MOM Tightens Work Pass Requirements

The move is an effort to encourage businesses to retain and expand their local workers, as well as help local jobseekers find meaningful work.
By Ian Tan Hanhonn 27 Aug 2020

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will update the Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass criteria to match the current weak economic outlook.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo made the announcement on 27 August 2020.

MOM said that these changes will complement the extension of the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) and the newly introduced Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on 17 August 2020.                  

The Government believes that the tightening of work pass requirements, in tandem with the other schemes introduced, will provide business with a strong mandate to retain and expand their local workers, as well as help jobseekers find meaningful work.

Tightening Salary Requirements for EP mandate

From 1 September 2020, the salary requirement for all new EP applicants will be raised to $4,500 - $600 higher than the minimum qualifying salary set on 1 May 2020.

The qualifying salaries for older and more experienced EP candidates in their 40s will be raised correspondingly and will remain roughly double the minimum qualifying salary of the youngest applicant.

These new salary criteria will take effect from 1 May 2021 for renewal applications.

Higher Salary Requirements in Financial Services Sector

MOM will set higher qualifying salaries for the financial services sector. This is the first time it has done so for a particular sector.

The ministry stated the sector, which has traditionally paid higher salaries compared to other sectors, continues to hire and is still attracting strong interest from local jobseekers with good qualifications.

While the new salary criteria taking effect on 1 September 2020 will equally apply to this sector, come 1 December 2020, the minimum qualifying salary for EPs in this sector will be further raised to $5,000 for new applicants.

Qualifying salaries for older and more experienced EP candidates and applicants applying for renewal will follow the requirements outlined earlier.

Higher Salary Requirements for S Pass Applicants

On top of their employers having to adhere to quota requirement and incurring levies, S Pass applicants must also meet qualifications and salary criteria.

The S Pass minimum qualifying salary will be raised from $2,400 to $2,500. The changes will take place on 1 October 2020 for new applicants, and on 1 May 2021 for renewal applicants respectively.

No further changes will be made to levies and quotas in this round of adjustments.

Additional Considerations for EP and S Pass Applications

In evaluating EP and S Pass applications, MOM will be taking into account whether the employer has been supportive of employing local PMETs, and if they have been responsive to the Government’s efforts to help recruit and train more Singaporean PMETs.

The evaluation will also take into account whether the employer has been found to discriminate against hiring qualified Singaporeans.

Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)

Before submitting EP applications, employers must fairly consider local candidates.

To make these positions known to locals, the FCF requires employers to first advertise the positions on

Employers will need to properly document the reasons for choosing a candidate over others.

In addition, the FCF job advertising requirement will also apply to S Pass applications submitted from 1 October 2020 onwards, and both S Pass and EP applications need to fulfil a minimum advertising duration of 28 days – double of the previously mandated period.