Effective from 1 September 2020, the minimum salary for EP to rise across the board.
Minimum Salary for EP to Rise Across the Board
The Ministry of Manpower Singapore (MOM) will be adjusting the minimum salary for foreign professionals to qualify for an Employment Pass (EP) to be raised to S$4,500 per month (from $3,900 previously).
The qualifying salaries for older and more experienced candidates in their 40s will also be raised so that these remain around double the minimum salary for the youngest applicants, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Additionally, new EP holders in the Financial Services sector will need to be paid at least S$5,000 from December 1, 2020. This is the first time the ministry has announced a sector-specific higher qualifying salary.
Why the Change?
Post GE2020, and with the effects of Covid-19 on the general economy, tensions between locals and foreign employment has led to the government tightening rules to hiring foreign workers. This first step assures Singaporeans that their interests are being taken into consideration and that they will be competing on a level playing field.
This issue of maintaining a balanced approach in hiring foreign talent to complement Singapore’s manpower requirement remains an ongoing debate in parliament and Singapore President Mdm Halimah Yacob will address how the government will approach this potentially delicate and divisive issue.
As inbound Singapore immigration specialists, we analyse this situation objectively. Thereafter, we dispense the necessary advice to clients looking to expand their business into Singapore, or individuals and families that are keen to make Singapore their permanent home.
Impact on Singapore Permanent Residence / Citizenship Applications
Having been in the industry for decades and equipped with the intricacies of all inbound Singapore immigration policies, we can opine that:
- While the tightening of EP and S-Pass issuance will create more employment opportunities for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, there is still a place for Foreign Talent with skill-sets that complement the local work force
- We can expect higher quality professionals in the talent pool – only very highly qualified and specialised professionals for the respective industries and roles will be granted pass approvals, especially in focus industries such as finance and technology
- We could be looking at an increase in approval quotas – to convert the talent pool from existing pass holders to Permanent Residents and/or Citizens. This is so that Work Passes can be issued to talent that Singapore is truly lacking in
To quote the Minister of Manpower Singapore Ms Josephine Teo:
“We do value the contributions of our foreign workforce because they do complement the local workforce in keeping Singapore an attractive host to investors from around the world,” she said.
“Because we really do need the companies to expand opportunities. And so they must have access to the complement of skills and talent that they can find from anywhere, put them together, base it out of Singapore and make a success of it.”
How Will This Affect Foreign Workers in Singapore?
It would be more difficult for new foreign workers to work in Singapore, especially with Singapore’s targeted approach to hiring foreign workers in focus industries. Existing foreign workers on Employment Pass (EP) may want to convert to Singapore Permanent Residence so that they will not be subject to this increase in minimum qualifying salary now and in the future.