What is the change? The number of companies on the Ministry of Manpower’s watch list has vastly expanded from 100 companies last year to 250 this year. In a recent incident, 50 companies were denied work pass privileges because they did not give appropriate consideration to Singaporean job candidates under the Fair Consideration Framework.

What does the change mean? Companies should be aware of the ministry’s emphasis on enforcing the Framework as part of its overarching goals to strengthen the Singaporean workforce by rewarding companies that favor local workers and penalizing those whose employment practices treat local workers unfairly.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment passes.
  • Who is affected: Singaporean companies that rely on foreign employees and are subject to the Fair Consideration Framework.
  • Impact on processing times: Companies risk loss of work pass privileges if found to be engaged in unfair hiring practices.
  • Business impact: Companies on the watch list may have their work pass privileges curtailed and, if they improve their hiring and training of local workers, may be removed from the list.
  • Next steps: Employers should review their recruitment and hiring procedures to make sure that they are in compliance with the Fair Consideration Framework.
  • Background: The Framework was introduced in 2014 and requires that employers give fair consideration to Singaporean job candidates and fulfill local advertising criteria before hiring a foreign national for a job opening. The ministry also recently introduced several initiatives to assist employers, including a Human Capital Partnership program that provides fast-track service to companies that nurture their Singaporean workforce.

BAL Analysis: The expansion in the number of companies on the watch list and the recent enforcement efforts against dozens of companies on the list are a reminder to all employers in Singapore that the Ministry of Manpower is focused on the Fair Consideration Framework and using both carrot and stick to induce companies to strengthen their local workforce.

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

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