Singapore Tightens Employment Rules For Foreigners

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Sept. 23 – The Singapore government today announced rules that will require companies operating in the country to consider Singaporeans for skilled job vacancies before turning to candidates from abroad.

Commencing August 2014, firms with more than 25 employees must advertise a vacancy for professional or managerial jobs paying less than S$12,000 (US$9,605) a month on a new jobs bank website administered by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency for at least 14 days. Only after that period can the company apply for an employment pass to bring in a foreign national.

The city-state will also raise the qualifying salaries for employment pass holders to at least S$3,300 (US$2,641) a month, up from the current S$3,000, starting in January 2014.

“Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly,” said acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin, also adding that “Singaporeans must still prove themselves able and competitive to take on the higher jobs that they aspire to.”

The Ministry of Manpower said it will also scrutinize companies that “have a disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans” in professional or management positions compared with others in the industry.

“This merely clarifies the administration process for the recruitment of foreign talent, the restrictions have been in effective place for some time,” comments Chris Devonshire-Ellis, Managing Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates based in Singapore. “Singapore will continue to attract skilled talent from overseas and these regulations are unlikely to impact upon the need for the country to import skilled employees.”