What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower has confirmed that it has identified 38 firms whose employment pass applications will be closely watched.

What does the change mean? As an update to the ministry’s efforts to support local professionals, managers and executives (PMEs), the ministry has now identified 38 “double weak” firms from those they have engaged during the previous year. Double weak firms are companies that have a weak Singaporean core and weak commitment to the Fair Consideration Framework, the government’s effort to strengthen the core.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Employment passes.
  • Who is affected: Employers sponsoring foreign workers for employment passes.
  • Business impact: Longer processing times may result since more documentation and information will be required by the ministry from the firms on its watch list.
  • Next steps: Companies tagged as “double weak” by the agency will need to provide additional details, such as the number of Singaporeans who applied and interviewed for a certain role and information on whether the companies considered their current Singaporean employees for those positions.

Background: The Minister of Manpower, Lim Swee Say, wrote on his blog that the ministry is zealously scrutinizing the employment pass applications of the “double weak” firms to ensure that Singaporeans are considered fairly before a company decides to employ a foreign worker. Further, the ministry will ensure that these firms undertake efforts in training, developing and upgrading their local PMEs. In areas where Singaporeans are not qualified, companies are encouraged to transfer knowledge from foreign PMEs to Singaporean staff so that more Singaporeans will be able to fill certain gaps within the company.

The ministry also said that it will curtail employment pass privileges of “double weak” companies that are unresponsive or uncooperative.

BAL Analysis: The recent update is a sign that the ministry is continuing its support of local PMEs by further enhancing the Fair Consideration Framework.

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

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact