Immigration weekly update: March 19, 2020

Singapore: New measures for fair hiring

In lieu of recent measures to tighten regulations and eligibility requirements for the hiring of foreign nationals, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced upcoming changes to the minimum qualifying salary for Employment Passes (EP) and implementation of Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) rules. These changes will take effect in May 2020.


Employment Pass changes:

  • The minimum fixed monthly qualifying salary is US$ 3,900. Other criteria such as educational qualifications and work experience will still be required.
  • Graduates from accredited institutions, with no work experience, can still qualify if they meet the minimum salary requirements.
  • Older applicants are required to earn a higher salary to commensurate with the overall work experience they are expected to possess. Applicants with proven track records and exceptional skill sets without qualifications will still be considered.

MOM will phase in the new requirements over the next year to give companies and affected EP holders time to make the necessary adjustments. The new criteria will only apply to renewal applications submitted after May 1, 2021. At the point of renewal, if existing EP holders cannot meet the salary requirements, they may apply for an S Pass of lower pass category.

Existing EP holders who change employers and apply for a new EP after May 2020, will have their applications considered under the new criteria. Holders with tagged dependent passes in Singapore will also retain these privileges providing their passes remain valid and there is no change to employers.


FCF rules:

Companies must advertise a job vacancy on the National Jobs Bank portal, for positions with a fixed monthly salary less than SGD 20,000. The advertisement must be open to Singaporean candidates, in line with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and remain posted for at least 14 calendar days.

The above requirements must be met before a foreign hire can submit an EP application to MOM (upon careful consideration that no Singaporean candidate is qualified or suitable for the position advertised).

Companies that have smaller Singaporean workforces at Professional, Managerial and Executive level, or have received recurrent complaints of nationality-based or other biased HR practices will be subject to greater scrutiny and additional requirements. If improvements are not made to recruitment and hiring practices, work pass privileges may be curtailed.

Exceptions include:

  • Companies with 25 or fewer employees do not have to advertise their job vacancies on the jobs bank.
  • Advertisements are also not required for positions that pay a fixed monthly salary of US$ 20,000 or more.

This summary was prepare using information obtained from the Ministry of Manpower and

Disclaimer: this 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 Jane Beynon, Regional Immigration Manager (APAC).


Coronavirus updates:

Kazakhstan:  The President of Kazakhstan announces one-month state of emergency as well as temporary ban on entry and visa issuance. More info at: National Post

Russia: New measures issued for foreigners arriving in Moscow from infected areas. More info at: (in Russian)

Singapore: Visitors with recent travel history (last 14 days) to France, Germany, Italy and Spain are not allowed to enter or transit through Singapore. More info at: Ministry of Health

Thailand: The government suspends Visa on Arrival (VoA) to visitors from 19 countries including Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Vanuatu and cancels visa-free entry for  Italians and South Koreans. More info at: The Nation Thailand


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