SINGAPORE – Employers who hire foreign workers will soon have to pay them higher minimum salaries.
From September this year, the minimum qualifying salary for new Employment Pass applicants will be raised from the current $4,500 to $5,000. For the financial services sector, which has higher salary norms, the bar will be raised from $5,000 to $5,500.
The salary thresholds are tweaked from time to time to ensure EP holders are of the right calibre – because how much the employer is prepared to pay is a practical indicator of their quality, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday (Feb 18).
“EP holders should be professionals and senior executives who can contribute to our economy, sharpen the skills of those they work with, and strengthen our workforce.”
The move ensures that incoming EP holders are comparable in quality to the top one-third of the local PMET (professional, manager, executive and technician) workforce.
“Beyond the qualifying salary, we will refine how we assess EP applications, to improve the complementarity and diversity of our foreign workforce, and also to increase certainty and transparency for businesses,” he added.
However, Mr Wong stressed that the Republic must continue to stay open and bring in skills from around the world, even as it invest in Singaporeans.
“By combining local and foreign professionals, we form the best teams in Singapore to create value together,” he added.
“This gives us that extra advantage to excel amidst intense global competition, and to create many more good jobs and career choices for Singaporeans.”
Besides EP salaries, the salary thresholds for s pass holders will also be raised.
From September this year, the minimum qualifying salary for new applicants will be pushed up from the current $2,500 to $3,000. A higher salary threshold of $3,500 will be introduced for the financial services sector.
Mr Wong said the goal is for these mid-level skilled workers to be of similar quality as the top one-third of local associate professionals and technicians.
The minimum qualifying salary for new S Pass applicants will be raised again in September next year, and in September 2025. The specific salary values will be announced closer to implementation, based on the prevailing local wages then.
For older EP and S Pass applicants, their higher qualifying salaries will also be raised in tandem. For renewal applications, the changes will apply from September 2023 – one year later – to give businesses enough time to adjust.