What is the change? Under the new Fair Consideration Framework, employers who sponsor foreign workers for Employment Passes will be asked several questions about why Singaporeans were not hired for those jobs.

What does the change mean? Employment Pass (EP) applications will inquire whether the employer made efforts to interview Singaporeans and, if so, to indicate the reasons why Singaporeans were not hired.

  • Implementation timeframe: Aug. 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment Passes.
  • Who is affected: Companies applying for Employment Passes.
  • Impact on processing times: None.
  • Business impact: Companies may have to spend more time tracking job interviewees and reasons for not hiring Singaporeans.
  • Next steps: Employers should expect to answer these questions on the manual EP application forms and most likely on the EPOL (Employment Pass Online) screens when available.

Background: The Fair Consideration Framework that takes effect Aug. 1 is intended to strengthen the Singaporean workforce by requiring employers to take steps to ensure that they are fairly considering Singaporeans for job vacancies.

Until now, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has said only that employers had to advertise job positions for 14 days and did not have to justify their decision to hire a foreigner. However, the new Employment Pass application asks employers to check “yes” or “no” as to whether they have made efforts to interview Singaporeans for the position. In addition, the application asks the sponsoring employer to check up to three reasons why a Singaporean was not hired. The examples of reasons included on the list are:

  1. Singaporeans interviewed did not have technical skills that are as good as those of the EP candidate.
  2. Singaporeans interviewed did not have sufficient “soft skills” compared to the EP candidate.
  3. Singaporeans interviewed did not have industry experience or target market experience that are as good as those of the EP candidate.
  4. Singaporean interviewees did not possess qualifications that are as good as those of the EP candidate.
  5. The company could not meet the Singaporean candidate’s salary expectations.
  6. Singaporeans turned down a job offer.
  7. No Singaporeans applied for the job.
  8. No Singaporeans appeared for interviews.

The application says that the questions are intended to help MOM identify skills gaps and assess the profile of the local workforce.

BAL Analysis: These additional questions indicate MOM will begin looking more closely at employers’ job interviewing and selection processes.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact

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