The Ministry of Manpower today announced new rules that require employers to consider Singaporeans before hiring Employment Pass (EP) holders.
Acting Minister for Manpower, Tan Chuan-Jin stated “Providing better jobs and diverse opportunities to meet Singaporeans’ aspirations are the ultimate objectives of economic growth. Even as we remain open to foreign manpower to complement our local workforce, all firms must make an effort to consider Singaporeans fairly. ‘Hiring-own-kind’ and other discriminatory practices that unfairly exclude Singaporeans run against our fundamental values of fairness and meritocracy.”
Under the new rules, firms making new EP applications must advertise the job vacancy on a new jobs bank administered by the Singaporean Workforce Development Agency (WDA). The advertisement must be open to Singaporeans, comply with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and run for at least 14 calendar days.
These requirements must be met before an EP application is submitted to the Ministry of Manpower and the new rules will come into effect on 1 August 2014.
Small firms with 25 or fewer employees, and those jobs which pay a fixed monthly salary of $12,000 and above, will be exempt from the advertising requirements.
Acting Minister Tan added: “These changes are part of a broader effort to ensure that good jobs continue to be created for Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans we spoke to understand the need for a diverse workforce. They recognise the need to compete for jobs on the basis of merit. The framework is not about ‘hire Singaporeans first, or hire Singaporeans only’. What the Government is doing is to help them get a fair opportunity. Singaporeans must still prove themselves able and competitive so that Singaporeans can upgrade their skills and remain competitive in the workplace. With better skills and fair hiring practices, Singaporeans will have good jobs and fulfil their career aspirations.”
In addition, from January 2014, the qualifying salary for new EP (Q1) applications will be raised from $3,000 to $3,300, in line with rising salaries.