Employment Pass salary criteria to increase in 2017

Will the increase in Employment Pass (EP) salary criteria help Singaporean workers or foreigners?

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The Government is raising the salary qualifying criteria for Employment Pass (EP) applications from $3,300 to $3,600. The change will take effect from 1 January 2017. It is part of the Ministry of Manpower’s regular updating of the criteria to keep pace with rising local wages and to maintain the quality of our foreign workforce.

Q: Does this mean EP holders will be employed at higher salaries compared to the local workers?

The EP salary qualifying criteria is a quality bar that foreigners have to pass to be eligible for EP. 

With a higher EP salary bar, fewer foreigners are able to qualify for it. Raising the bar is actually a way to moderate the number of EP holders in Singapore. 

Increasing the salary criteria does not mean that all EP holders will receive a higher salary. Those who do not qualify will have to leave, or be emplaced on S pass, for which a quota and levy apply.

A higher salary bar will also reduce the risk of employers preferring to hire EP holders over Singaporeans due to the foreigners being cheaper.

Q: Is this a minimum wage for (EP) holders?

No, there is no minimum wage set for both locals and foreigners working in Singapore. EP holders will receive salaries that will match their qualifications, experience and expertise.

However, foreigners will have to earn at least S$3,600 per month to qualify for the EP. Those with lower salaries will have to apply for an S Pass to work in Singapore.

Q: I heard many companies falsely declare a higher salary for their EP holders. Is the EP salary criteria effective in moderating the inflow of EP holders?

MOM takes a serious view of fraudulent submissions of salary information and errant employers will be prosecuted for false salary declarations. The following are examples of employers who have been taken to task for salary declarations:

  1. Computer Firm Director charged for false declaration of 20 Employment Pass salaries
  2. Trio face 74 charges related to over-declaration of salaries in EP and S Pass applications
  3. Eight employers and two Employment Agents charged for falsely declaring 41 Foreign Employees’ salaries

MOM will continue to conduct stringent checks to detect and act against false declarations of EP salaries.

If you know of any person or employer who has made false salary declarations, please report the matter to MOM at 6438 5122 or email mom_fmmd@mom.gov.sg.

Source: MOM

This article is accurate as of Jul 2016.

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