Blog

CHANGES TO SINGAPORE VISA & IMMIGRATION: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Published: 16 August 2023
Wendy Tio

Beginning 1 September 2023, Employment Pass (EP) candidates must adhere to a two-stage eligibility framework. In addition to meeting the qualifying salary (Stage 1), EP candidates must pass a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (Stage 2).

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

The following posts explains changes that are happening to Singapore visa and immigration beginning 1 September 2023.

Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

COMPASS will apply to:

  • New applications from 1 September 2023
  • Renewals for passes expiring from 1 September 2024

Singapore VI 09.01.23

How COMPASS Works

 

Individual Attributes 

Firm-Related Attributes 

Foundational Criteria

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 candidate in job where skills shortages exist

C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus

For partnership with Government on ambitious innovation or internationalization activities 

Source: Ministry of Manpower Singapore

COMPASS evaluates EP applications based on a holistic set of individual and firm-related attributes. The application is scored on four foundational criteria. Applications earn points if they meet or exceed expectations, and 40 points are required to pass COMPASS.

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

Source: Ministry of Manpower Singapore

The application can also earn extra points under the bonus criteria if it meets the relevant qualifying conditions. These criteria recognise applications that bring in skills that are in shortage or support strategic economic priorities, thus creating good jobs for Singaporeans.

  • Small firms with fewer than 25 professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) employees score 10 points on C3 and C4 by default.
  • Skills bonus is reduced to +10 if the share of candidate’s nationality among the firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher.

Exemption from COMPASS

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

  • Earning at least $22,500 fixed monthly salary (similar to the prevailing Fair Consideration Framework job advertising exemption from 1 September 2023)
  • 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
  • Filling a role on a short-term basis (i.e., one month or less)

Changes to Verification Requirement

With the implementation of COMPASS, post-secondary diploma and above qualifications declared to Ministry of Manpower will have to be supported with a verification proof. This requirement applies to new EP applications from 1 September 2023, and renewals from 1 September 2024.

Employers who need points from these qualifications in COMPASS have to declare them in the EP application. Otherwise, there is no need to declare qualifications.

Verification Proof Requirements

Employers must ensure that their candidates’ qualifications are authentic and were awarded by accredited institutions.

Higher Qualifying Salary

Eligibility for Employment Pass

Only eligible candidates will be considered for an Employment Pass. Criteria include earning a salary of at least $5,000, which is benchmarked against the top one-third of the local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) salaries by age.

Sector
Current minimum qualifying salary for new applications, and for renewals from 1 September, 2023
Minimum qualifying salary for renewals before 1 September, 2023
All (except financial services)

At least $5,000

(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $10,500 at age 45 and above)

$4,500

(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $9,300 at age 45 and above)

Financial services 

 At least $5,500

(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $11,500 at age 45 and above)

$5,000 (increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $9,300 at age 45 and above) 

 

Timeline

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

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

 

Job Posting Requirement

Consider all candidates fairly before you apply for an Employment Pass

To promote fair employment practises and improve labour market transparency, employers submitting Employment Pass (EP) applications must first advertise the job on MyCareersFuture and consider all candidates fairly.

Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)

The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) sets out the requirements for all employers in Singapore to consider candidates fairly for job opportunities. Employers should not discriminate against candidates based on non-job related characteristics such as age, sex, nationality/citizenship or race.

Sirva-relocation-experts-for-visa-and-immigrationAll employers in Singapore are expected to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practises.

From 1 September 2023, the salary threshold for exemption from FCF job advertising requirement will be raised to $22,500.

Experienced Tech Professionals

5-year duration Employment Pass for experienced tech professionals with skills in shortage

From September 2023, experienced tech professionals with skills in shortage may apply for a longer 5-year duration Employment Pass.

This will give greater certainty to experienced tech professionals as well as businesses hiring them, and allow Singapore to anchor tech capabilities in areas where the local pipeline is still being developed.

Salary Criterion for Personalised Employment Pass

Eligibility and requirements for Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

Eligible high-earning foreign professionals can apply for a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). Pass holders have greater job flexibility than with other work passes.

From 1 September 2023, the fixed monthly salary criteria for both existing EP holders and overseas foreign professionals will be raised to $22,500. This is benchmarked to the top 10% of EP holders.

Please contact Immigration Team Lead, Wendy Tio at wendy.tio@sirva.com if you have any enquiries. Sirva will continue to stay on top of visa and immigration changes and communicate any changes that might evolve.