Singapore tightened criteria for employment pass approval

Singapore tightened criteria for employment pass approval

The Singapore Manpower Ministry will be tightening further the criteria for approval of employment pass when hiring foreign professionals in Singapore. Employers who persist in hiring them for no good reason and fail to have concrete plans to nurture their Singaporean staff will find it harder to operate and expand in Singapore.

The ministry is going to be more demanding before giving the nod for an Employment Pass (EP). The criteria for approval will be changed to include such factors as the proportion of foreigners in a company and whether it tried to recruit Singaporeans for the job. Also, it will examine the extent of the company’s contribution to the economy and society. Those deemed weak in all three areas will face difficulties in renewing the employment pass of existing foreigners and getting new ones for fresh hires.

About 100 companies have been put on a watch list for having a weak Singaporean core and displaying a weak commitment to recruiting locals. “The curtailment of work pass privilege will have serious consequences on (the companies’) continued operation and growth in Singapore,” Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said in his strongest words yet on recurring complaints that foreigners are snatching professional jobs from Singaporeans. He said: “(It is) not because we are anti-foreigner, but because (such companies’) behaviour has added to the deepening of ‘local-foreign’ divide in our Singapore workforce.” On the other hand, companies that develop their Singaporean workforce will find it easier to bring in foreign experts who will transfer their expertise to local professionals, managers and executives, said Mr Lim. He was speaking during the debate on his ministry’s budget in Parliament on 8th April 2016. His ministry considers the foreigners’ background, such as qualifications, experience and salaries, when assessing Employment Pass applications.

The minister assured that building a strong Singaporean core is one of his ministry’s three key priorities. He also said employment watchdog Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep) will be given a bigger role to investigate and recommend to his ministry employers who should be put on a black-sheep watch list.

employment pass

Source: Ministry of Manpower

Straits Times – 09/04/2016

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