Singapore will introduce a new points system for Employment Pass (EP) applicants from 2023, in addition to higher qualifying salary thresholds.

The government hopes that the new system – laid out under the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) – will improve the capacity of Singaporean businesses to select high-quality foreign professionals and ensure workforce diversity.

Future EP applicants must score at least 40 points under the COMPASS system, which are awarded based on four attributes and two bonus criteria.

COMPASS will come into effect for new applicants from September 2023 and for renewal applicants from September 2024.

Under Singapore’s 2022 budget, the government announced an increase to the qualifying minimum salaries for several work permits, primarily the Employment Pass and the S Pass permits.

The qualifying salary threshold for EP applicants has been raised to S$5,000 (US$3,694) from the current S$4,500 (US$3,332).  The EP permit is issued to expatriates hired as managers, executives, and skilled professionals in Singapore.

For EP applicants in the financial sector, the minimum salary has also been increased to S$5,500 (US$4,064) from S$5,000 (US$3,694). The increased requirement will be applied to new applicants from September 2022, and in September 2023 for renewal applicants.

The COMPASS framework evaluates EP applications on individual and firm-related attributes. These are based on four foundational criteria where the applicant earns points on whether they meet or exceed expectations.

Applicants can also earn additional points on two bonus criteria – one for candidates in jobs where there is a skills shortage, and second, for firms that engage in innovation and internationalization activities.

40 points are required to pass COMPASS.

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This article was first published by AseanBriefing which is produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists foreign investors throughout Asia from offices across the world, including in in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and Russia. Readers may write to [email protected]

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