Singapore, often dubbed the “Lion City,” is a thriving global business hub known for its robust economy, world-class infrastructure, and cultural diversity. It has become a magnet for expatriates seeking career opportunities and a high quality of life. If you’re considering working in Singapore, obtaining a Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a crucial step. In this blog, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of holding a Singapore Employment Pass for expatriates.
Eligibility for Singapore Employment Pass
From 1 September 2023, new eligibility criteria have been implemented for getting a Singapore Employment Pass (EP). In order to be eligible for Employment Pass (EP) applications, candidates must successfully navigate a two-stage qualification process. The new eligibility criteria are designed to attract and retain high-skilled foreign talent who can contribute to Singapore’s economy.
Earn at least the EP qualifying salary, which is benchmarked to the top 1/3 of local PMET salaries by age. The salary requirements are as follows:
|Age||Salary requirements for all sectors except financial services||Salary requirement for the financial services sector|
|23 and below||$5,000||$5,500|
|46 and above||$10,500||$11,500|
Unless exempted, pass the points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). The framework was introduced on 1 September 2023 and applies to all new EP applications, as well as renewal applications from 1 September 2024. COMPASS assesses candidates based on four foundational criteria:
- Salary: This criterion compares your candidate’s salary to the local PMET salaries in your industry. It should not be confused with the EP qualifying salary, which represents the minimum threshold candidates must meet to secure an EP.
- Qualifications: Candidates with higher-level qualifications, such as a master’s degree or doctorate, will earn more points. Also, if they have graduated from the list of top-tier institutions set by MOM, they will be awarded more points.
- Diversity: This particular criterion allocates greater points to applications when the candidate’s nationality constitutes a minority within the firm’s PMET workforce. Embracing a diverse array of nationalities enhances companies by introducing fresh perspectives, expanding networks, and fostering a more inclusive and robust workforce.
- Support for local employment: Employers who make efforts to create opportunities for the local workforce and build complementary teams comprising both local and foreign professionals will earn bonus points.
In addition to the four foundational criteria, candidates can also earn points from two additional bonus criteria:
- Skills Bonus: This bonus acknowledges roles demanding exceptionally specialized skills that are scarce within the local labor pool. The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is established through a rigorous assessment, considering industry demands and local workforce development endeavors.
- Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus: This bonus acknowledges organizations that fall into one of the following categories:
- Engaging in ambitious investment, innovation, and internationalization efforts in collaboration with economic agencies.
- Receiving an endorsement from the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) as a significant partner in company and workforce transformation activities.
To be eligible for an EP under COMPASS, candidates must score a minimum of 40 points. Employers can also sponsor candidates who score less than 40 points, but these applications will be subject to closer scrutiny.
Note: Candidates who do not meet the Stage 1 salary requirements will not be eligible for an EP, regardless of the points they would have scored under COMPASS.
Benefits of Holding a Singapore Employment Pass
Access to a Booming Job Market:
Singapore boasts a strong job market with opportunities in various sectors, including finance, technology, healthcare, and logistics. Holding an Employment Pass allows you to tap into this dynamic and diverse labour market, where you can explore positions that align with your skills and career goals.
Global Business Hub:
As one of the world’s leading financial centres and a regional business hub, Singapore offers a fertile ground for career advancement. Companies established in Singapore often have a global presence, which means working here can open doors to international assignments and networking opportunities.
Singapore is renowned for offering competitive salaries and attractive employee benefits. By securing an Employment Pass, you position yourself to earn a higher income and enjoy the benefits that come with it.
Ease of Doing Business:
Singapore consistently ranks among the top countries for ease of doing business, making it an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and investors. As an expatriate with a Singapore Employment Pass, you might find it easier to explore business opportunities and even launch your own venture.
Quality of Life:
Singapore offers an excellent quality of life with its efficient healthcare system, high-quality education, and a clean and safe environment. The city-state is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, excellent public transport, and a wide range of recreational activities, ensuring a well-rounded lifestyle for you and your family.
If you have children, Singapore’s education system is one of the best in the world. Holding an Employment Pass allows your children to access top-notch international schools and universities, preparing them for a successful future.
With an EP, you can apply for permanent residency (PR) after working in Singapore for a certain amount of time. PR status offers various privileges, including social benefits, making it an attractive option for expatriates planning to settle in Singapore for the long term.
Ease of Travel:
Singapore’s strategic location in Southeast Asia makes it an ideal base for exploring the region. Changi Airport, one of the world’s best airports, offers excellent connectivity to destinations worldwide, allowing you to travel conveniently for both business and leisure.
Singapore is known for its cultural diversity. Living and working in a multicultural environment can broaden your horizons, foster cultural understanding, and create a more enriching life experience.
High Safety and Low Crime Rates:
Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world, with extremely low crime rates. This creates a secure environment for you and your family to live and work without constant worries about safety.
Singapore has a competitive tax regime with relatively low personal income tax rates. Additionally, certain tax incentives are available for professionals in specific industries, making it an attractive destination for high-income earners.
In conclusion, holding a Singapore Employment Pass as an expatriate offers a multitude of benefits, ranging from career opportunities in a booming job market to a high quality of life, financial security, and the chance to explore business ventures. Singapore’s welcoming and diverse environment, coupled with its pro-business policies, makes it a highly attractive destination for expatriates seeking professional growth and a rewarding lifestyle. If you’re considering working in Singapore, obtaining an Employment Pass may well be your gateway to a brighter future in the Lion City.
However, the application process can be complex, and this is where appointing an immigration consultant becomes invaluable. Appointing them to manage your Employment Pass application can save you time, reduce stress, and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Their expertise and personalised guidance can make the transition to working and living in Singapore a smoother and more enjoyable experience, allowing you to fully embrace the opportunities that this vibrant city-state has to offer.