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Strengthening Singapore's Position as a Global Hub for Talent

1. The Ministry of Manpower, together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Communications and Information, have announced enhancements to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global hub for talent. 

2. In his remarks at the press conference today, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng reiterated that staying open and connected to the world is fundamental to Singapore's success as a global city and business hub. 

3. Given the intensifying competition for talent, the Ministry of Manpower will make four enhancements to Singapore's work pass framework to better attract top talent, and experienced tech professionals in areas of skills shortages (please refer to factsheet for more details):

a. We will introduce a new Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass, named to reflect the qualities the Pass holders will bring to Singapore. It is meant for top talent across all sectors. There will be a few routes to apply for it. Applicants will need to earn a fixed monthly salary of $30,000 and above, comparable to the top 5% of Employment Pass (EP) holders. Individuals with outstanding achievements across the arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and research and academia, can also qualify even if they may not meet the salary criterion. The Pass will be a personalised, 5-year work pass that allows holders to concurrently start, operate, and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time. Their spouses will be able to work on a Letter of Consent. The Pass holders will not be subject to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job advertising requirement and the upcoming Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). Pass holders will be asked to notify MOM annually of their professional activities, to ensure that they utilise the flexibilities accorded to contribute meaningfully. The Pass will be open for applications from 1 Jan 2023.
b. We will introduce a new benchmark pegged to the top 10% of EP holders. EP applicants of this quality will continue to be exempted from the FCF job advertising requirement and the upcoming COMPASS. They will also continue to be eligible for the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). This benchmark will provide greater clarity and transparency on MOM’s work pass framework for talent. To align to this single benchmark, the exemption bar for the FCF job advertising requirement and COMPASS will be raised from $20,000 to $22,500. The salary criterion for the PEP will also be raised to $22,500. These changes will be implemented from 1 Sep 2023. Going forward, we will review these thresholds annually against the benchmark, taking into account prevailing economic conditions.

c. For all EP applications, we will enable companies to be more responsive to business needs.
i. We will restore the FCF job advertising duration to 14 days with effect from 1 Sep 2022. The FCF job advertising duration was increased to 28 days in Oct 2020 amidst a weak job market to give jobseekers more time to respond to job openings. The labour market has since recovered strongly, and we are making this adjustment in view of the tight labour market.
ii. We will improve processing time for all EP applications. Today, 85% of online EP applications are processed within 3 weeks. With recent technological upgrades to MOM’s work pass systems, EP applications will be processed, or an update will be given to employers within 10 business days. This will be implemented with immediate effect.

d. We will offer the option of a 5-year EP to experienced professionals filling specific tech occupations on the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List. Compared to the typical pass duration of 2 to 3 years, a longer pass duration will give greater certainty to experienced tech professionals as well as businesses in their workforce planning, and allow Singapore to anchor tech capabilities while we develop our local pipeline. 

4. At the same time, Singapore will continue to build our local leadership pipeline, by supporting local talent to acquire global and regional experience. We already do so today through programmes like the International Posting Programme (iPOST) that funds overseas postings for Singaporeans in the financial sector, the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative that supports companies across sectors to develop local leaders, and the Global Ready Talent Programme that supports overseas internships.

5. We must keep doing more to grow our local talent pool. Under the Forward Singapore exercise, the Empower Pillar on Economy and Jobs will be consulting workers and businesses on how Government can encourage even more locals to take on regional and global opportunities, including how we can reduce barriers that deter locals from taking up overseas stints. This will complement the new Singapore Global Executive Programme that was announced at Budget this year. More details will be released in due course.

6. These changes underscore Singapore’s commitment to remain open to the world. By building a deep local talent pool, and welcoming talent from around the world, we can be a vibrant global city, and create a society of opportunities for Singaporeans now, and in the years to come.