Singapore – Strong Singapore Core Important in Work Pass Application Process

Singapore – Strong Singapore Core Important in Work

This GMS Flash Alert reports Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower’s plans to introduce new measures aimed at encouraging companies to hire Singaporeans, thereby reinforcing the Singapore work-force.

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On 8 April 2016, it was announced1 in Singapore’s Parliament that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will introduce new measures aimed at encouraging companies to hire Singaporeans, thereby reinforcing the Singapore work-force.2

WHY THIS MATTERS

Companies that are assessed as “Triple Weak” will face closer scrutiny.  If assessed as Triple Weak, that is, they exhibit a so-called weak “Singaporean Core,” a feeble commitment to develop its Singaporean Core, and a tenuous economic link and social impact with regards to Singapore, the company will be placed on a watch-list and may end up having its work pass privileges curtailed (more on the meaning of these terms below).

Background

Currently, work pass applications are assessed based on “individual-related” criteria such as the applicant’s qualifications, work experience, and salary. 

The “Triple Weak” Firm Concept

Under the newly-expanded application process, the assessment of applications will also focus on “company-centric” factors such as:

  • How strong the Singaporean Core is in the company (the “Singaporean Core” refers to the Singapore employee population in the company);
  • Whether a company with a weak Singaporean Core has a commitment to nurture and to develop its local work-force for the future; and
  • How relevant the “double weak” company is to Singapore's economy and society (“Double weak” signifies companies that have been deemed as having a weak Singaporean Core with little or no commitment to develop this group). 

If all three attributes are featured by a company, that company is characterized as Triple Weak.  A company so assessed, will face closer scrutiny.

Watch-list for Triple Weak Firms

Assessments will be carried out by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP).  The TAFEP will play a proactive role in identifying Triple Weak firms.  Such companies will be placed on a watch-list.  

If corrective actions are not taken to strengthen the Triple Weak factors, work pass privileges may be suspended.  Renewal of existing employment passes and processing of new employment pass applications may also be affected. 

On the other hand, so-called “Triple Strong” companies that are regarded as critical to Singapore’s future development, including those related to the “Smart Nation programme,” advanced manufacturing, and future services, will receive more support, for example, the new Human Capital Partnership (HCP), which is aimed at nurturing promising local talent into regional and even global talent.

KPMG NOTE

Employers should consider the following actions: 

  • Foster hiring practices that are transparent and can withstand scrutiny in terms of giving fair consideration to Singaporean candidates. 
  • Where there is a weak Singaporean Core within the company, the employer should have well-documented plans to develop its existing Singaporean Core. 

FOOTNOTES

1  For further information, see the “Speech by Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower at Committee of Supply 2016,” delivered on 8 April 2016 at: http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/speeches/2016/0408-speech-by-minister-at-cos-2016

2  For related coverage, see GMS Flash Alert 2015-099, 7 August 2015. 

RELATED RESOURCE

This article is excerpted, with permission, from “Further Refinements to the Work Pass Application Process to Strengthen the Global Competitiveness of the Singapore WorkForce,” in Tax Alert (issue 17, May 2016), a publication of the KPMG International member firm in Singapore.  

CONTACTS

For further information or assistance, please contact your local GMS or People Services professional* or one of the following professionals with the KPMG International member firm in Singapore:

BJ Ooi, Partner, Head of GMS

tel. +65 6213 2657

boonjinooi@kpmg.com.sg

 

Dennis McEvoy, Partner

tel. +65 6213 2645

dennismcevoy@kpmg.com.sg

 

Daniel Seow, Manager

tel. +65 6213 2865

dseow@kpmg.com.sg

 

*Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration services. 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Singapore.

© 2016 KPMG Services Pte Ltd (Registration No. 200003956G), a Singapore incorporated company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International cooperative, KPMG International. All rights reserved.

Flash Alert is an Global Mobility Services publication of KPMG LLPs Washington National Tax practice. The KPMG logo and name are trademarks of KPMG International. KPMG International is a Swiss cooperative that serves as a coordinating entity for a network of independent member firms. KPMG International provides no audit or other client services. Such services are provided solely by member firms in their respective geographic areas. KPMG International and its member firms are legally distinct and separate entities. They are not and nothing contained herein shall be construed to place these entities in the relationship of parents, subsidiaries, agents, partners, or joint venturers. No member firm has any authority (actual, apparent, implied or otherwise) to obligate or bind KPMG International or any member firm in any manner whatsoever. The information contained in herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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