Important and/or distinctive aspects of recruitment legislation in Singapore

Data protection

Unless inconsistent with the other provisions of law, employers are required to comply with the requirements of the PDPA in relation to the collection, use and disclosure of personal data relating to candidates. Generally, unless an exception under the PDPA applies, the purposes for which personal data is to be collected, used and disclosed should be notified to the candidate and their consent should be obtained. Personal data collected by an employer should only be retained for as long as such data is necessary for business or legal purposes and thereafter, disposed or destroyed in a secure manner.

The candidate may be deemed, through the voluntarily provision of his or her personal data, to have consented to the employer's collection, use and disclosure of the candidate's personal data for the purpose of assessing his or her job application. If the candidate is subsequently employed, deemed consent would carry through and the employer may continue to use the personal data provided for the purposes of managing the employment relationship with the candidate. If an employer wishes to use the personal data for purposes other than those for which consent has been obtained, consent cannot be deemed, or to which no exception under the PDPA applies, then fresh consent for such purposes should be obtained from the candidate.

For employers that are part of a wider corporate group, it would be prudent to ensure that consent is obtained from the candidate to enable the collection, use, disclosure and intra-group transfer of the candidate's personal data by the employer and by other members of the group of companies.

Criminal record checks

In 2005, the RCA was amended in relation to "spent" criminal records, namely to deem the criminal record of a person convicted of a minor crime to be automatically marked as spent if he completes a five-year crime-free period.

In particular, if a conviction is spent or is treated as spent, the individual shall be deemed to have no record of that conviction, and it will be lawful for him to answer a questions (from 17 October 2005) in the manner as if he has no conviction.

However, the above does not apply for an appointments to or employment in any office, or for admission to any profession or vocation, from which the person may be disqualified under any written law by reason of his conviction.

Medical examinations

For certain categories of foreign employees, such candidates are or may be required by the authorities to undergo and pass a medical examination before a work pass is issued.

Medical examinations may also be compulsory for employees working in certain industries. For example, a person cannot be employed in a massage establishment if he or she has not undergone and passed a medical health screening if required to do so by the authorities. Persons employed in hazardous occupations are also required to undergo pre-placement as well as periodic medical examinations, and be certified fit to work in such occupations.