MOM to refine workpass application process for EP

April 11, 201610:27 am452 views

The strengthening of the global competitiveness of the Singapore workforce is one of the key things that Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say announced in Parliament on Friday (Apr 8) as part of the Committee of Supply debate.

To this end, MOM will place “Triple Weak” firms – those with a weak Singaporean core, a weak commitment to develop locals, and a weak economic link or social impact with the country – under closer scrutiny, Mr Lim said.

And while foreigners only account for 21 per cent of jobs within the Employment Pass (EP) range – salaries of S$3,300 and above – the ministry will be working to fight the perception that Singaporeans are a minority in their own country, said Mr Lim.

Calling the situation pockets of “EP concentration”, the minister said that the ministry will refine the processing of workpass applications for EPs. While current processing only assesses “individual related” critera – such as the qualification, experience and salary of the applicant, “company related” factors will be looked at in future:

  1. How strong the Singaporean core is in the company
  2. Whether firms with a weak Singaporean core have a commitment to nurture and strengthen the core in future
  3. And how relevant these companies are to Singapore’s economy and society

The assessments will be carried out by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP), and “Triple Weak” companies will be added to a “watchlist”. TAFEP has already served notice on 100 companies, said Mr Lim.


For companies who do not pass the review held six months later, their workpass privileges can be suspended, while the renewals of existing EPs and processing of new applications will be affected.

Mr Lim also noted that having foreign manpower as part of Singapore’s workforce has been positive for the country, not because Singaporeans are unable or not good enough, but because Singapore does not have enough in terms of numbers, readiness and diversity of capability to be competitive globally.

The real competition is global, and not local, he added.


MOM will also introduce more support for “Triple Strong” companies, especially those in sectors critical to Singapore’s future growth, said Mr Lim. This includes firms related to the Smart Nation programme, advanced manufacturing and future services.

The support includes the new Human Capital Partnership (HCP), which aims to nurture promising local talents into regional even global talents.

MOM also said that it will introduce more support for the management of employment disputes. This will come under the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) and the Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT).

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