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Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

In addition to meeting the qualifying salary, EP candidates must pass a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) from 1 September 2023.

COMPASS enables employers to select high-quality foreign professionals, while improving workforce diversity and building a strong Singaporean core. It is a transparent system that gives businesses greater clarity and certainty for manpower planning.

COMPASS will apply to:

  • New applications from 1 September 2023
  • Renewals from 1 September 2024

More details on the COMPASS criteria and assessment tools will be progressively released to help businesses prepare for the rollout.

How COMPASS works


Summary table for COMPASS

COMPASS evaluates EP applications based on a holistic set of individual and firm-related attributes.

Your application is scored on four foundational criteria. Applications earn points if they meet or exceed expectations.

Points for each foundational criterion Assessment
20 Exceeds expectations
10 Meets expectations
0 Does not meet expectations

Your application can also earn additional points on bonus criteria if it meets the relevant qualifying conditions. These criteria recognise applications that bring in skills in shortage and support strategic economic priorities, thus creating good jobs for Singaporeans.

40 points are required to pass COMPASS:

  • Applications that meet expectations (earn 10 points) on all 4 foundational criteria will pass (Example A-1 and Example A-2).
  • Otherwise, applications can make up the required points by exceeding expectations on another criterion (Example B) or by scoring bonus points (Example C).

COMPASS scoring

The table below summarises how points are earned.

Passing score: 40 points

Foundational criteria Points
C1. Salary (Individual)
Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age
  • ≥ 90th percentile
20
  • 65th to 90th percentile
10
  • < 65th percentile
0
C2. Qualification (Individual)
Based on candidate's qualifications
  • Top-tier institution
20
  • Degree-equivalent qualification
10
  • No degree-equivalent qualification
0
C3. Diversity (Firm-related)
Share of candidate's nationality among firm’s PMETs.*
  • < 5%
20
  • 5 to 25%
10
  • ≥ 25%
0
C4. Support for local employment (Firm-related)
Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector*
  • ≥ 50th percentile
20
  • 20th to 50th percentile
10
  • < 20th percentile
0
Bonus criteria
C5. Skills Bonus - Shortage Occupation List (Individual)
Job on the Shortage Occupation List +20#
C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus (Firm-related)
Firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation or internationalisation activities +10

# Skills bonus is reduced to +10 if the share of candidate’s nationality among the firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher.

* Small firms with fewer than 25 PMET employees score 10 points on C3 and C4 by default. PMETs are proxied by employees earning at least $3,000 per month.

Criteria details

C1. SalaryShow

All applicants must meet the EP qualifying salary, which increases with age.

COMPASS further accounts for sectoral differences in salary norms. Your application earns points by meeting sector-specific benchmarks for local PMET salaries. These benchmarks are also age-adjusted.

Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age Points
≥ 90th percentile 20
65th to 90th percentile 10
< 65th percentile 0

Related questions:

C2. QualificationsShow

As an employer, you are responsible for ensuring that your candidate’s qualifications are genuine and were awarded by accredited institutions. Learn more about the requirements.

Candidate's qualifications Points
Top-tier institution 20
Degree-equivalent qualification 10
No degree-equivalent qualification 0

Top-tier institutions include:

  • Top 100 universities based on international rankings, and other highly-reputed universities across different regions
  • Singapore’s Autonomous Universities
  • Vocational institutions that are highly-recognised in a particular field

Degree-equivalent qualifications generally refer to:

  • Foreign qualifications that are assessed to be comparable to a bachelor’s degree in the UK system (MOM determines this with reference to international recognition bodies, e.g. the UK National Information Centre for recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills (UK ENIC)).
  • Professional qualifications that are well-recognised by the industry and endorsed by a relevant sector agency.

Qualifications are not a mandatory requirement under COMPASS. Candidates who do not hold degree-equivalent qualifications can still pass COMPASS by earning sufficient points on other criteria.

Related questions:

C3. DiversityShow

A diverse mix of nationalities enriches firms with new ideas and networks, and contributes to a more inclusive and resilient workforce.

COMPASS awards more points to applications where the candidate’s nationality forms a small share of the firm’s PMET employees. No points are earned if your firm is applying to bring in a candidate whose nationality currently forms a significant share of its PMET employees.

Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs Points
< 5% 20
5 to 25% 10
≥ 25% 0

MOM considers all employees earning at least $3,000 per month in the firm as PMETs when computing this criterion.

Your application scores 10 points by default if your firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees.

Your employee’s nationality is determined based on the nationality indicated on their passport in MOM’s records.

C4. Support for Local EmploymentShow

COMPASS recognises firms that make efforts to create opportunities for the local workforce and build complementary teams comprising both local and foreign professionals.

Your application earns more points if your firm has a relatively higher share of locals among PMET employees, compared to your peers in the same subsector.

Share of local PMETs within your subsector Points
≥ 50th percentile 20
20th to 50th percentile 10
< 20th percentile 0

MOM considers all employees earning at least $3,000 per month in the firm as PMETs when computing this criterion.

Your application earns 10 points by default if your firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees.

