Navigating the Compass: Demystifying Singapore's Employment Pass Framework

28 February 2024

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COMPASS is a transparent points-based system that gives businesses greater clarity and certainty for manpower planning.

The Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), implemented in September 2023, has transformed the landscape for foreign talent seeking employment in Singapore. This points-based system evaluates both individual attributes and employer characteristics, aiming to attract high-quality professionals while fostering local workforce development.

Today, we delve into theCompass rule, answering your most pressing questions and providing insights for both job seekers and employers.

What is the Compass rule?

The Compass rule is not a singular rule, but rather a comprehensive framework comprising four foundational and two bonus criteria. Applicants for Employment Passes (EPs) earn points based on these criteria, requiring a minimum score of 40 for approval. This system emphasizes factors like salary, qualifications, diversity, local employment support, skills in demand, and strategic economic priorities.

Who does the Compass rule apply to?

The Compass rule applies to all new EP applicants starting September 1, 2023. Existing EP holders will be subject to it during renewals from September 1, 2024. However, exceptions exist for highly-paid individuals, intra-corporate transferees, and short-term roles.

FAQs about the Compass rule:

1. How can I increase my chances of obtaining an EP under the Compass rule?

Focus on enhancing your qualifications, securing a competitive salary, and aligning your skills with Singapore's strategic needs. Demonstrating relevant experience and transferable skills also holds weight.

2. What are the benefits of the Compass rule for employers?

The Compass rule helps employers recruit high-caliber talent while contributing to a more diverse and qualified workforce. Additionally, it provides greater clarity and transparency in the EP application process.

3. Are there any challenges associated with the Compass rule?

Some employers may find the scoring system complex, and candidates might face competition based on factors beyond their direct control. Adapting to the new framework requires ongoing adjustments from both parties.

4. Where can I find more information about the Compass rule?

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website provides extensive resources, including detailed guidelines, FAQs, and application procedures.

The Compass rule signifies a shift in Singapore's talent acquisition strategy. By understanding its nuances and preparing accordingly, both job seekers and employers can navigate this new landscape and achieve their recruitment goals.