Singapore changes S Pass qualifying salary and revises Fair Consideration Framework

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Effective July 1, 2018, companies seeking to hire foreign employees on Employment Passes for positions where fixed monthly salary is below SGD 15,000, must advertise the positions on the National Jobs Bank Portal for at least 14 days. This is true for companies of 10 or more full-time employees.
Under existing requirements, this is applicable to companies with 25 or more full-time employees for positions whereby the fixed monthly salary is below SGD 12,000.
The latest revision to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job advertising requirement is to ensure that the local workforce have access to more job opportunities. Their applications will continue to be fairly assessed by employers.

Revision to S Pass qualifying salary

To enhance the overall quality of Singapore’s foreign manpower, the minimum qualifying salary for S Pass will be increased to SGD 2,400. This will be done in two phases:
  • Phase 1 - Effective January 1, 2019, qualifying salary will be revised from SGD 2,200 to SGD 2,300. 
  • Phase 2 - Effective January 1, 2020, qualifying salary will be revised from SGD 2,300 to SGD 2,400.
Older and more experienced candidates will earn a higher salary.

Transitional measures for existing S Pass holders Phase 1 and 2

Existing S Pass holders whose passes expire: 
  • Before January 1, 2019: Will receive a one-time renewal of up to 2 years based on the existing S Pass criteria.
  • Between January 1 and June 30, 2019: Will receive a one-time renewal of up to one year only based on existing S Pass criteria.
  • On or after July 1, 2019: Must meet the new S Pass criteria. 
Phase 2 will occur in 2020 and operate under the same criteria as Phase 1.
The S Pass is a lower category of work pass and is generally intended for mid-skilled foreign employees (i.e technicians).


The FCF was introduced in 2014 as part of government’s efforts to address and strengthen the Singaporean workforce core. Its ultimate goal is to have a workforce of two-thirds local and one-third foreign. Additionally, the framework was introduced to ensure employers give fair consideration to the local workforce for all positions.
In November 2017, further measures were put in place as part of the FCF, requiring employers to provide additional information for all Employment Pass applications. Employers who have failed to provide fair consideration to the local workforce have been placed on a Watch List for unfair hiring practices. Their applications will be scrutinized until they adopt fair hiring practices.

Key considerations

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will continue to review and strengthen the FCF. Employers should expect longer processing times and higher scrutiny of all Employment Pass applications. Employers must also document and be able to easily access and furnish accurate information regarding recruitment channels and hiring practices. Also, they must provide a breakdown of candidates who applied, were shortlisted, interviewed and hired for a position. This is to ensure fair consideration and assessment is given to local candidates.
To avoid being placed on MOM’s Watch List, employers must ensure that the proportion of its local workforce remain significantly higher than its foreign workforce at all times.
This summary was prepared using information obtained from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower and Peregrine Immigration Management.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Debra Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager, APAC, or Mahadir Khan, Immigration Manager Singapore.