New Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for Employment Pass applications

The Singapore government has introduced a new points-based Complementarity Assessment (COMPASS) framework to evaluate Employment Pass (EP) applicants.

EP applicants generally take on the positions of professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) in Singapore.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), COMPASS enables employers to hire high-quality foreign professionals, while enhancing workforce diversity and building a strong Singaporean core.

EP candidates must pass a two-stage eligibility framework. In addition to meeting the qualifying salary (Stage 1), EP candidates must now pass the points-based COMPASS (Stage 2).

Under COMPASS, applicants will need to score at least 40 points which will consider several employee and employer-related criteria such as the salary level and qualifications of the applicant, as well as levels of nationality diversity and support for local employment by the employer. 

The government will apply the COMPASS evaluation in addition to the standard requirement under which applicants must meet the minimum qualifying salary for EP applications

COMPASS will apply to new candidates starting from 1 September 2023, and applicable to renewals from 1 September 2024.

What is the evaluation process for COMPASS?

Under COMPASS, EP applications will be evaluated based on a comprehensive set of individual and firm-related attributes.

Applications earn points on four foundational criteria if they meet or exceed expectations. Additionally, they can earn points from two bonus criteria. An applicant is required to score 40 points in order to pass COMPASS.

Foundational criteria 

Individual attributes

Firm-related attributes

C1. Salary
Relative to local PMET salary norms for the sector

C3. Diversity
Whether candidate improves nationality diversity in the firm

C2. Qualifications
Based on the candidate's qualifications

C4. Support for local employment
Based on local PMET share relative to industry peers

Bonus criteria

C. Skills bonus
(Shortage Occupation List)

For candidates in jobs where skills shortages exist

C6. Strategic economic priorities bonus

For partnership with the Government on ambitious innovation or internationalisation activities

Source: Ministry of Manpower

Points for each criterion

Assessment

20

Exceeds expectations

10

Meets expectations

0

Does not meet expectations

Source: Ministry of Manpower

Key information about the COMPASS eligibility criteria

  • Salary

Candidates must fulfil the qualifying salary, which increases with age and varies according to sector. Points are earned by meeting sector-specific benchmarks for local PMET salaries. For example, candidates with a salary that is equal to or exceed the 90th percentile of local PMET salaries in the sector will score 20 points for the Salary criterion.

  • Qualifications

To earn points on this criterion, candidates are required to hold academic qualifications from accredited institutions. A qualification from a top-tier institution earns the maximum points (20) while a degree-equivalent qualification earns 10 points.

Candidates without degree-equivalent qualifications can still pass COMPASS by earning points on other criteria.

  • Diversity

More points will be given to applications where the candidate’s nationality forms a small share of the firm’s PMET employees.
The firm can score the maximum 20 points if the proportion of its employees with the same nationality as the candidate is less than 5 per cent.

A candidate will score 10 points if the proportion is between 5 and 25 per cent, and no points if the proportion is more than 25 per cent.

However, an application scores 10 points by default if the firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees. This is to not penalise smaller firms with fewer PMETs.

  • Support for local employment

COMPASS recognises employers’ efforts to build up a strong local pipeline. A firm with a relatively higher share of locals among PMET employees compared to its peers in the same subsector will earn a higher score.

If a firm’s percentage of local PMET employees is at least 70%, the application will score 10 points regardless of where the firm stands within their subsector.

Similar to the criterion above, an application earns 10 points by default if the firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees.

  • Skills bonus (Shortage Occupation List)

According to MOM, companies will require access to skilled talent as Singapore moves to capture new economic opportunities.

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) recognises EP holders in occupations requiring highly specialised skills that are currently in shortage in the local workforce. To be released by March 2023, the SOL is determined by a robust tripartite evaluation process that takes into account quantitative evidence of labour shortage and local workforce development efforts.

Candidates will earn 20 points if their job are in the list. However, it will be reduced to 10 points if the share of candidate’s nationality among the firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher.

  • Strategic economic priorities bonus

COMPASS values companies that are undertaking ambitious innovation or internationalisation activities in partnership with the Government.

An application will earn an additional 10 points if the firm participate in selected programmes run by government agencies, or meet specific criteria, and demonstrate commitment to developing the local workforce.

Who is exempted from COMPASS?

A candidate is exempted from COMPASS if they meet any of these conditions:

Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT)

Come September 2023, employers will be able to get an indicative COMPASS score for their prospective EP candidate through the Pre-Assessment Tool (PAT) before submitting an application. PAT will offer insights on how an applicant is likely to score on each of the COMPASS criterion.

More details

Details

Timeline for release

Additional information on foundational criteria, including:

December 2022

Additional information on bonus criteria, including:

March 2023

Pre-Assessment Tool
Indicative outcome, including COMPASS score, for each EP application

September 2023

How can we help

Planning ahead is essential for businesses to navigate the significant changes in the employment policies. At Mazars, we can help your business prepare for the new COMPASS framework and rework your recruitment strategies. Contact us today to learn more.