Singapore as a global hub for talent

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Whilst investing greatly in developing Singapore’s local workforce, the Singapore government has introduced various measures to attract and retain top global talent. The new measures are targeted at the very high-end foreign talent for specific booming industries. Singapore’s key aim is to strengthen its position as a global hub for talent.
    

Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass

On 1 January 2023, Singapore introduced the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass (ONE Pass); a new work pass meant for top talent, arts & culture, sports, and academia & research.
  • The ONE Pass is a 5-year renewable personalized pass which allows the individual to start, operate and work for multiple companies at any one time.
  • To be eligible, candidates must either (i) have earned a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 30,000 (or its equivalent) within the last 1 year, or (ii) earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 30,000 under their future employer in Singapore.      
  • The SGD 30,000 monthly salary is to come from 1 employer, although other sources of income may be considered on a case by case basis. 
  • Additionally, existing work pass holders must either show that (i) they have been working in Singapore for at least 1 year, or (ii) they will be working for an established company in Singapore. 
  • Overseas candidates must either show that (i) they have been working for an established company overseas for at least 1 year, or (ii) will be working for an established company in Singapore. 
  • An established company is one that has a market capitalisation or valuation of at least USD 500 million or an annual revenue of at least USD 200 million. Combined amounts from the entire global office can also be considered and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Candidates with outstanding achievements in arts & culture, sports, or academia & research can qualify for the ONE Pass without meeting the salary criterion.
    
Note, that whilst Dependant Pass holders need to apply for an Employment Pass (EP), S Pass or Work Permit if they wish to work in Singapore, the spouse of a ONE Pass holder can obtain a Letter of Consent to work in Singapore.
   

Personalized Employment Pass

As of 1 September 2023, the fixed monthly salary criteria to obtain a Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) will be raised from a fixed monthly salary of SGD 12,000 for existing EP holders, and SGD 18,000 for overseas professionals, to a fixed monthly salary of SGD 22,500 for both.

The PEP is a non-renewable work pass meant for high-earning EP holders or overseas foreign professionals which is valid for 3 years. A PEP holder can hold a job in any sector (subject to registration requirements); does not need to re-apply for a new pass if they change jobs; and can stay in Singapore for a period of 6 months without a job to search for a new employment. 
    

Employment Pass

As of 1 September 2023, unless exempted, EP candidates will need to pass a 2-stage eligibility framework: 
  • earn a minimum qualifying salary of SGD 5,000 for all sectors except for the financial services sector which requires a minimum qualifying salary of SGD 5,500. Older, more experienced candidates need higher salaries to qualify – up to SGD 10,500 and SGD 11,500 respectively, at age 45+; and 
  • pass a new points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).
     

COMPASS evaluates EP applications based on a set of: 

  • Individual attributes including (a) salary relative to local professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMET) salary norms for sector, (b) qualifications* of the candidate, and (c) skills bonus for candidates in job where skills shortage exists according to the MOM’s Shortage Occupation List including occupations in the agritech, financial services, green economy, healthcare, infocomm technology, and maritime sectors; and

    *
    As of 1 September 2023, candidates’ qualifications ought to be supported with a verification proof from MOM approved background screening companies.
  • firm-related attributes including (a) diversity in terms of nationality, (b) support for local employment based on local PMET share relative to industry peers, and (c) strategic economic priorities bonus for partnership with government on ambitious innovation or internationalisation activities. 
    
Candidates will be exempted from COMPASS if they (i) earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 22,500, or (ii) apply as an intra-corporate transferee, or (iii) fill in a role for 1 month or less. 
   
EPs are renewable passes that are valid for 2 years for a first time EP candidate, and renewable for up to 3 years each time. 
    

5-year duration Employment Pass

As of 1 September 2023, experienced tech professionals with skills in shortage may apply for a 5-year duration EP. 
   
To be eligible, candidates must: 
  • fill specific tech occupations on the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List, 
  • earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 10,500, while older, more experienced candidates need higher salaries to qualify – up to SGD 13,500 at age 45+
  • pass COMPASS and score at least 10 points on Criterion 3 (Diversity) – i.e., the share of candidates’ nationality among the firm’s professional, managers, executives, and technicians. 
   

S-Pass

As of 1 September 2023, the minimum qualifying salary to obtain an S-Pass will be raised to SGD 3,150 for all sectors, except for the financial services sector which will require a minimum qualifying salary of SGD 3,650. Older, more experienced candidates need higher salaries to qualify – up to SGD 4,650 and SGD 5,650 respectively, at age 45+. 
   
The number of S-Pass holders a company is allowed to hire is limited by quota and subject to levy. 
    
As of 1 September 2023, the S-Pass Basic/Tier 1 levy rate will be raised from SGD 450 to SGD 550. 
    
As of 1 January 2023, the S-Pass quota for the manufacturing, construction, marine shipyard, and process sectors will be lowered from 18 % to 15 % of the total workforce. The S-Pass quota for the services sector remains the same – i.e., 10 % of the company’s total workforce.
    

Exemption from advertisement on MyCareersFuture

To ensure fair recruitment practices for Singaporeans, companies intending to submit EP and S-Pass applications to the MOM must comply with certain advertising requirements prior to making such applications. Companies must first advertise the job vacancy on MyCareersFuture. The advertisement must be open to Singaporeans, comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and run for at least 14 calendar days. 
    
As of 1 September 2023, a company will be exempted from advertisement on MyCareersFuture if: 
  • the company has less than 10 employees, or
  • the job position is paying a fixed monthly salary of SGD 22,500 or more, or 
  • the job is to be filled by a local transferee, or 
  • the vacancy is short term (i.e., not more than 1 month). 

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