New era of immigration changes in Singapore - | Hudson McKenzie

New era of immigration changes in Singapore

On 27th August 2020, The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) enlisted a batch of notable new changes for Employment Pass and S Pass applicants. This encompasses a tremendous increment in both the minimum qualifying salary conditions for Employment Passes and S passes and the salary requirement for Employment Pass holders working specifically in the financial services industry. This list of changes also includes an additional advertising requirement for S Pass holders, subject to a scheduled extension next month, and amendments to the process of evaluating applications.

Employment Pass candidates

As of September, Employment Pass candidates will be subject to the following changes:

  • An increase in the minimum qualifying salary requirement to S $4,500 from S $600
  • An increase in the qualifying salaries of more knowledgeable, trained, and older candidates in their 40s
  • An increase in the qualifying salary criteria for those working specifically in the financial services sector

It is without a doubt that the salaries directly associated with the financial services sector are significantly higher than those in other fields. To facilitate the provision of sustained support for financial institutions and as a means of attracting the ‘crème de la crème’ who work in financial services into Singapore, this decision to increase the salary threshold will be further enlarged by S $500 in December 2020. Applicants also seeking to renew their passes will be subject to the new criteria from 1st May 2021.

The launch of these new amendments, not just in respect of financial services, is for the purposes of encouraging fairer hiring procedures and remain in keeping with the current economic climate and surrounding economic policies. Singapore still actively calls for foreign workers to work in Singapore and roots for its current foreign workforce as an effective means of attracting investors as well as keeping Singapore a central hub for foreign investment and international business transactions.

S Pass candidates

As a result of the current economic climate and conditions, there has been minimal growth of holders of Employment Passes and S Passes. To change this, S Pass applicants will be subjected to higher salary threshold requirements from October 2020, with the minimum qualifying salary being raised to S $2500.  In turn, renewed salary thresholds will apply to those who are in their 40s and have more specialist skills and experience. 

Furthermore, S Pass applications will be subject to job advertising requirements under the Fair Consideration Framework from October 2020. This means that employers must advertise vacancies to job seekers on for a certain time to allow individuals sufficient time to respond, apply and have their applications properly considered by employers. This specified time limit has been doubled to a period of 28 days to also deliberately exert pressure on employers to engage in fair, equal and non-discriminatory hiring procedures and give due consideration to job applicants.

Determination of applications

In addition to these recent amendments, MOM has gone one step further to ensure that employers actively carry out efficient and just hiring practices. When determining Employment Pass and S Pass applications, MOM will now consciously consider whether employers have more than adequately been training and been wanting to train local professionals, managers, technicians and executives in Singapore. Evidence failing to suggest that employers have notably contributed towards growing the Singaporean foreign workforce will mean that they will be placed on the watchlist.

To combat against unfair selection processes, discriminatory actions and procedures that do not actively support the expansion of the foreign work force in Singapore, companies and employers placed on this watchlist will be subject to much scrutiny when assessing applications.

Should you have any questions regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance with your corporate/private immigration matters, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.