MOM reveals higher salary requirements for foreign hires

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower also set separate figures for the financial sector — a first here

MOM reveals higher salary requirements for foreign hires

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has revealed the new salary criteria for employment pass (EP) and S Pass holders in Singapore.

For the time ever, they’ve also set a separate, higher qualifying salary for the financial services industry.

This is part of efforts to align Singapore’s foreign worker policy with current market conditions.

Last May, the minimum qualifying salary for EP holders was raised to $3,900 per month.

From September 1, 2020, the salary requirement will be raised further to $4,500 for all new applicants. For renewal applicants, these new salary criteria will come into effect from May 1, 2021.

Older and more experienced candidates will also cost more for employers — qualifying salaries recruits in their 40s will be raised to at least $9,000 per month, or around double that for youngest applicants at the firm.

READ MORE: MOM blacklists 47 employers for bias hiring practices

Recruits in financial services
Following the blacklist of up to 30 financial and professional services firms, such as banks and investment banking firms, MOM has set a separate and even higher salary criteria for the financial services sector.

“We will for the first time set higher qualifying salaries for a specific sector,” said MOM. “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.”

New EP hires will be subjected to the same $4,500 minimum come September. However, from December onwards, the qualifying salary will be raised to $5,000 for new applicants.

The same rule will apply for more experience hires: they will cost double the salary of the youngest candidates.

S Pass employees
As for S Pass holders, the current minimum qualifying salary stands at $2,400 per month. By October 1, the salary criteria will be raised to $2,500, with corresponding revisions to more experienced hires.

Renewal S Pass applications will be subjected to the change from May 2021 onwards.

Levies and quotas for S Pass holders will also remain at current rates.

READ MORE: MOM to raise minimum salary for EP and S Pass holders

MOM’s stricter criteria for new hires
Besides the changes in the salary criteria, MOM will also have additional considerations when evaluating EP and S Pass applications.

Employers will be subjected to a stricter checks including:

  • Proof that employer has maintained the hiring of local PMETs
  • Evidence that the employer has been proactive in recruiting and training Singaporean PMETs
  • Consideration of employer’s past record of discrimination against qualified Singaporeans

MOM will also be doubling the job advertising duration for EP and S Pass applications to 28 days, with the aim to give local candidates more time to respond to job openings and for employers to “seriously evaluate” applications.

“Discrimination against local job applications in favour of foreign applicants is especially unacceptable,” said MOM. “Employers who practise discriminatory hiring in any form will have their work pass privileges cut back and may also face prosecution.”

Besides meeting requirements of the Fair Consideration Framework, MOM stated that employers whose PMET workforce profiles suggest a bias against locals will be put on a watchlist. Their work pass applications will then be subject to greater scrutiny.

With COVID-19 and the economic disruption it has caused, there is now more slack in the labour market,” said Josephine Teo, minister of manpower.

Even as we stay open to the world to accelerate our recovery, the crisis makes it all the more important that employers give fair treatment to Singaporeans.”

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