What’s Changed in Singapore Employment Pass Approvals in 2024: A Closer Look

Vadim Krasovskiy Business News, Living in Singapore

In response to evolving workforce dynamics, Singapore has recently implemented changes to its Employment Pass (EP) requirements. These adjustments aim to enhance the quality of foreign talent entering the workforce while ensuring fairness and transparency in the employment process. Key modifications include increases to the EP qualifying salary, stricter job advertisement requirements for larger workforces, the introduction of a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), and enhanced education verification proof requirements. In this blog post, we will explore the recent developments in Employment Pass approvals, evaluating shifts and trends, identifying common rejection reasons, and discussing strategies to enhance approval chances.

2023 Changes to Employment Pass Requirements 

Here are some of the key changes to Employment Pass requirements that entered into force in September 2023.

Increases to the EP Qualifying Salary:

As of September 1st, 2023, candidates applying for an Employment Pass must meet a higher qualifying salary threshold. Individuals need to earn a minimum of S$5,000 per month, benchmarked against the top one-third of local professional, managers, executives, and technicians (PMET) salaries by age. This requirement progressively increases with age, reaching S$10,500 for individuals aged 45 and above. Notably, the financial services sector imposes slightly higher salary requirements, with a minimum of S$5,500 per month for individuals under 45 and up to S$11,500 for those aged 45 and above.

Job Advertisement Requirements for Larger Workforces:

Employers seeking to hire foreign talent through the EP route must adhere to stricter job advertisement requirements. Specifically, for positions with more than 10 employees, companies must advertise the job on MyCareersFuture for at least 14 consecutive days. This extended advertising period ensures that job seekers have sufficient time to review and apply for available vacancies, promoting fairness in the recruitment process.

Introduction of Points-Based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS):

To further assess the eligibility of EP candidates, Singapore has introduced a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). Effective from September 1st, 2023, candidates must pass a two-stage eligibility framework to qualify for an EP. In addition to meeting the increased qualifying salary threshold, individuals must also pass the COMPASS evaluation. This framework evaluates various criteria, including qualifications, experience, and salary, to determine the candidate’s suitability for the EP.

Education Verification Proof Requirements:

Another significant change pertains to education verification proof requirements for EP candidates. Effective from September 1st, 2023, candidates must provide verification proof for the authenticity of their qualifications and the accreditation status of the institution. This verification must be obtained from accredited background screening companies or selected government verification portals. Additionally, candidates requiring points from the qualifications criterion to pass COMPASS must submit verification proof along with their qualifications in the EP application.

Singapore EP Approval Rate: Evaluating Shifts and Trends 

Since the recent changes to Employment Pass requirements, obtaining approval has become slightly more challenging. The tightened requirements, aimed at raising the bar for foreign talent entering the workforce, have made it more difficult for some applicants to meet the criteria. However, despite these changes, our clients who meet the updated requirements continue to see favorable approval rates. In fact, approximately 9 out of 10 applications submitted by our eligible clients are approved. This success rate underscores the importance of meeting the revised requirements and highlights the effectiveness of strategic application planning. As we delve further into the EP approval process, let’s explore common rejection reasons for Employment Pass applications and discuss strategies to enhance approval chances.

Common Rejection Reasons for Singapore Employment Pass Applications in 2024

When applying for an Employment Pass in Singapore, it’s crucial to be aware of common rejection reasons that may impact the outcome of your application. Understanding these factors can help applicants proactively address any potential concerns and increase the likelihood of approval. Here are some of the most common rejection reasons for EP applications:

Insufficient Company Funds:

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) assesses whether the company has adequate financial resources to support the employment of a foreign worker. Typically, a period of 12 months of employment is considered, and if the company’s bank account does not show sufficient funds, the EP application may be rejected. In such cases, MOM may advise the company to prioritize hiring local talent instead.

Significant Discrepancy in Salary:

MOM scrutinizes changes in the candidate’s salary compared to their previous employment. It’s advisable to provide a salary range that falls within 20-30% of the candidate’s previous salary. Additionally, candidates can utilize the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to verify their eligibility based on the intended salary.

