The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) application process in Singapore has always been known for its efficiency and transparency. However, in recent years, the Ministry of Manpower Singapore has introduced a groundbreaking system called COMPASS (Control of Passes System) to further enhance and streamline the Employment Pass (EP) application process. In this article, we will explore the Employment Pass application process after the implementation of COMPASS, highlighting the key changes, benefits, and steps involved.
Understanding the Key Criteria of the Employment Pass (EP) Under Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)
The First Step to preparing a strong Singapore Employment Passes application is to ensure that you understand the key criteria prior to the Employment Pass application. Refer to the below list of key criteria:
1. Company Sponsorship: A Singapore-registered company is required to act as the sponsor of the Employment Pass (EP) application. Additionally, the Singapore-registered company company must show financial stability and proof of genuine ongoing business activities.
2. Minimum Qualifying Salary: Singapore values the skills and experience of its Employment Pass holders. To ensure that foreign Employment Pass holders are fairly remunerated, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) establishes minimum salary guidelines (minimum salary starts from 5000 SGD onwards). These benchmarks vary, influenced by factors such as your educational background, expertise, and the nature of your role. Additionally, the fixed monthly salary for the financial services sector is 5,500 SGD per month.
3. The New COMPASS Framework: Besides passing the minimum qualifying salary, the applicant and employing company must score 40 points on the COMPASS assessment which evaluates additional requirements based on the Applicant’s Salary and Education Qualifications, the Company diversity and Support for Local Employment. See below for details on the Four Foundational Criteria according to COMPASS:
- C1: Salary (0-20 points): Applicant’s declared salary must meet the salary benchmark on the local employment market;
- C2: Qualifications (0-20 points): Applicant scores up to 20 points based on his/her existing educational background;
- C3: Diversity (0 – 20 points): Evaluate the company’s workforce diversity (whether the candidate enhances nationality diversity in the firm).
- C4: Support for Local Employment: Based on the company share of local employment benchmark for PMETs within its subsector.
4. Fair Consideration Framework: In case if you have more than 10 employees in your company, you are required to advertise in the Singapore Jobsbank portal for 14 days prior to the Employment Pass Application.
Learn more about the New Complementarity assessment framework (COMPASS).
COMPASS Tips To Strategise Your Employment Pass (EP) Application
While navigating through the changing policies of the Singapore Employment Pass Application Post COMPASS, we can strategy and identify several ways to improve your chances of success. See below for 4 insider tips to counter COMPASS:
- Strategic Workforce Planning: Tailor your hiring plans to align with COMPASS requirements, focusing on roles that excel in foundational and bonus attributes to increase your chances of success for the employment pass application.
- Salary Benchmarking: Scrutinize salary packages to align with local benchmarks, enhancing your employment pass application’s occupation during assessments based on competitive compensation.
- Embrace Diversity and Local Talent: Foster a diverse workforce by hiring talent from various nationalities and empower local employees through training, strengthening your COMPASS score.
- Utilise Bonus Criteria: Capitalize on bonus criteria by identifying qualifying roles for Skills Bonus or exploring eligibility under Strategic Economic Priorities to earn additional points.
Singapore Employment Pass Application Process After COMPASS Implementation
Now, let’s walk through the Singapore Employment Pass application process step by step after the launch of COMPASS:
Step 1: Singapore Employment Pass Application Eligibility Assessment:
Before starting the Singapore Employment Pass application process, it is important to determine whether the foreign professionals (or the applicants) meet the key eligibility criteria. Firstly, the candidate must first pass the minimum qualifying salary and score at least 40 points on COMPASS.
Step 2: Documents Preparation & Verification of Qualification(s)
Get all the required documents ready for submission. Since most of the Employment Pass Applications are filed paperless or online (except overseas sponsorship EP cases), you should have all the required documents to clear scanned copies ready for submission. Additionally, all foreign professionals must obtain verification proof of his/her educational certificates by going through one of the approved agencies in Singapore.
Step 3: Complete and Submit the EP Application Via EPOL
When filing the online form, ensure all information is accurate at the point of submission. Pay attention to the section for the declared occupation and the declared salary that can impact greatly the success of the application. Upload all the required documents and make payment for the application fee online. Applications will not be processed if the MOM application fee is not paid.
Step 4: Monitoring the Employment Pass Application Process
Typically, the employment pass (ep) will take at least 2 weeks to process as the submitted EP application has to undergo a thorough review by the MOM. This process involves checks on the applicant’s education qualifications, declared salary and the legitimacy of the Singapore Employment. In case of any complications, you are required to provide additional documents for the EP appeal submission. Read further on how to handle an Employment Pass Rejection.
Step 5: Singapore Employment Pass Collection Process
Once the Employment Pass (EP) application is approved, the company will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter. This IPA letter outlines the conditions and requirements for EP issuance. Your employment pass is usually given 3 – 6 months to issue and activate your Employment Pass. Additionally, you are required to attend a MOM biometric appointment upon issuance.
What to do when an Employment Pass Holder Application is rejected?
Receiving a rejection for your Employment Pass (EP) application can be disheartening, but it’s important not to lose hope in your EP application. In many cases, reapplying with the right justification documents can lead to a successful outcome. Here are the steps to take if your EP application is rejected:
- Understand the Reasons for Rejection: Review the rejection letter carefully. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) typically provides reasons for the rejection. Understanding these reasons is crucial as it will help you address any shortcomings in your application.
- Seek Clarifications if Necessary: If the rejection reasons are unclear or you need further information, don’t hesitate to reach out to MOM for clarification. Clear communication can help you address the issues effectively.
- Correct the Issues: Once you’ve identified the reasons for rejection, work on correcting them. Common reasons for rejection may include insufficient qualifications, inadequate salary offers, or inaccuracies in the application.
- Reapply When Ready: After addressing the issues, you can reapply for the EP. Ensure that your new application is accurate and complete. Make necessary updates to your qualifications, job offer details, or any other areas of concern.
When unsure of your EP rejection, always seek help from a professional firm like One Visa.
How One Visa Can Assist
- Expert Consultation: Our team of experts is well-equipped to provide you with the necessary guidance and consultation to help you understand and navigate through the new changes effectively.
- Comprehensive Services: We offer a comprehensive range of services, catering to both employers and applicants, ensuring a smooth and successful navigation through the Employment Pass processes.
- Maximise Your Visa Success: Get tailored visa solutions with our free eligibility test. Our team is dedicated to preparing the best application for your unique situation, and we’re confident in our approach – so confident, in fact, we have a success rate above 90%, you can trust in our expertise and experience to guide you through the immigration process with ease.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
Q1: How long is an Employment Pass Application?
It takes 2 weeks to process upon submission. Additional 3 – 6 weeks for appeal and additional documents request.
Q2: How has the minimum salary criteria for EP changed?
The salary criteria have been raised, and the specifics depend on age and experience. The minimum salary now is 5,000 SGD per month
Q3: Why was the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) introduced?
To ensure locals are considered fairly for job positions before hiring foreign professionals.
Q4: Is the EP renewal application process harder than before?
Yes, as the applicant must meet the new renewal criteria and the company must show diversity in their workforce and show that they support local employment. This stricter requirement will be implemented in Sept 2024 under the COMPASS framework.
Q5: How can I get guidance on these employment regulations?
One Visa offers comprehensive guidance on the recent changes and processes.
Q6: What type of skills and qualifications are now in demand?
The demand is increasingly geared towards specialized skills and industry-relevant qualifications.