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12 Background Screening Companies Selected to Verify Educational Qualifications in Employment Pass Applications

A panel comprising representatives from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), tripartite partners, and business and HR associations, has selected 12 background screening companies to provide services for employers to verify educational qualifications, in support of new Employment Pass (EP) applications from 1 September 2023.

2 Today, employers submitting EP applications are already responsible to ensure the authenticity of the educational qualifications of the candidates they wish to hire.  As announced in March 2023, employers submitting new EP applications where qualifications are declared to earn points under the Complementarity Assessment (COMPASS) Framework must provide verification proof for diploma-level and above qualifications from 1 September 2023. Verification proof can be obtained through any of the following methods listed on MOM’s website:

3 The verification requirement for renewal of existing EPs who were not previously assessed under COMPASS will be implemented from 1 September 2024. Subsequent renewals of EPs assessed under COMPASS will not require verification of qualifications.

Selected Background Screening Companies

4 In April 2023, MOM convened a panel to evaluate proposals from background screening companies. The proposals were evaluated based on criteria such as scale of operations and geographical coverage, cost and time taken to verify qualifications, processes in place to ensure quality of verifications and confidentiality of client information, as well as strong customer support capabilities.

5 The 12 selected companies operate worldwide, covering countries including Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, the United States and the United Kingdom. They have a strong track record in providing authenticity checks on educational qualifications and accreditation checks on educational institutions. They also demonstrated that they have robust systems and processes to ensure that quality verification checks and service standards are met. These include dedicated quality assurance teams, regular internal audits, and robust vendor management policies for partner verification companies.

6 The 12 selected companies offer a competitive range of fees and processing times, depending on the country that the qualification is obtained from. Fees generally range from $30 to $60 per verification check. Most verification checks can be completed within 1 to 2 weeks. Employers can refer to the selected companies’ websites for further details.

7 The list of companies will be regularly reviewed to ensure that these companies continue to meet MOM’s requirements in terms of quality and service standards. 

Implementation Details and Support for Employers

8 Employers are only required to verify each candidate’s qualifications once, when submitting the EP application. They are not required to submit further verification proof for the candidate’s subsequent EP renewals. MOM will also accept verification proof that has been obtained from the selected background screening companies before 1 September 2023.

9 Employers should plan early and factor in the time required for checks into their hiring timeline. To support employers with their workforce planning and hiring, MOM is also developing a COMPASS guide to help employers navigate the EP application process. The guidebook will provide tips on what to look out for and how to plan for the submission of an EP application. Today, employers can access the enhanced Workforce Insights tool on myMOM portal to determine their firm’s scores on COMPASS Criterion 3 on “Diversity” and Criterion 4 on “Support for local employment”. We encourage employers to use the Workforce Insights tool early to prepare for a smooth transition once COMPASS is implemented.

10 Mr Sim Gim Guan, Executive Director, Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF), said: “SNEF noted that the cost of and processing time for verification services were taken into account in selecting the background screening companies. This will ensure that the verification requirement would not substantially increase employers’ recruitment costs nor delay their hiring. SNEF will work with MOM to brief our members and employers to help them familiarise themselves with the new process when making EP applications.”

11 Mr Aslam Sardar, Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP), said: “We are excited to be partnering closely with MOM to enable a smooth implementation of the requirement for employers, especially in preparing the HR community for the COMPASS implementation. We believe that with the thoughtful and diligent evaluation criteria, companies can be assured that the MOM-selected companies do offer cost competitive services and reasonable processing times, which will minimise adjustments for employers.”