International Business & Economy Employment Pass qualifying salary increase more than locals?

Employment Pass qualifying salary increase more than locals?

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By: Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Qualifying salary for Employment Pass to be raised from $3,300 to $3,600 from Jan 1: Manpower Ministry” (, Jul 26). the article said:

“The qualifying salary for Employment Pass (EP) applications will be raised from $3,300 to $3,600, the Ministry of Manpower () announced on Tuesday (July 26). This is part of its regular efforts to keep pace with rising local wages, maintain the quality of Singapore’s foreign workforce and enhance their complementarity to the local workforce, the ministry said. The last revision to the EP’s qualifying salary was made in January 2014, when the current minimum was increased from $3,000.”

No. of EPs, S-Pass & work permits continue to rise? 

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I believe the primary concern of most PMETs may be that foreigners may be taking away jobs from Singaporeans.

Increasing the EP qualifying salary does not seem to have had any effect on the rising number of foreign workers.

The number of EPs increased from 175,100 in December 2013 to 179,800 (Dec 2014) and 187,900 in December 2015.

The number of S-Pass also increased from 160,900 in December 2013 to 170,100 (Dec 2014) and 178,600 in December 2015.

The number of Work Permits increased from 974,400 in December 2013 to 991,300 (Dec 2014) and 997,100 in December 2015.

The total foreign workforce has increased from 1,197,900 in December 2011 to 1,387,300 in December 2015.

700 local jobs vs 31,600 jobs growth to foreigners?

In this connection, local employment growth was only 700 jobs for the whole of 2015, while foreign employment growth was 31,600.

EP salary increase more than locals?

As to “to keep pace with rising local wages” – the median gross monthly income from work (including employer CPF contribution) grew by 6.6 per cent from $3,705 in 2013 (mid-year) to $3,949 in 2015 (mid-year).

So, why are we apparently increasing the EP qualifying salary by a higher 9.1 per cent from $3,300 to $3,600?

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