The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has introduced two significant updates pertaining to the bonus criteria within the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). Here are the details of these updates:
Skills Bonus: Shortage Occupation List (SOL)
A recent publication of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) has identified 27 occupations in Singapore facing a talent shortage. Under this criterion, Employment Pass (EP) applicants will receive bonus points contributing to their overall Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) score for EP applications.
The SOL was meticulously curated by MOM, in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, sector agencies, and tripartite partners. The selection of occupations for the SOL was based on several factors:
– The strategic significance of these roles in alignment with Singapore’s economic priorities.
– The extent and nature of labor shortages within each occupation.
– The sector’s commitment to nurturing local talent pipelines to address these shortages over the medium term.
The SOL spans across six industries, including agritech, financial services, green economy, healthcare, infocomm technology (IT), and maritime. The list of occupations encompassed by the SOL comprises:
– Alternative protein food application scientist.
– Novel foods biotechnologist.
– Financial/investment adviser (ultra-high/high net worth, family office, and philanthropy).
– Carbon project/programme manager.
– Carbon standards and methodology analyst.
– Carbon trader.
– Carbon verification and audit specialist.
– Clinical psychologist.
– Diagnostic radiographer.
– Occupational therapist.
– Registered nurse.
– Artificial intelligence scientist/engineer.
– Applications/systems programmer.
– Cloud specialist.
– Cyber risk specialist.
– Cybersecurity architect.
– Cybersecurity operations specialist.
– Data scientist.
– Digital forensics specialist.
– Penetration testing specialist.
– Product manager (digital).
– Software and applications manager (technical lead/supervisor).
– Software developer.
– Web and mobile applications developer.
– Marine superintendent.
– Marine technical superintendent.
The SOL is subject to periodic updates, with occupations potentially added or removed annually to ensure Singapore’s adaptability to market conditions. To prevent entrenching dependencies, the list is reset every three years, and any modifications are announced annually in March.
EP applicants qualifying under the SOL are entitled to 20 bonus points. However, if one-third or more of the workforce within their hiring firm shares the same nationality, they will receive half of the bonus points (10 points). This provision is designed to uphold diversity within organizations.
EP applicants relying on SOL bonus points to reach the 40 points required to pass COMPASS will undergo verification checks of their experience and qualifications. They will also require a reevaluation of their work passes before being redeployed to another job role.
Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus (SEP Bonus)
The SEP Bonus serves as a bonus criterion for firms under the COMPASS framework and can award up to 10 points for applicants seeking employment with firms recognized as significant economic contributors.
To qualify for the SEP Bonus, firms must participate in one of the eligible programs and demonstrate a commitment to the development of the local workforce or ecosystem. These programs are administered by various entities, including the Economic Development Board, Enterprise Singapore, the Maritime and Port Authority, the Singapore Tourism Board, and the National Trades Union Congress.
The awarding of the SEP Bonus is at the discretion of the supporting agencies responsible for the relevant programs. Firms receiving the SEP Bonus will be notified by MOM by the end of July 2023.
How Employers Can Prepare for These Employment Pass Changes
Employers should proactively address these changes by focusing on several key areas:
1. Salary Review: Employers should closely examine the salary levels of employees on Employment Passes, particularly those up for renewal in 2023, to ensure they align with the new criteria.
2. Hiring Strategies: Employers should review their current hiring strategies to strike a balance between maintaining a strong Singaporean workforce while fostering a diverse and qualified foreign workforce. This approach aligns with the overarching goal of complementing the local workforce effectively.
Staying well-informed about these updates and their implications is essential for businesses in Singapore as they navigate the evolving landscape of work passes and foreign employment regulations.