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.