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Singapore - New Questions Added to Employment Pass Application

Singapore - New Questions Added to Employment Pass

This report discusses the new application questions that help implement its existing guidelines on fair hiring practices for Singapore citizens and permanent residents.

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As part of its increased scrutiny of employer hiring practices, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) has introduced new questions for all new Employment Pass (EP) applications.1  The changes were unannounced and come into effect immediately.  

The new application questions signify that the MOM is taking further concrete steps to implement its existing guidelines on fair hiring practices and consideration for Singapore citizens and permanent residents. 

WHY THIS MATTERS

Employers applying for an EP will need to provide additional information about their recruitment process to demonstrate that Singapore citizens and permanent residents have been considered fairly for job opportunities.  This includes record-keeping of the recruitment process and applicants who respond to job vacancies.

Background

Since the introduction of the Fair Consideration Framework,1 the Singapore government has set out its expectations of employers to help ensure that Singapore citizens and permanent residents are considered fairly for job opportunities. Requiring employers to advertise on the Jobs Bank is the cornerstone of the Framework’s efforts to establish fair employment practices by all employers.

New Questions for Employers

Employers applying for an EP are now required to provide additional information in the application including:

a) Indicating the avenues used to search for candidates, for example, local job advertising websites, newspapers, trade publications, magazines, employment agencies, professional placement firms, personal networks of existing employees, company internal talent pool, or job portal.

b) Designating as Singapore citizens, permanent residents, or foreigners, applicants who applied, were interviewed, received an offer, or were hired. This breakdown is required regardless of whether the Jobs Bank or other recruitment methods or channels were used.

c) Disclosing how the foreign applicant was “sourced,” for example, through local or foreign job advertising websites, newspapers, trade publications, magazines, local or foreign employment agencies, or professional placement firms, through personal networks of existing local or foreign employees, firm's internal talent pool or job portal, etc.

Employers are not required to provide the above additional information for applications to renew an existing EP or to transfer an EP holder to a related company. 

KPMG NOTE

What Immediate Actions Do Employers Need to Take? 

  • Establish an appropriate recruitment process, from interview to hiring, is in place for each job vacancy.
  • Track applicants at each stage of the recruitment process and keep proper documentation, including the number of interviews for each candidate, the number of interviewers present each time, and the reasons why a Singaporean candidate could not fill the position. Documentation applies to recruitment through the Jobs Bank as well as other platforms.
  • Be able to demonstrate that Singapore citizens and permanent resident candidates have been fairly considered for the position.
  • Have the information readily available to address the new questions on recruitment processes and applicants for the EP application.
  • Plan in advance how to meet business hiring needs allowing for longer recruitment and EP application processing time.

FOOTNOTE

1  For related coverage, see the following issues of GMS Flash Alert2017-171 (21 November 2017) and 2016-068 (3 June 2016).  Also, you may find further information in earlier issues of Immigration Alert (dated 2 October 2013 and 7 August 2015), respectively: “Singapore – Implementation of New Hiring and Employment Pass Application Rules Announced” and “Singapore – Hiring of Foreigners Gets Scrutiny, Better Opportunities for Singaporeans.”  Immigration Alert is a publication of the KPMG International member firm in Singapore.

*  Please note that the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not offer immigration services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

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

© 2017 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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