Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower has announced a slew of changes to its foreign workforce policy, including raising the minimum qualifying salary for Employment Passes and S Passes for the second time this year and introducing a higher salary requirement for Employment Pass holders in the financial services sector. The ministry also announced that S Pass jobs will be subject to the Fair Consideration Framework advertising requirement from October, in a bid to promote greater awareness of vacancies in mid-skilled jobs among local job seekers.
From September, the minimum qualifying salary for new Employment Pass candidates will be raised by S$600 to S$4,500. This is the second such increase this year – the salary criteria for new Employment Pass holders was raised by S$300 to S$3,900 in May, and before that, also by S$300 to S$3,600 in Jan 2017. The qualifying salaries for older and more experienced Employment Pass candidates in their 40s will also be raised, remaining at around double the minimum qualifying salary for the youngest applicants, said MOM in a press release.
Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said that the changes were made to continue to encourage fair hiring, particularly in the current economic climate. “It’s important that Singapore remains an open and connected hub for international businesses, and we do value the contributions of foreign workforce because they do complement the local workforce in keeping Singapore an attractive host to investors from around the world,” said Mrs Teo. “Still, we have to understand these Employment Pass and S Pass changes in the right context. They are updates that help to keep them current with the prevailing conditions, and also make sure that the policies remain responsive.”
HIGHER SALARY REQUIREMENTS FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES SECTOR
For the first time, the Manpower Ministry is also setting higher qualifying salary requirements for a specific sector – namely, the financial services industry. “Salaries in the financial services sector have been consistently higher than in other sectors. The sector also continues to hire and has been attracting strong interest from local jobseekers with good qualifications,” said the Manpower Ministry. As with other sectors, the new S$4,500 salary criteria for Employment Passes will take effect for the financial services industry in September. However in December, the minimum qualifying salary for new Employment Pass applicants will be raised by another S$500 to S$5,000, said MOM.
Similarly, the qualifying salaries for older and more experienced Employment Pass candidates in the financial services sector will also be raised. Those in their 40s will need to meet about double the minimum qualifying salary for the youngest applicants. “These changes will complement MAS’ (Monetary Authority of Singapore) efforts to encourage and support financial institutions in developing a strong local pipeline of talent,” said MOM.
For renewal Employment Pass applicants in all sectors – including financial services – these new salary criteria will be effective from May 1, 2021.