Payroll & HRMOM impose tougher restriction for Work Pass requirements despite economic uncertainty.​

MOM impose tougher restriction for Work Pass requirements despite economic uncertainty.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regularly adjust the criteria for work pass eligibility so as to support employment opportunities for the local workforce. Increment of minimum salary for EP and S Pass was adjusted recently at the start of the year. Due to the impact of the global pandemic Covid-19 on global and domestic economic conditions, the government will monitor closely to assess if further updates are necessary.

While most of the business sectors have re-opened, some activities are still under restriction to tone down public interactions. Although some sectors have reduced their headcounts to ease the financial burden, others are facing shortages for skilled employees which essential for economic recovery and growth.

In line with the extension of Job Support Scheme, the government are determined to support businesses to retain or expand local employment and also to help local job-seekers to secure a job. Thus, MOM will update the Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass criteria to suit current situation.


Tighten Salary Requirements for Employment Pass.

All Employment Pass applicants must meet qualifications and salary criteria. From 1st September 2020, the minimum salary requirement for new EP application will be raised from S$3,900 to S$4,500. For EP renewal, the salary criteria will take effect after 1st May 2021. Besides, salary criteria will be raised correspondingly for senior and more experienced EP candidates.


Higher Salary Requirements in Financial Services sector


This is the first time that MOM set higher qualifying salaries for a specific sector. Over the years, the financial services sector offers higher salary package compare to other sectors. It has been attracting strong interest from local job-seekers with good qualifications.

Aside from the new salary criteria for EP, the minimum salary for new EP applicants under financial Services Sector will be further raised to S$5,000, starting from 1st December 2020. Similarly, the new salary criteria for renewal will come into effect from 1st May 2020. 


Increasing of S Pass qualifying salary.


To apply for a S Pass, the applicant has to meet qualification and salary criteria. On top of that, the employer has to meet quota requirements and incur levies.

From 1st October 2020, the new qualifying salary for S Pass will be raised from S$2,400 to S$2,500. As for the renewal of S Pass, this adjustment will take effect from 1st May 2021. And the salary must commensurate and revised accordingly for senior and more experienced S Pass candidates.

There will be no further changes to levies and quotas in this round of adjustments. The previously announced reductions in the S Pass sub-Dependency Ratio Ceiling (sub-DRC) for the Services, Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process sectors will proceed as planned.


Additional Considerations for EP and S Pass Applications


In assessing the EP and S Pass applications, MOM will take into account whether the employer has (i) kept up support of local PMETs in their employment and (ii) been responsive to government efforts to recruit and train more Singaporean PMETs. On the other hand, MOM also take into account whether the employer has discriminated against qualified Singaporeans. In these uncertain economic times, these considerations will be monitor closely now. Employers are reminded to play their part in building Singaporean workforce.


Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)


MOM take discrimination against local job applications seriously. Employers who does not practice fair hiring will have their work pass privileges remove and may also face prosecution. Employers are expected to take fair hiring seriously and give due consideration to local job applicants regardless of their age, gender and ethnicity.

As 1 of the conditions for EP application, employers are required to advertise the jobs on (MCF) to make these positions known to local job-seekers. Employers should also be fair in their selection process and properly document the reasons for choosing a candidate over others.


Additional steps for FCF.


  1. Extend the FCF Job Advertising Requirement to S Pass Applications

    The FCF job advertising requirement will be extended to S Pass applications submitted from 1 October 2020. This will promote greater awareness of vacancies in mid-skilled jobs among local job-seekers, and also require employers to make greater efforts to consider local candidates.

  2. Minimum FCF Job Advertising Duration for EP and S Pass Applications will be Doubled to 28 Days

    To give local job-seekers more time to respond to job openings and for employers to seriously evaluate their applications, the minimum FCF job advertising duration for EP and S Pass applications will be doubled from 14 days to 28 days. This change will be implemented for new EP and S Pass applications from 1 October 2020.

Maintain reasonable amount of EP and S Pass Employees


Although there are no quota requirements for EP application, employers are reminded that their PMET workforce profiles should not indicate a bias against locals. Company who shown a higher concentrate of EP and S Pass employees will be put on MOM watchlist. As such the work pass application will be subject to greater scrutiny.

MOM will engage an expanded group of employers to review their hiring practices, before they are placed on the Watchlist. This expanded group will include firms whose Singaporean core has been weakening or whose EP and S Pass workforce are overly concentrated from a single source. 




Setting up a business in Singapore are easy and straightforward. The pro-business environment attracts international businesses to grow, expand their presence in Singapore and create good job opportunities for our people. No doubt, the contributions of our foreign workforce is important for Singapore economic growth, striking a balance to prioritise local workforce will require collective effort from the government and employers.

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