May 24 2023

Singapore – Upcoming changes to Employment Pass eligibility

Singapore's allure derives not only from its promising business prospects but also from the wealth of talent it possesses. Ranked 2nd globally and 1st in the regional group in the esteemed Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)(*), the country boasts a highly educated and skilled workforce, in fact over 30 percent of Singapore's workforce possesses a university degree, while an additional 15 percent have earned a diploma or professional qualification(**).

In line with Singapore's commitment to attract the best and most competitive talent, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will update its foreign work policies and implement changes to the Employment Pass Eligibility framework (EP) to strengthen the quality of EP holders and their ability to complement the local workforce effectively.

MOM's forthcoming adjustments encompass two key aspects:

  • raising the qualifying salary for Employment Pass (EP) renewals
  • introducing a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for EP applications.

These changes apply progressively as per below table:

EP applications undergo evaluation based on four fundamental criteria, categorized into individual attributes and firm-related attributes. In terms of individual attributes, points are assigned based on salary relative to local PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) norms for the sector and qualifications. Likewise, points are allocated for the firm's attributes, encompassing diversity (contributing to national diversity within the organization) and support for local employment (compared to industry peers in terms of local PMET representation).

These criteria are scored as follows:

  • 20 points for exceeding expectations,
  • 10 points for meeting expectations,
  • 0 points for not meeting expectations.

To pass the COMPASS assessment, an application must achieve a total of 40 points while meeting the required expectations.

Should an application fall short, there are opportunities to earn additional points. This can be accomplished by exceeding expectations in other foundational criteria or by attaining bonus points through the Skills Bonus (applicable to candidates in roles with skills shortages) or the Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus (pertaining to partnerships with the government for ambitious innovation or internationalization initiatives).

Some exemption from COMPASS will apply to your candidate if any of the following conditions are met:

  • Earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $22,500, which aligns with the prevailing Fair Consideration Framework job advertising exemption starting from 1 September 2023.
  • Applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services or an applicable Free Trade Agreement that Singapore is party to.
  • Occupying a short-term role lasting one month or less.


(*)the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2022 is a report that provides a comprehensive annual benchmarking which measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent, Singapore ranks second overall and first in the regional group (i.e. Eastern, Southeastern Asia and Oceania).

(**)Economic Development Board: Business, Innovation & Talent | Singapore EDB