SINGAPORE: Global Talent Hub Strategy

August 30, 2022

On 29 August 2022, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore (in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Communications and Information) has released some important changes in the immigration regulations to further attract highly skilled foreign nationals and position the country to be a global hub for talent.

Key Changes

Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass

A new work pass called Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass has been introduced by the Ministry of Manpower and is scheduled to be implemented on 1 January 2023.

MOM aims to attract top foreign talent who:

  • are earning at least SGD 30,000 fixed monthly salary (or its equivalent in another currency) within the previous year; or
  • will be earning at least SGD 30,000 fixed monthly salary while employed in Singapore.

Foreign nationals who wish to apply for this pass while they are overseas must be able to prove that an established company has employed them for at least one year or they will have an established employer in Singapore. Established company/employer is defined as having a market capitalization of at least USD 500 million or an annual revenue of at least USD 200 million.

While the key requirement for this pass is the minimum fixed monthly salary, outstanding achievements of foreign nationals in the arts and culture, sports, science and technology and academia and research may be considered by MOM. Further information on the eligibility requirements will be released closer to the implementation date.

This pass will be valid for 5 years and is renewable for up to 5 years provided the foreign national remains to meet the renewal criteria. It will allow holders to work for multiple employers and start or operate their own business at the same time, which provides employment flexibility. Dependent passes will be available for eligible accompanying family members and spouses on dependent pass are said to be allowed to apply for a Letter of Consent that provides work authorization to its holder.

New Benchmark

MOM will introduce a new minimum fixed monthly salary benchmark to certain EP applicants and Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) applicants. This is set to be implemented as of 1 September 2023.

  • EP applicants who will be exempted from the job advertisement requirement and COMPASS will have to earn a fixed monthly salary of SGD 22,500 (increased from SGD 20,000); and
  • PEP applicants will be required to earn at least a fixed monthly salary of SGD 22,500 (increased from SGD 12,000/SGD 18,000)

Reduced Processing Time and Duration of Job Advertisement

With effect from 1 September 2022, MOM intends to shorten the job advertisement requirement duration for EP applications. Currently, job advertisements are required to be posted for at least 28 days. This requirement will be reduced to at least 14 days once implemented.

Further, they are aiming to reduce the processing time to within 10 business days from date of filing with immediate effect. MOM expects that the system upgrades they implemented will expedite the review of applications or at least provide an update to employers within the said timeframe.

Longer EP Validity for Eligible foreign nationals with tech experience

In line with the COMPASS implementation on 1 September 2023, MOM will provide an option to eligible foreign nationals with tech experience to apply for EP with a 5-year validity. Below would be the eligibility criteria:

  • Occupation must fall in one of the tech occupations in the Shortage Occupation List, which will be released as part of the COMPASS framework;
  • Must earn a minimum monthly fixed salary of at least SGD 10,500 (more experienced candidates are expected to earn a higher salary to become eligible); and
  • Obtain at least 10 points on the Diversity criterion in the COMPASS framework and pass COMPASS at the same time.

Newland Chase Insights

With the Asian borders fully opening up, Singapore is set to resume its strategy to position the country as a global hub and attract highly skilled foreign top talents by way of streamlining existing processes and introducing additional work pass options to eligible candidates. Newland Chase will continue to monitor any further updates from MOM in relation to these changes.

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Newland Chase dedicated contact or submit an inquiry here should you have any specific questions regarding this announcement.

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.