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Written Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to PQ on industry that employs the most number of EP and S Pass holders




MP: Mr Gan Thiam Poh


To ask the Minister for Manpower which (a) is the industry or service sector that currently employs the most number of employment pass holders and S Pass holders respectively; (b) what is their respective ratio of employment pass and S Pass holders against (i) Singaporean employees and (ii) Singaporean employees of equivalent education and experience; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider implementing a quota by nationality of source to avoid high concentration of employment pass and S Pass holders.


  1. S Pass holders in the Services sector are already subject to quotas capped at 15% of the firm’s total workforce (excluding Employment Pass, or EP, holders). This will be reduced to 13% from 1 Jan 2020, and to 10% from 1 Jan 2021. Within the Services sector, Food Services has the highest utilisation of S Pass quota. S Pass holders also have to meet minimum qualifying salaries, which are regularly reviewed to reflect local salary changes. This is to ensure locals are not disadvantaged when their wages go up. We updated the S Pass salary criteria in 2019, with a further increase in S Pass qualifying salary to be made in 2020.


  2. While we do not subject firms to quotas on the number of EPs they may hire, we require them to consider all applicants fairly. Under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), we scrutinise the EP applications of firms suspected to have discriminatory hiring practices, including firms with very high single-nationality concentrations. Those found to have such practices will have their work pass privileges curtailed. Like S Pass holders, EP holders are subject to minimum qualifying salaries, which were updated in 2017.

  3. Locals hold the majority of jobs paying above $3,600 (minimum qualifying salary for EPs). In most other sectors, the EP shares are around or below one-quarter with the exception of Infocomm in the Services sector where the share of EPs is about one-third. These ratios may fluctuate but have not trended up in the last few years.

  4. Local employment outcomes – employment rates, unemployment rates, wage growth – have remained healthy.  We continue to help local jobseekers expand opportunities for career mobility through a range of programmes.