Singapore tightens rules for hiring foreign professionals

Singapore tightens rules for hiring foreign professionals

/ 05:55 PM March 04, 2024

Singapore tightens rules for hiring foreign professionals

A commuter pushes his bicycle past cars stopping at a traffic light during morning rush hour in Singapore June 16, 2017. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

SINGAPORE — Singapore will raise the salary criteria for foreign executives and professionals that companies can hire starting next year, the government announced on Monday.

From January next year, foreigners must earn S$5,600 ($4,170) or more a month – up from the current S$5,000 – to qualify for the so-called employment passes typically granted to high-paid professionals.


Those in the financial sector will have the qualifying salary hiked to S$6,200 from S$5,500.


READ: Singapore ranks 2nd globally for best talent, only Asian state in top 20

The manpower ministry said the move is meant to “ensure that EP (employment pass) holders are of high quality, and to maintain a level playing field for locals”.

The Southeast Asian financial hub has long been a popular location for foreign firms to base their regional headquarters, while foreign labor has been a thorny issue with the local population worried about competition for employment opportunities.

READ: Singapore to launch new work pass to attract global top talent; $30k monthly pay among criteria

As of June last year, Singapore had 197,300 foreigners on employment passes out of a total foreign workforce of about 1.5 million. The country has a population of 5.9 million.

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, the salary floor for hiring foreigners have been raised three times with the previous adjustment – from S$4,500 to S$5,000 – taking effect just in September last year.


($1 = 1.3426 Singapore dollars)

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TAGS: Employment, Singapore

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