Alignment of Candidate’s Profile with Job Scope:

MOM evaluates the candidate’s educational background, work experience, offered salary, and market demand for the specific occupation. It’s essential for the candidate’s profile to align closely with the requirements of the job role to increase the likelihood of EP approval.

Preference for Local Talent:

The Singaporean government prioritizes sustainable and inclusive growth, aiming to keep Singaporeans at the forefront of the workforce. Therefore, positions that could easily be filled by local talent may face higher chances of EP rejection. It’s crucial for EP applicants to demonstrate their unique skills and contributions that complement Singapore’s workforce needs, thereby minimizing the risk of rejection based on this criterion.

How to Appeal an Employment Pass Rejection

When appealing an Employment Pass (EP) rejection, it’s crucial to address the specific issues highlighted in the rejection letter. Without adequately resolving these concerns, the likelihood of a successful appeal is very slim. Understanding these common rejection reasons and taking proactive steps to address them can significantly improve the chances of EP approval.

Strategies for Enhancing Singapore EP Approval Chances 

To improve the success rate of work visa applications, we advise our clients to implement several key strategies aimed at strengthening applications and showcasing the company’s credibility and reliability. These strategies include:

  1. Maintaining Sufficient Funds: A company should open a bank account and ensure that sufficient funds are available to cover the candidate’s salary for 12 months, along with operational expenses. This financial stability demonstrates ability to support the hired individual and sustain business operations.
  2. Compliance with Job Advertisement Guidelines: A Singapore company should ensure that job advertisements were posted in compliance with the Ministry of Manpower’s guidelines, demonstrating equal consideration for local candidates and reinforcing the commitment to fair hiring practices.
  3. Securing Official Documentation: A company should obtain a tenancy agreement for the workplace, providing official documentation of the operational space.
  4. Preparation of a Comprehensive Business Plan: A company should prepare a detailed business plan outlining company’s objectives, strategies, and market analysis, showcasing vision and potential for growth.
  5. Engagement with Potential Clients: A company should be actively engaged with potential clients, focusing on Singapore-based clients whenever possible. This effort is reflected in signed Letters of Intent or contracts, indicating business traction and market viability.
  6. Meticulous Record-Keeping: For operational businesses, a company should meticulous record-keeping of issued invoices and client payments, demonstrating financial transparency and stability. It should also be diligently complied with all annual filing obligations, including tax filings with IRAS, preparation of financial statements, and annual return filing with ACRA, underscoring its commitment to regulatory compliance and good corporate governance.
  7. Signed Employment Contract: A company should sign an employment contract with the candidate, providing clear terms and expectations for both parties.
  8. Letter of Recommendation: The candidate should secure letters of recommendation from past employers as well as potential clients, highlighting their qualifications and professional achievements.
  9. Suitable Job Description: A company should ensure that the job description aligns with the position applied for and that the candidate has relevant past experiences in the field.
  10. Education and Career Achievement: A company should emphasize the candidate’s good education background and achievements in their career, showcasing their qualifications and suitability for the position.

How We Can Help

At CorporateServices.com, we adopt a proactive approach to navigate potential hurdles and streamline the Employment Pass application process. Our priority is to identify and address any red flags that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may spot, ensuring a smoother assessment. Through proactive mitigation of concerns and thorough provision of explanations or evidence where needed, we strive to craft a compelling case that aligns seamlessly with MOM’s stringent requirements. This strategic methodology not only showcases our dedication to compliance and transparency but also underscores our unwavering commitment to securing the EP for our clients. With our expertise and strategic guidance, we aim to enhance approval chances and facilitate a successful outcome for every EP application. Contact us to incorporate your company and navigate the complexities of EP applications, allowing you to focus on your business objectives with confidence.

About CorporateServices.com

Headquartered in Singapore, CorporateServices.com, empowers global entrepreneurs with information and tools necessary to discover Singapore as a destination for launching or relocating their startup venture and offers a complete range of company incorporation, immigration, accounting, tax filing, and compliance services in Singapore. The company combines a cutting-edge online platform with an experienced team of industry veterans to offer high-quality and affordable services to its customers. Contact Us if you need assistance with setting up a new Singapore company or if you would like to transfer the administration of your existing company to us.

Share this Post

Considering Singapore?
Experienced team. Affordable cost. Online platform.
Let's Get Started