Higher Salary Qualification for Work Pass Application
Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong announced in Parliament that from 1 July 2011, a tighter criteria will be implement for the issuance of Work-Passes for foreigners to work in Singapore.
Foreign professionals and skilled workers will have to meet a higher qualifying salary in order to be granted the Work-Passes. The Ministry explained that this revision, which is the first since 2001, is prompted by the improving profile of the local workforce, and to encourage the hiring of more qualified foreigners.
Work-Pass holders who are in professional, managerial and specialists positions, are catagorised into 3 groups: P1, P2 and Q1. The new qualifying salaries for P1 will be $8000 (up from $7000), P2 will be $4000 (up from $3500), and Q1 will be $2800 (up from $2500). The qualifying salary for S-Pass, meant for mid-level skilled workers such as technicians and retail executives, will be $2000 (up from $1800). The number of Work-Pass holders jumped by more than 20% between 2010 (142,000) and 2009 (115,000). Likewise, the number of S-Pass holders rose from 82,000 to 98,000. Employers of existing Work-Pass and S-Pass holders will be given a one-time renewal of up to 2 years before they are required to mee the new criteria.
In addition, the government will also set a new salary threshold for local workers doing part-time, for the purpose of foreign worker allocation. The threshold would be increased from $650 to $850 from 1 July, to discourage employers from hiring local workers on token salaries just to meet the quota requirement for foreign worker employment.
Mr Gan pointed that although the tighter criteria on work-pass application has "tilted the balance in favour of local PMETs (local professionals, managers, executives and technicians)", he stressed that foreign talent continues to be critical for Singapore's growth. He further emphasised that we should not close our doors on foreigners, "otherwise we will lose our attractivesness as an investment destination and we will not be able to create good jobs for the locals."