Singapore to increase permit cost, boost local employment rate

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The Singaporean government has announced increases to the local qualifying salary (LQS) and the qualifying salary for the Employment Pass. The initiatives aim to boost the employment rate among Singaporean nationals and reduce employers’ reliance on foreign national employees. 

The LQS stipulates the amount of monthly salary an employer must pay local workers if they want to hire foreigners on work permits and S Passes, which allow mid-level skilled staff to work in Singapore. Singaporean nationals employed under a contract of employment count as one local employee if they earn the LQS of SG$1,300 or more per month, and as 0.5 of a local employee if they earn half of the LQS (between SG$650 and SG$1,300 per month). From 1 July 2020, the LQS will increase from SG$1,300 to SG$1,400, and the LQS for a 0.5 local employee will increase from SG$650 to SG$700. 

The Employment Pass is a type of work permit for foreign professionals who have a job offer; work in managerial, executive or specialized jobs; and who have acceptable academic or professional qualifications. From 1 May 2020, the minimum monthly qualifying salary for the Employment Pass will increase from SG$3,600 to SG$3,900 for new applications, and the increased rate will apply to renewal applications from 1 May 2021. The salary criteria for older, more experienced candidates also will increase. 

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Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

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