If you’re looking to move to Singapore in the near future based on an Employment Pass visa (EP), this new change to attaining these visas would concern you. On March 4, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced a new point-based immigration system called COMPASS.
This new system, also known as Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), is a way to ensure that Employment Pass holders add to the domestic workforce more positively and transparently. These changes also ensure that our foreign workforce will be diverse and skilled while encouraging the hiring of more local staff. A points-based immigration system is not unheard of. Many countries utilise it, such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Foreign professionals would need to score at least 40 points for an EP visa. There are four criteria that allocate points (up to 20 points each) to candidates for the EP – salary, qualifications, diversity and support for resident employment.
- Firstly, candidates have to meet the qualifying salary. The benchmark for qualifying salaries for EP holders has been raised from $4,500 to $5,000 (except for EP holders in financial services sectors, where the benchmark has been raised from $5,000 to $5,500).
- Next comes qualifications: candidates with degrees from top-tier institutions will score 20 points, while degree-equivalent qualifications score 10 points. This is to ensure that foreign professionals entering the workforce are highly skilled and complement their teams.
- Adding to the workforce’s diversity is another way to earn points – COMPASS will grant points if the nationality of the candidate improves the diversity of the company.
- Lastly, points will be allocated based on the firm’s employment of resident PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) as a percentage relative to industry peers.
Bonus points can be earned for applicants in key strategic sectors that have an occupation shortage. Smaller companies also need not worry about these changes, as the COMPASS system takes into account their hiring needs. Candidates applying for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be awarded half the passing marks by default.
EP applicants have to score 10 points in each criterion or gain bonus points through the methods mentioned above. To allow businesses to adjust to the new changes, the COMPASS system will only be implemented for new applications from September 2023 onwards. These changes will then be further implemented for existing visa renewals from September 2024.
Find out more about MOM’s new point-based immigration system: COMPASS system here.
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