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Written Answer by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower, to Parliamentary Question on Employment Pass Applications Submitted Immediately After 14-Day Mandatory Advertisement Period in Jobs Bank

Notice Paper No. 244 Of 2015 For The Sitting On 17 Aug 2015 Question No. 744 For Oral Answer

MP: Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song

To ask the Minister for Manpower what is the number and percentage of Employment Pass (EP) applications since the launch of the Jobs Bank that have been submitted within one week of the end of the minimum 14-day mandatory advertisement period. 


  1. Under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) introduced on 1st August 2014, employers are required to advertise their job vacancies on the Jobs Bank for at least 14 days before they can submit applications for Employment Passes. Based on a weekly average, there are about 68,000 job vacancies posted on the Jobs Bank since it was launched in July 2014. 74% of these job vacancies, or about 50,000 jobs, are at the level of professionals, managers, executives, technicians and associate professionals (PMET). On average, 800 EP applications were received per week following their job advertisement. Out of which, about one-third were submitted within one week of the end of the 14-day mandatory advertising period.
  2. As mentioned in the July sitting of this House, MOM has taken action to scrutinise more closely applications for EPs from these firms which are “double-weak” - weak in Singaporean core; and weak in commitment to fair consideration for Singaporeans, such as firms which repeatedly submit EP applications soon after the end of the minimum 14-day advertising period.
  3. As updated by my Ministry last week, we have engaged 150 firms over the past year and placed 38 of them on MOM’s Watchlist. About 100 more firms have also been identified for further assessment. They are the outliers in their respective industries such as Admin & Support, Construction, Infocomm, Finance & Insurance, Professional Services, Transportation & Storage and Wholesale Trade. 
  4. Firms placed on the Watchlist are subject to closer monitoring and scrutiny. These firms will be encouraged and guided to avenues and assistance available to help them strengthen their Singaporean core, including help to train and equip Singaporeans with the skills and expertise to progress in their careers. Firms which are unresponsive or uncooperative can expect to have their work pass privileges curtailed. 
  5. To reiterate, FCF is part of a broader effort to improve employment outcomes of Singaporean PMEs, which have remained healthy. Singaporean PME unemployment remains low at 2.7% in 2014, and their real median wages grew at 3.8% per annum in the last five years. We are committed to further strengthening employment support for our Singaporean PMEs, and strive for a stronger Singaporean core in every major sector of the economy.