The Fair Consideration Framework reached its third anniversary in August 2017, as Singapore’s evolving immigration policies continue to impact on businesses through increased scrutiny of foreign manpower profiles, Employment Pass applications and hiring practices.
The Framework was introduced in 2014 as part of the Government’s overall strategy to promote fair employment practices and to strengthen the Singaporean core in the local workforce. Since then the practical measures designed to facilitate this have been increasingly felt by companies and individual foreigners. The Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) continues to emphasise that a quota for Employment Passes is not on the agenda and instead that foreign workforce growth must be moderated to ensure it functions as an enhancement to the local workforce in a sustainable manner. In essence, the measures aim to maintain the delicate equilibrium between protecting and nurturing the local workforce while also capitalising on available foreign talent to enable the longer term growth and expansion of the Singapore economy. Development of the local workforce is key, as unemployment rose slightly in 2016 with net growth in local employment still slow compared to levels seen in previous years. An employer’s interpretation of the spirit of the Framework is therefore crucial in its active demonstration of commitment to these policies.