How Singapore’s Employment Pass (EP) Requirements Have Changed Under COMPASS

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Singapore’s Employment Pass (EP) landscape has undergone a significant shift. The COMPASS framework introduces new requirements that employers and potential candidates must understand.

With a points-based system encompassing four foundational and two bonus criteria, navigating the new process requires careful attention. HC Consultancy can guide you with these changes and improve your chances of success.

If you’re seeking an Employment Pass or looking to hire foreign talent, let’s examine the COMPASS framework more closely.

What is COMPASS?

Launched on September 1st, 2023, the COMPASS two-stage framework is a points-based system that determines the eligibility of foreign professionals applying for employment in Singapore.

Its purpose is to enhance transparency in the labour market and ensure a fairer selection process.

Before we explore how COMPASS works, employers must still comply with the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) guidelines, which require them to consider all applicants fairly.

All applicants will be assessed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) based on both individual and business-related attributes. While all applicants must pass the Stage 2 COMPASS framework, it’s important to meet the Stage 1 requirement of earning at least the EP qualifying salary, which currently stands at S$5,500 for financial services and S$5,000 for all other sectors.

[Source: Ministry of Manpower – COMPASS Stage 2]

Updates to EP qualifying salary from 2025

As part of the COMPASS framework, the EP qualifying salary will be revised to ensure it remains competitive and attracts top talent.

This update will be effective from 1st January 2025 for new EP applications. For existing EP holders who need to renew their passes, the revised qualifying salary will apply from 1st January 2026.

COMPASS framework: Key facts you need to know

Let’s dive into the essential points to understand this new system.

1.   Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)

As an employer, you can check the eligibility of EP applicants using the enhanced Self-Assessment Tool (SAT), which provides insights on whether the candidate meets the salary requirements and offers a detailed breakdown of their potential COMPASS points.

2.   Workforce Insights Tool

The Workforce Insights Tool is your go-to resource for benchmarking your company’s diversity and support for local employment, which are essential factors under the COMPASS framework’s foundational criteria C3 and C4.

This tool allows you to gain valuable insights into your company’s performance compared to industry peers.

You can also explore median salaries and non-monetary benefits across various sectors, helping you make informed decisions about your hiring strategies and compensation packages.

3.   Exemptions from COMPASS

While the COMPASS framework applies to most EP applicants, candidates are exempt from COMPASS if they meet any of the following conditions:

  • Fixed monthly salary of at least S$22,500.
  • Apply as an overseas intra-corporate transferee under the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) or a relevant Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
  • Fill the role on a short-term basis of one month or less.

COMPASS framework: Your partner to EP in Singapore

While the COMPASS framework may introduce new complexities to the employment pass process, the principles of a successful application remain the same: showcasing unique skills, highlighting potential contributions, and navigating the process with expertise.

In the evolving landscape of employment pass applications, HC Consultancy is here to simplify the process and guide you towards success.

Contact us to discuss your EP needs and discover how our experience can make a difference for you.

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