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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Checks on Educational Credentials of S Pass and Employment Pass Applicants

Notice Paper No. 125 Of 2015 For The Sitting On 11 May 15
Question No. 587 For Oral Answer

NMP: Gerald Giam Yean Song

To ask the Minister for Manpower when processing S pass and Employment Pass applications (a) what checks does the Ministry conduct to determine if (i) the academic qualifications and work experience stated in the applications are true and correct and (ii) the academic qualifications are obtained from accredited institutions; and (b) since 2012, what percentage of S pass and Employment Pass applications have been subject to these checks.


  1. Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass applicants are required to declare their qualifications and working experience in their applications. MOM assesses each application based on a combination of factors including qualifications, working experience and salary. Even though academic qualifications are not the sole determining factor for the granting of an EP or S Pass, it is certainly an important part of the assessment. 
  2. Employers have a primary responsibility to ensure the authenticity and quality of the academic qualifications of the foreigners they wish to hire. As an additional safeguard, MOM conducts additional checks and verifications for applications submitted by a majority of the employers. 
  3. To detect forged qualifications, MOM conducts internal database checks, as well as external checks through third-party screening agencies, direct verifications with the issuing institutions, and by requiring the employer to show proof that they have verified that the submitted qualifications are genuine. 
  4. Those who are found to have submitted forged documents or false particulars in a deliberate attempt to mislead the Ministry are dealt with firmly. They may be fined up to $20,000, and /or imprisoned for up to two years. They will also be barred from working in Singapore.
  5. As for qualifications obtained from an unaccredited institution that does not ensure that its students are properly qualified (commonly known as qualifications from “degree mills”), MOM conducts 100% checks and disregards these qualifications completely. They will have to meet more stringent criteria in terms of experience and salary in order to qualify for the EP or S Pass.