If your firm’s local PMET share is at least 70% (pegged to the 20th percentile of firms economy-wide), your application will earn at least 10 points. This is regardless of where your firm stands within their subsector. In this way, we do not penalise firms in subsectors which have a relatively high share of local PMET employees.

Related questions:

C5. Skills Bonus (Shortage Occupation List)Show

As Singapore moves to capture new economic opportunities, companies will require access to skilled talent to fill these jobs. The Government works closely with education and training institutes and tripartite partners to train our local graduates and reskill 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.

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) recognises EP holders in occupations requiring highly specialised skills that are currently in shortage in the local workforce. As an indication, this could include niche infocomm-related roles supporting Singapore’s digitalisation drive.

The SOL is determined by a robust tripartite evaluation process that takes into account industry needs and local workforce development efforts.

Skills Bonus Points
Job on the Shortage Occupation List +20
(Reduced to +10 if share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher)

Your candidate’s bonus points will be reduced from +20 to +10 if their nationality forms one-third or higher of your firm’s PMETs. This encourages resilience and diversity in firms, especially in areas requiring critical skills.

Related questions:

C6. Strategic Economic Priorities BonusShow

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 better jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans.

COMPASS recognises companies that are undertaking ambitious innovation, or internationalisation activities in partnership with the Government, in line with our economic priorities. Such companies should also have the scale or potential to provide good jobs for locals.

Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus Points
Firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation, or internationalisation activities. +10

To qualify, firms must participate in selected programmes run by various economic agencies or meet specific assessment criteria, and show commitment to developing the local workforce or ecosystem.

Related questions:

Exemption from COMPASS

Your candidate is exempted from COMPASS if they fufill any of these conditions:

More details

Details Timeline for release
Additional information on foundational criteria, including: December 2022
Additional information on bonus criteria, including: March 2023
Pre-Assessment Tool
Indicative outcome, including COMPASS score, for each EP application
September 2023

Case studies

We provide some examples on how EP applications may be scored on COMPASS.

Example A-1: Meets all 4 foundational criteriaShow

Scenario:

  • Firm is a marketing consultancy in the professional services sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a local PMET share at the 40th percentile of their sector. Candidate’s nationality currently forms 15% of the firm’s PMET employees.
  • Candidate attributes: Candidate is a business manager and holds a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate's salary is at the 70th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in this sector.

Application meets expectations on all four foundational criteria. Most applications will fall in this category.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary is within 65th to 90th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 10
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs is within 5 to 25% 10
Support for Local Employment Share of locals among firm’s PMETs is within 20th to 50th percentile for subsector 10
Total - 40 (Pass)

Example A-2: Meets all 4 foundational criteria (small firm)Show

Scenario:

  • Firm is a small medical technology start-up in the biomedical sciences sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a small PMET employment of 15.
  • Candidate attributes: Candidate is an Operations Manager and holds a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate’s salary is at the 70th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in this sector.

Application meets expectations on all four foundational criteria. Most applications will fall in this category.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary is within 65th to 90th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 10
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Firm has fewer than 25 PMET employees 10
(Default)
Support for Local Employment Firm has fewer than 25 PMET employees 10
(Default)
Total - 40 (Pass)

Example B: Weak on a foundational criterion but exceeds expectations on another foundational criterionShow

Scenario:

  • Firm is a commercial bank in the financial services sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a local PMET share at the 40th percentile of its sector. Candidate comes from a less represented nationality in the firm, which currently forms 3% of the firm’s PMET employees.
  • Candidate attributes: Candidate is a management associate and holds a bachelor’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate's salary is at the 60th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in the sector.

Candidate does not meet expectations on the salary criterion, but improves the diversity of the firm.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary < 65th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 0
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs < 5% 20
Support for Local Employment Share of locals among firm’s PMETs is within 20th to 50th percentile for subsector 10
Total - 40 (Pass)

Example C: Weak on a foundational criterion but earns points on bonus criterionShow

Scenario:

  • Firm is a software company in the infocomm technology sector.
  • Firm attributes: Firm has a local PMET share at the 10th percentile of its sector. Candidate’s nationality currently forms 35% of the firm’s PMET employees.
  • Candidate attributes: : Candidate is an artificial intelligence engineer (list of shortage occupations to be determined) and holds a master’s degree from a foreign university (not in top-tier list). Candidate’s salary is at the 95th percentile compared to local PMET salaries in the sector.

Application does not meet expectations on firm-level criteria, but candidate is of higher calibre and fills a shortage occupation.

Criteria Explanation Points
Salary Fixed monthly salary ≥ 90th percentile compared to local PMET salaries for sector by age 20
Qualifications Holds a degree-equivalent qualification (not top-tier) 10
Diversity Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs ≥ 25% 0
Support for Local Employment Share of locals among firm’s PMETs < 20th percentile for subsector 0
Skills Bonus Job on Shortage Occupation List (awarded 10 points instead of 20 as the share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs is ≥ one-third) +10
Total - 40 (Pass)

More on Upcoming changes to Employment Pass eligibility