IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Employers are reminder that the minimum salaries required for employment pass and S pass holders to sponsor family members in Singapore will increase by 20 percent over the current levels starting Jan. 1.

What does the change mean? Effective Jan. 1, employees will be required to earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of 6,000 Singapore dollars (about US$4,460) to sponsor a spouse or child on dependent’s passes and S$12,000 to sponsor parents on long-term visit passes.

  • Implementation time frame: Jan. 1.
  • Who is affected: Employment pass and S pass holders planning to sponsor new family members or transfer employment.
  • Business impact: The 20-percent hike will limit the number of people who are able to sponsor family members in Singapore.
  • Next steps: Applicants who will be disqualified by the new thresholds may want to apply to sponsor family members before Jan. 1. Applications received by the end of the year will be assessed based on current criteria. Renewals for dependent passes and long-term visit passes approved or issued by the end of the year will be assessed according to current criteria if the employee remains with the same employer.

Background: Under the criteria that expire Dec. 31, expatriate employees must earn a fixed monthly salary of S$5,000 to sponsor a spouse or children under 21 and S$10,000 to sponsor a parent.

BAL Analysis: Employers and individuals should factor in the changes when planning assignments. The increases may be prohibitive for some employees and could pose challenges for employers seeking to attract and retain foreign employees to Singapore. Companies may need to review and make necessary adjustments to current foreign employees’ salaries so that they may retain passes for their dependents.