The new Fair Consideration Framework rules (Rules) will affect employers who apply for Employment Passes (EP) for foreign professionals who work in “managerial, executive or specialised jobs”.
The Rules will require employers who are planning to take out EP applications to first advertise the position in a job bank administered by Workforce Development Agency for at least 14 calendar days before they can make an EP application for a foreigner to fill the position.
Which roles do the Rules apply to?
The Rules apply to senior and professional roles that pay less than SGD 12,000 fixed salary per month.
Companies with fewer than 25 employees will not come within the Rules. The government has, however, made it clear that this category of companies will be under scrutiny, and their EP privileges will be curtailed, if complaints of unfair practice are made.
This is the first strong message by the Singapore government that companies must give priority to Singaporeans when recruiting for senior roles.
Will the new Rules be effective?
Questions have already been raised as to their effectiveness. Some feel that the Rules will have little impact because there are no tough reprisals or stiff penalties for breaches of the Rules. People have also raised the question why the Ministry of Manpower did not go further and require companies to provide evidence that they have properly considered local candidates.
Singaporeans, and in particular those who are potentially impacted by the Rules, are not convinced that the Rules will be effective in increasing the number of Singaporeans working in professional or senior roles – because employers will be able to play the system. However, their concerns may not be justified because, since the implementation of the Rules has been announced, the Ministry of Manpower has started to police recruitment practices. A number of companies have recently been hauled up and accused of discriminatory recruitment practices.
On a separate note, the cost for making EP applications will also be raised from SGD 3,000 to SGD 3,300 from January 2014.