Salary requirements for EP keep changing, and it’s affecting the foreign talent market.

The Singapore government’s bid to ensure companies retain and nurture Singaporean workers enters into its third year. As a result, local talent is increasing but it has a reverse effect on foreign talent, which is facing a squeeze.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say, in a dinner, highlighted this manpower crunch.

He noted that from 2011 to 2013, the overall growth of Employment Pass and S-Pass holders has surpassed the local growth of PMETs, namely Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians.

This trend has taken a turn since 2014. In the three years that followed, the overall growth of Employment Pass and S-Pass holders grew by 17,000. It makes up one-sixth of the local growth of PMETs – some 100,500 to be exact.

What about S-Pass holders? Overseas PMET increased by 30,600 people. Which also means that it takes up a quarter of the overall growth of PMET employment rate, which stands at 141,000. That also means the other three quarters are locals.

This is a fair and appropriate situation, and will likely stay in place for the years to come.

The Ministry of Manpower has already tweaked the minimum salary for Employment Pass and S-Pass holders three times in the past five years. This is to stay in line with the yearly recommended pay raise, ensuring that the quality of the workforce stays intact. It also maintains fair competition with the overall quality of the foreign talent.

As of 2017, the minimum salary for foreigners applying for Employment pass will be set at $3600, an increase of $300.

Mr Lim added that about 300 companies are currently on the watchlist which unfairly favour foreigners in their hiring practices under the Fair Consideration Framework.

This subjects their EP applications to closer scrutiny, while the applications of companies which are fair are processed normally, he summarized.

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