Singapore: New Stricter Rules for Employing Foreigners

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Singapore: New Stricter Rules for Employing Foreigners

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower has issued new, more strict requirements for the employment of foreigners by Singapore companies. During each general election, the quoted figure of foreigners compared to the local population currently stands at a high percentage of about 25% of the total population of Singapore, is always a matter of debate. Over the last ten years, the Singapore government was tightening rules for foreigners who were seeking employment in Singapore. It is obvious that the Singapore government is favouring young foreign professionals discourages hiring those who are 40+. For example, the minimum qualifying salaries for office staff rose on the 1st of May, 2020 to SGD $3,900. However, the recent change has increased the minimum salary threshold to SGD $4,500 pm from September 1st, 2020.

As for those whose age is 40+, the minimum salary threshold has risen to a minimum of SGD $10,000 pm. The new salary requirements were the response to the deterioration of the labour market in Singapore with the economy contracting to 12% in 2020. The COVD-19 pandemic impact has pushed the Singapore government to take swift action.
It is worth mentioning that the recent events in Hong Kong relating to the civil unrest and the Security law adoption has pushed some financial companies to start relocating from Hong Kong to Singapore.

In order to hire foreigners, Singapore companies have to demonstrate that the company is encouraging and supporting the employment of the local population, through re-training, etc. Longer 28-day advertisement vacancy periods on the government website is required before the Singapore company can turn to the foreign workforce for candidates.
We have already recently reported that MOM has imposed the threshold on minimum salaries to allow foreign employees to bring family members to Singapore for a rate of SGD $6,000 pm.

The Ministry of Manpower is constantly monitoring the situation with hiring foreigners leading to rejection of about 3,200 foreign applications for employment by Singapore companies.