Selection of Background Screening Companies to verify educational qualifications in EP applications
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is calling for proposals from background screening companies to verify educational qualifications declared in new Employment Pass (EP) applications from 1 September 2023. This is part of a broader suite of measures to enhance MOM’s work pass framework, together with the rollout of the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).
Requirement to Verify Educational Qualifications for all EP Applications
2 As announced in March 2023, MOM will require employers to verify educational qualifications submitted to MOM in support of an EP application. Employers are already responsible for ensuring the authenticity and quality of the educational qualifications of the candidates they wish to hire. Today, MOM requires verification proof for applications that declare qualifications from institutions not found in MOM’s database of accredited institutions, but are recognised by the countries’ local government authorities. To ensure that the qualifications declared are authentic, MOM is expanding this requirement to all EP applications where qualifications are declared to earn points under COMPASS.
3 From 1 September 2023, employers submitting new EP applications will need to verify their candidates’ diploma-level and above qualifications. The verification can be done through selected background screening companies, which will be listed on MOM’s website. Alternatively, MOM will also accept verification proof obtained from online portals of countries’ governments or educational institutions. These alternatives are listed on MOM’s website. MOM is studying the feasibility of other avenues of verification such as digital certificates.
4 The verification requirement for renewal of existing EPs will be implemented from 1 September 2024.
Evaluation Criteria and Industry Panel
5 Interested companies must be able to provide both authenticity checks on educational qualifications and accreditation checks on educational institutions. They must have at least three years of experience in providing these services in Singapore and globally, and demonstrate that there are processes to ensure quality qualification verification standards in place.
6 A panel comprising tripartite partners, business and HR associations will evaluate companies’ proposals based on factors such as cost and quality of services, time taken to verify qualifications, as well as scale of operations and ability to verify qualifications in various countries. More details on the selected companies and implementation process will be shared in due course.
7 Mr Sim Gim Guan, Executive Director, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), said: “There are already employers who conduct verifications before hiring to ensure the authenticity of the education qualifications of potential employees, especially if the educational qualification is a factor in the hiring decision. However, there will be employers that are not familiar with the process associated with this new requirement. Hence, SNEF will work with MOM to help ensure a smooth implementation of this new requirement. SNEF expects that the fees will be kept affordable due to economies of scale, with more employers using such services.”
8 Mr Aslam Sardar, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP), said: “As the standards bearer for the HR Profession, IHRP is pleased to participate as an EOI panellist. The call for proposals from background screening companies will help companies access cost competitive services from a list of reliable companies pre-qualified by MOM. This helps facilitate a more timely verification process and ensure that foreign professionals approved through COMPASS have authenticated educational qualifications.”
9 Further details on the submission details from interested companies can be found on the GeBIZ website. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 10 May 2023, 4.00pm (Singapore time).