evaluation panel has completed its review by March 2023.

Thereafter, the SOL will be regularly reviewed to ensure responsiveness to industry needs, and that existing shortages are not entrenched over the long term.

What other conditions must my candidate meet to earn Shortage Occupation List bonus points on COMPASS for EP applications?

For candidates applying under the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List (SOL) track, MOM will conduct additional verification checks that they have the specialised skills required to perform the shortage occupation. For example, MOM may request for relevant qualifications, certificates and accreditations.

If your candidate would not have passed COMPASS without the SOL bonus points:

  • They will be issued an occupation-restricted EP tied to their employment in the specific shortage occupation.
  • You will be required to notify MOM if they need to be redeployed to a different job role. The candidate will be subject to reassessment of their eligibility for an EP.

If your candidate would have passed COMPASS even without the SOL bonus points, they will not be subject to the occupational restrictions.

More details will be provided before COMPASS takes effect on 1 September 2023.

What programmes and criteria are included in the Strategic Economic Priorities bonus on COMPASS for EP applications?

How do I know if my firm qualifies for the Strategic Economic Priorities bonus?

What are the internationalisation activities will qualify for scoring under COMPASS to EP?

The programmes and qualifying criteria for the COMPASS Strategic Economic Priorities bonus will be carefully curated by the participating economic agencies to ensure that qualifying firms are aligned with its objectives of supporting innovation or internationalisation activities, while developing the local workforce or ecosystem.

Examples of programmes that could be included are:

  • ESG’s Scale-up SG, which aims to help high-growth local companies scale effectively and become future global champions
  • EDB’s Research and Innovation Scheme for Companies (RIS(C)), which supports and anchors companies’ technology development and innovation activities in Singapore

More details, including the finalised list of government programmes, eligibility criteria and application process, will be announced by March 2023.

 

Case studies

Is there Case Studies for Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) to EP?

Does COMPASS to EP have any case studies?

Is there case study for Foundational Criteria of COMPASS to EP?

Is there case study for Bonus Criteria of COMPASS to EP?

Is there case study for SME for Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) to EP?

MOM has provided some examples on how EP applications may be scored on COMPASS.

Example A-1: Meets all 4 foundational criteria

Scenario:

  • Firm is a marketing consultancy in the professional services sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a local PMET share at the 40th percentile of their sector. Candidate’s nationality currently forms 15% of the firm’s PMET employees.
  • Candidate attributes: Candidate is a business manager and holds a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate’s salary is at the 70th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in this sector.

Application meets expectations on all four foundational criteria. Most applications will fall in this category.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary is within 65th to 90th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 10
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs is within 5 to 25% 10
Support for local Employment Share of locals among firm’s PMETs is within 20th to 50th percentile for subsector 10
Total 40 (Pass)

 

Example A-2: Meets all 4 foundational criteria (Small Firm)

Scenario:

  • Firm is a small medical technology start-up in the biomedical sciences sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a small PMET employment of 15.
  • Candidate attributes: Candidate is an Operations Manager and holds a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate’s salary is at the 70th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in this sector.

Application meets expectations on all four foundational criteria. Most applications will fall in this category.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary is within 65th to 90th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 10
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Firm has fewer than 25 PMET employees 10 (Default)
Support for local Employment Firm has fewer than 25 PMET employees 10 (Default)
Total 40 (Pass)

  

Example A-3: Weak on a foundational criterion but exceeds expectations on another foundation criterion

Scenario:

  • Firm is a commercial bank in the financial services sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a local PMET share at the 40th percentile of its sector. Candidate comes from a less represented nationality in the firm, which currently forms 3% of the firm’s PMET employees.
  • Candidate attributes: Candidate is a management associate and holds a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate’s salary is at the 60th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in the sector.

Candidate does not meet expectations on the salary criterion, but improves the diversity of the firm.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary < 65th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 0
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs < 5% 20
Support for local Employment Share of locals among firm’s PMETs is within 20th to 50th percentile for subsector 10
Total 40 (Pass)

  

Example A-4: Weak on a foundational criterion but earns points on bonus criterion

Scenario:

  • Firm is a software company in the infocomm technology sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a local PMET share at the 10th percentile of its sector. Candidate’s nationality currently forms 35% of the firm’s PMET employees.
  • Candidate attributes: : Candidate is an artificial intelligence engineer (list of shortage occupations to be determined) and holds a master’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate’s salary is at the 95th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in the sector.

Application does not meet expectations on firm-level criteria, but candidate is of higher calibre and fills a shortage occupation.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary ≥ 90th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 20
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs ≥ 25% 0
Support for local Employment Share of locals among firm’s PMETs < 20th percentile for subsector 10
Skills Bonus Job on Shortage Occupation List (awarded 10 points instead of 20 as the share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs is ≥ one-third) +10
Total 40 (Pass)

 

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