Details of Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) Bonus Criteria
1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has released details on the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) bonus criteria, comprising the Skills Bonus (Criterion 5) and the Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus (Criterion 6). These bonus criteria allow Employment Pass (EP) applicants who possess skills in shortage, and firms that contribute to Singapore’s strategic economic priorities, to earn bonus points towards their total COMPASS score. These bonus points help companies secure the complementary foreign manpower necessary to seize economic opportunities in the immediate term, in recognition that there are limits to our local workforce.
2. Announced at MOM’s Committee of Supply 2022, COMPASS is a new points-based framework that considers both individual and firm-related attributes to holistically evaluate an EP applicant’s complementarity to Singapore's workforce. COMPASS provides firms with clarity and predictability for manpower planning, and recognises efforts to develop a strong local pipeline and a diverse foreign workforce.
3. COMPASS will apply to new EP applications from 1 September 2023, and to renewal EP applications from 1 September 2024. An overview of COMPASS is in Annex A.
Skills Bonus (Criterion 5)
4. As Singapore moves to capture new economic opportunities, firms will require access to skilled talent to fill these jobs. The Government works closely with education and training institutes as well as tripartite partners to create a local pipeline by training our local graduates and reskilling mid-career workers for these good jobs. However, given our limited local workforce and worldwide competition for talent, the demand for skilled roles will also need to be met by complementary foreign manpower.
5. This is why the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) recognises EP applicants in occupations that require highly specialised skills currently in shortage in the local workforce. EP applicants filling an occupation on the SOL can earn up to 20 bonus points on COMPASS1. This gives firms greater certainty when it comes to hiring.
6. The SOL is developed by MOM and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) through a robust evaluation process, in consultation with sector agencies and tripartite partners. SOL occupations must exhibit strategic importance to Singapore’s economic priorities plus a significant degree of labour shortage due to skills gaps.
7. In addition, one key consideration when placing an occupation on the SOL is a strong commitment by the sector agency to work with industry to develop the local pipeline to address these shortages over time. Such efforts include working with our Institutes of Higher Learning to equip graduates with the necessary skills for the job, as well as instituting programmes to upskill and reskill locals who are already in the sector or in adjacent roles.
8. The inaugural SOL is listed in Annex B. The SOL will be reviewed every three years, but MOM will retain the flexibility to add or remove occupations annually if required by market conditions.
Verification checks and conditions for SOL candidates
9. For EP applicants who require the SOL bonus points to pass COMPASS, MOM will impose additional safeguards. First, MOM will conduct additional checks on the applicants, such as checking on their past work experience and whether the applicant has the qualifications, or industry accreditation that are relevant to the declared occupation. Second, such applicants, if approved, will have their employment restricted to the specific shortage occupation. This means that if their employer wishes to redeploy the EP holder to a different job role, the EP holder will be subject to a reassessment of their eligibility for an EP.
Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus (Criterion 6)
10. Singapore seeks to anchor and grow firms that can contribute to the innovative capacity of our economy, enhance our global linkages, and strengthen our economic competitiveness. This creates good jobs for locals.
11. The Strategic Economic Priorities (SEP) Bonus thus recognises firms undertaking ambitious investment, innovation, internationalisation, or company and workforce transformation activities. Firms receiving the SEP bonus will be awarded 10 bonus points on COMPASS for each EP application submitted.
12. To qualify for the SEP Bonus, firms must be supported by sector agencies or the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). To be considered, firms must participate in one of the eligible programmes run by agencies listed in Annex C, and demonstrate commitment to developing the local workforce. Supported firms will be notified by MOM from end-July 2023.
13. Supported firms will receive the SEP Bonus for up to three years. To continue receiving the SEP bonus after three years, firms are required to meet expectations on the COMPASS firm-related criteria, Diversity (Criterion 3) and Support for Local Employment (Criterion 4).
COMPASS resources on MOM’s Website
14.MOM’s website is regularly updated with the latest information on COMPASS. Firms can also access the Workforce Insights tool on MyMOM Portal to understand their performance on the firm-related criteria of COMPASS and benchmark their performance against industry peers.
15. We encourage firms to make use of the published information and available resources to plan for the transition to COMPASS when it takes effect for new EP applications from 1 September 2023.