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Employment Pass Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

Beginner’s Guide to Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) – The New Employment Pass Criteria 2023

From 1st September 2023 onwards, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will assess all new Singapore Employment Pass Applications via the Complementarity Assessment Framework, or COMPASS. Employment Pass renewal will only be subject to the COMPASS from the 1st of September 2024. Read further to learn more about how COMPASS will impact your future applications.

What is Employment Passes Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)?

The COMPASS framework is a point-based system that will take into consideration of both the quality of foreign professionals and the workforce diversity of the sponsor company. The Ministry of Manpower’s aim is to increase the quality of the foreign professionals moving to Singapore while ensuring workforce diversity in a company and building a strong Singaporean core.

Currently, the Singapore Employment Pass application is assessed based on the salary, the company’s business activities, and the applicant’s background (salary, experience and/or education qualification). After the implementation of COMPASS next year, not only that the applicant must pass the pre-existing EP criteria, the overall application must score at least 40 points in the COMPASS points-based system to be qualified for an EP.

For existing Employment Pass Eligibility Criteria, you should read our Employment Pass Application Guide.

How Does the COMPASS work?

The new Singapore Employment Pass (EP) application assessing criteria will consist of a two-stage evaluation process. At Stage 1, the Employment Pass Applicant must pass the Employment Pass qualifying salary criterion.

In the second stage, you must pass the COMPASS assessment. This is a points-based system where new employment pass applications are assessed based on a set of individual and firm-related attributes below. See below for details:


Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

Individual AttributesFirm-Related Attributes
Relative to Local PMET salary norms for sector

C3. Diversity
Whether candidate improves nationality diversity in the firm

C2. Qualifications
Based on candidate's qualifications
C4. Support for Local Employment
Based on Local PMET share relative to industry peers
(Shortage Occupation List)

For candidate in job where skills shortages exist
C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus
For partnership with Government on ambitious innovation or internationalisation activities


The Singapore Employment pass (EP) application will score on four foundational criteria and you will be awarded points based on whether you meet or exceed expectations. See below for details on the scoring requirements:

Points for each foundational criterionAssessment
20 Exceeds expectations
10Meets expectations
0Does not meet expectations


Your Employment pass (EP) application will earn additional points on the bonus criteria if you meet the relevant qualifying conditions based on the below table. These bonus points are awarded when there is a skill shortage in the skilled occupation or when the application support strategic economic priority.

To pass COMPASS, a minimum of 40 points is required:

  • The Employment Pass application satisfies all the expectations (earn 10 points) on all foundational criteria; or

  • The Employment Pass application did not meet the expectation of one or more foundational categories and will need to rely on scoring additional points on either the foundational criteria or Bonus criteria.

    *C1. Salary
    Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age
    Points**C2. Qualification
    Based on candidate's qualifications
    ≥ 90th percentile20Top-tier institution
    65th to < 90th percentile
    10Degree-equivalent qualification
    < 65th percentile
    0No degree-equivalent qualification
    * All applicants must meet the EP qualifying salary, which increases with age.

    COMPASS further accounts for sectoral differences in salary norms. Your application earns points by meeting sector-specific benchmarks for local PMET salaries. These benchmarks are also age-adjusted.
    ** As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your candidate’s qualifications are genuine and were awarded by accredited institutions. Learn more about the requirements.
    ***C3. Diversity (Firm-related)
    Share of candidate's nationality among firm’s PMETs.*
    ****C4. Support for local employment (Firm-related)
    Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector*
    < 5%
    20≥ 50th percentile
    5 to < 25%
    1020th to < 50th percentile
    ≥ 25%
    0< 20th percentile
    *** A diverse mix of nationalities enriches firms with new ideas and networks, and contributes to a more inclusive and resilient workforce.

    COMPASS awards more points to applications where the candidate’s nationality forms a small share of the firm’s PMET employees. No points are earned if your firm is applying to bring in a candidate whose nationality currently forms a significant share of its PMET employees.
    **** COMPASS recognises firms that make efforts to create opportunities for the local workforce and build complementary teams comprising both local and foreign professionals.

    Your application earns more points if your firm has a relatively higher share of locals among PMET employees, compared to your peers in the same subsector.

Who is Exempted from COMPASS?

It is important to also note that under certain circumstances, an Employment Pass Application can be exempted from COMPASS. The employment pass holder must meet any of the following criteria to be exempted:

  • Earn a monthly fixed salary of $20,000

  • Apply the Employment Pass application as an overseas intra-corporate transferee (ICT) under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services

  • employment is on a short-term basis (i.e. 1 month or less)

Closing Remarks – How should you be prepared? 

Despite the implementation of COMPASS to make it harder to secure an Employment Pass, the points-based system is meant to improve the quality of applicants applying for Employment Passes and reinforce Singapore’s aim to become the talent hub of Asia. 

However, if we are looking from the company’s viewpoint, it is critical to move forward with all hiring plans prior to the implementation of COMPASS in September 2023.

Surrounding the latest developments in Employment Pass policies, if you are wondering whether you would still be eligible for an EP, contact us today for a free profile assessment! 

Employment Passes Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) - How to get ahead?

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