SICC | Singapore International Chamber Of Commerce | Raffles Quay – The voice of international business in Singapore
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4 APR 2023  |  ISSUE 447

Dear Members and Friends

A compass is a directional tool which lets you know your present position and enables you to chart your direction. MOM’s announcement last Friday of the details of the COMPASS bonus criteria relating to the Skills Bonus and the Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus provides clarity to businesses seeking to hire Employment Pass (EP) holders. It also helps them prepare for the implementation of COMPASS on 1 September 2023 when it will apply to all new EP applications.

COMPASS stands for The Complementarity Assessment Framework. It demonstrates the policy intent of enabling businesses to seize opportunities and hire complementary foreign talent while preventing abuse of the system and enabling knowledge transfer. These latter two factors ensure continued fair consideration for local talent. 

The Skills Bonus is available for jobs on the Shortage Occupation List. It is no surprise that most jobs on the list relate to roles in IT, followed by healthcare and the green economy where there is a local talent shortage to meet business and societal needs. The list will be reviewed every 3 years but MOM will add or remove occupations annually if market conditions require. Applicants who require this bonus will be subject to additional checks on their past work experience, their qualifications and/or industry accreditation to ensure their complementary relevance. If approved, applicants will be limited to a specific occupation. If their employer wishes to redeploy the EP holder to a different job, the EP holder will be reassessed.

The Strategic Economic Priorities (SEP) Bonus is available for jobs in businesses which undertake ambitious investment, innovation, internationalization or company and workforce transformation. To qualify for the SEP bonus, businesses must be supported by sector agencies or by NTUC and must participate in one of the eligible programmes run by the agencies. Businesses must also demonstrate commitment to developing the local workforce. Businesses awarded the SEP bonus will enjoy it for up to 3 years. To continue receiving it, businesses must meet expectations on the COMPASS diversity and support for local employment criteria.

Full details are available on MOM’s web site: Businesses are also encouraged to access the Workforce Insights tool on which serves as another useful resource.

Yours faithfully
Victor Mills
Chief Executive

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