Getting Singapore’s Employment Pass (EP) is now more challenging than a few years ago. The nation’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has tightened up regulations to curb indiscriminate recruitment of foreigners by local companies. As a result, EP applications are getting rejected more than ever before, and the MOM only gives generic reasons for such rejections.
Getting denied a visa, especially one you’ve committed time and resources to, can be disappointing, but you can address or prevent it by tackling the common reasons for the denial. Some of these reasons are due to lapses from your end, while others can be your employer’s fault. You can also rely on an immigration service provider to ensure there is no room for mistakes while submitting the application.
Get to know the top 6 reasons for Singapore’s Employment Pass rejection here.
The “Locals First” Reason
According to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) developed by the MOM, employers must first advertise any vacant position in their companies in the nation’s job bank for at least 14 days. Then, only when there are no suitably qualified candidates locally or no one applies can such companies look outside. Simply stated, MOM wants Singapore’s jobs for Singaporeans.
So, if MOM discovers that your employer did not comply with the FCF, your EP is bound for rejection. In this case, the fault is not yours, and only your employer can rectify this problem. They must prove that there are no competent hands locally for the job.
You may, however, make things easier for your employer by submitting a solid justification letter. This letter is to argue the uniqueness of your skills and their rarity. But, of course, that would mean that your skills are indeed rare.
Insufficient Employer’s Proof of Funds
All businesses planning to employ a foreigner must demonstrate their ability to pay the salary of such an employee. For this purpose, MOM requires that such companies present their bank statement showing that they have funds above the annual salary of such an employee. So, let’s say your salary is $6000; your employer needs to show a bank statement of $72,000 plus 10% of the business operational cost per year.
Your employer may have to present a bank statement showing $80,000 or more for the above scenario. It is not enough to show the minimum funds; they must also demonstrate that they have funds above this requirement. And while the minimum salary for EP is $4,500, most foreign employees would need salaries greater than that. This definitely puts more burdens on employers to prove their financial capability.
Mismatch In Job Roles And Qualifications
For your EP application to be approved, your skills and qualifications must correspond to the scope of your job. So, if the skills on your CV do not match those required for the job you got, MOM may deny your application. It is your employer’s responsibility to ensure that there are no discrepancies in this regard.
It’s essential to stress only those skills most relevant to your job on your CV. An independent assessor or consultant can help assess your job scope and match it with your skillsets.
Misrepresentation and Insufficient Documentation
Making a false claim is very damaging to your EP application as the MOM carries out vetting of all claims to ascertain their authenticity. Expect that your credentials and all supporting documentation will go through rigorous verification. And should any inconsistency be discovered, you can forget about getting your EP. Applicants who studied in India or China have to verify their certifications doubly.
Insufficient documentation often accounts for EP refusals. You must have a document to support every claim you make. For instance, if you claim that your previous salary was $6000, your employer must have a payslip to prove that. You must avoid giving information that you cannot verify.
No Career Stability
Before applying for Singapore’s employment pass, MOM requires you to demonstrate that you have consistency with your chosen career. In addition, you need at least two years of stability in your previous job to convince MOM that you deserve Singapore’s Pass.
Again, staying for a while with your previous employer gives the impression of loyalty and that you would have gained sufficient skills to impact Singapore’s work ecosystem positively. So, changing jobs frequently in your home country for no justifiable reason can hinder your chances of getting your employment pass in Singapore.
Huge Gap In Salary
If the disparity between your previous salary and the one you aspire to get in Singapore is significant, MOM can reject your EP application. For instance, if your last job pays $2000 per month and you plan to take a $7000-per-month job in Singapore, it may raise a red flag. This disparity accounts for the majority of the rejection that EP candidates experience.
The way out is to limit the disparity to less than 30%. That means you will have to look for a job within your previous salary range. This requirement can be challenging for workers from developing countries with low wages and salaries. For example, it would mean that your job must not pay less than $4500, an equivalent of 3 to 6 months’ salary in under-developed nations. The employer can also choose to apply for an S Pass for you instead of an EP if you don’t meet the minimum salary requirement for an EP and they have the quota for the same.
Yes, the rules are becoming more rigid, and meeting the eligibility requirements seems challenging. Also, in September 2023 the Singapore government is going to introduce a point-based system called, COMPASS to check if an individual is qualified to get an EP. However, while packaging your application, you can avoid rejection and secure your much-treasured EP if you note the factors above.
The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore gives three months from the rejection date for an appeal. You can appeal up to two times for an application, but you need to be sure of the reasons for rejection and that you have tackled them. If you have no solid explanations for the refusal advisory provided by the MOM, the outcome will remain the same. However, only employers can appeal a refusal, not the candidate.
Similarly, do not forget to check your eligibility for Singapore’s EP before submitting an application. You can do this by using the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) available online. This way, you don’t waste your time applying for a visa that you probably are not qualified to get.