New measures by Singapore in Employment Pass for foreigners

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The Singapore government has announced that it will tighten measures in Employment Pass (EP) framework to ensure that local workers with rising salaries would not be disadvantaged by Employment Pass holders coming in at lower wages. The employment pass holders are middle range of foreign workers and mostly consist of Asian, including Indians.

As per Singapore Prime Minister Mr. Lee Hsien Loong this tightening on mid level foreign workers will include “raising the salary thresholds for Employment Passes and tightening the educational qualifications”.

With this tightening in educational qualifications, foreigners only from good quality institutions would be eligible to apply for EP.

The changes made under the qualifying salary are as follows:

  • For EP the qualifying salary would be raised to SGD 3,000 pm from SGD 2,800
  • For P2 pass holders qualifying salary would be raised to SGD 4,500 pm from current 4,000

However, the qualifying salary for P1 pass holders would remain unchanged i.e. SGD 8,000 pm.

These new rulings would be implemented in next one to two years for existing EP holders.

EP that expires before Jan 1, 2012, would be given a two-year renewal, and those EP expiring between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, would be given one-time renewal. But EP expiring after July 1, 2012 would be subject to new EP criteria.

These measures are aimed at creating a more level-playing field between foreigners and locals competing for white collar jobs.

However, Mr. Lee cautioned that “tightening on foreign workers does not necessarily mean Singaporeans will automatically get better jobs or higher pay, as Singaporeans are also competing with workers all over the world.”

“Slowing down the inflow of foreign workers may also mean that Singapore will face lower economic growth. There would be lesser vibrancy in our economy and society and fewer opportunities for our people. Hence, Singapore will need to strike the right balance between managing influx of foreign workers and bringing in enough talent to grow the economy”, he said.

Some 30,000 EP holders are expected to be affected by these new tightened measures.

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