Singapore revealed a new system to evaluate Employment Pass applications called COMPASS. This article is an in-depth guide on how to manage these new standards.
The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) complementarity assessment framework (COMPASS) has been introduced by the Ministry of Manpower to evaluate the eligibility of overseas applicants.
Employers will be able to choose top-notch international professionals to work in Singapore due to the framework, which will also increase worker diversity while creating a solid Singaporean base.
New EP applications will be evaluated under the new framework starting on September 1, 2023. Starting September 1, 2024, renewal applications will be evaluated using the same approach.
According to the framework, four main criteria—salary, credentials, diversity, and support for local employment—will be used to evaluate the EP application. In addition to the four fundamental criteria, there are two additional bonus criteria that recognize applications that bring in capabilities that are not easily accessible in Singapore and support key economic priorities that lead to the creation of jobs for Singaporeans.
Points will be given if the application fulfills or surpasses expectations in accordance with the fundamental criteria.
Points for each fundamental criterion
|Does not meet expectations
The candidate must obtain 40 points from the four fundamental criteria or points under the bonus criteria in order to be eligible for EP.
Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in the sector by age
Share of candidate’s nationality among the firm’s PMETs.*
|≥ 90th percentile
|65th to 90th percentile
|5 to 25%
|< 65th percentile
Based on the candidate’s qualifications
|C4. Support for Local Employment Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector*
|≥ 50th percentile
|20th to 50th percentile
|No degree-equivalent qualification
|< 20th percentile
|C5. Skills Bonus
|C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus
|Job on the Shortage Occupation List
|The firm meets specific assessment criteria for innovation or internationalisation activities
*If at least one-third of the PMETs at the company are from the candidate’s country of origin, the skills bonus is decreased to +10.
*Small businesses that have fewer than 25 PMET employees automatically receive 10 points on C3 and C4. Employees making at least SG$ 3,000 per month serve as PMET proxies.
All applicants must earn the minimum wage required by EP. Sectoral variations in wage standards are taken into consideration by the COMPASS framework. When local PMET salaries meet sector-specific requirements that are also age-adjusted, points will be given out.
Employers are in charge of making sure that applicants’ credentials are real and come from recognized institutions.
Top-tier institutions include:
- Top 100 universities based on international rankings, and other highly-reputed universities across different regions
- Singapore’s Autonomous Universities
- Vocational institutions that are highly recognised in a particular field
Under COMPASS, qualifications are not a necessity in any way. Candidates who lack degree-equivalent credentials can nonetheless pass COMPASS by scoring well on other factors.
The COMPASS framework promotes companies having a broad mix of nationalities since it enhances companies with fresh ideas and networks and helps to create a workforce more inclusive and resilient.
Applications are given points if the applicant’s nationality makes up a tiny portion of the PMET workers at the company. When determining PMETs, MOM counts all employees who make at least SG$ 3,000 per month for the company.
If your company employs fewer than 25 PMET workers, your application automatically receives a score of 10.
The nationality of your employee is established based on MOM’s records using the nationality shown in their passport.
Support for Local Employment:
Companies that make an effort to provide chances for the local workforce and form complementing teams with both domestic and foreign professionals are recognized by COMPASS.
Points are given to PMET companies with a higher proportion of local employees than other companies operating in the same subsector. The application will receive at least 10 points if the firm’s local PMET share is at least 70% (pegged to the 20th percentile of enterprises across the economy). This holds regardless of the company’s position within its subsector. By doing this, the MOM avoids penalizing businesses in subsectors where local PMET employees compose a sizable portion of the workforce.
Skills Bonus (Shortage Occupation List):
The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) honours EP holders in professions that call for highly specialized abilities and are currently underrepresented in the local labour force.
The SOL is determined by a robust tripartite evaluation process that takes into account industry needs and local workforce development efforts.
Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus:
Companies that engage in ambitious innovation or internationalization initiatives in coordination with the government and in keeping with our economic aims are recognized by COMPASS. These businesses must have the size or capability to offer locals decent employment opportunities.
To be eligible, businesses must either take part in certain programs sponsored by various economic authorities, complete certain evaluation requirements, and demonstrate a commitment to growing the local workforce or ecosystem.
Exemption from COMPASS
A candidate’s EP application is exempted from COMPASS if they fulfil any of these conditions:
- Earning a minimum monthly fixed compensation of S$20,000 (according to the current Fair Consideration Framework job advertising exemption).
- Applying as a recipient of a foreign intra-corporate transfer under the General Agreement on Trade in Services of the World Trade Organization or a relevant Free Trade Agreement to which Singapore is a party.
- Filling a position for a little period of time, i.e., no more than one month.
This update is provided for informative purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice or counsel tailored to a particular situation. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that announcements about immigration are vulnerable to sudden and unforeseen revisions.
Readers are invited to get in touch with our Success Team for any assessments that are company- or case-specific.