What is the change? Minister for Manpower Lim Swee Say said Monday that 500 companies have been placed on the agency’s watch list over the past two years, providing yet another indication of how aggressive Singapore has become in protecting and promoting its local workforce.

What does the change mean? Lim, who made the remark when responding to questions in Parliament, also indicated that the Ministry of Manpower will expand the Fair Consideration Framework rules to more employers in an effort to increase the hiring of Singaporean candidates. 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.
  • Business impact: Companies on the watch list may have their work pass privileges curtailed. If they improve their hiring and training of local workers, however, they may be removed from the list.
  • Next steps: Employers may wish to review their recruitment and hiring procedures to make sure that they are in compliance with the Framework.

Background: The Framework was introduced in 2014 and requires employers to give fair consideration to Singaporean job candidates and fulfill local advertising criteria before hiring foreign nationals for job openings. Last year, authorities revealed that the number of companies on the watch list had expanded to 250. According to Lim, the total number of companies that have been on the watch list over the past two years has now reached 500—including about 150 that have changed their practices and have since been removed.

BAL Analysis: The increase in the number of companies on the watch list should serve as a reminder to employers that the Ministry of Manpower is focused on the Fair Consideration Framework as part of its overall strategy to force 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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