Singapore to impose further rules on expatriate hirings

As of August 2014 companies in Singapore will have to prove they have tried to recruit a local citizen before hiring an expatriate.

Whilst companies with 25 or fewer employees or those looking to recruit expats who are paid more than $12,000/month (SGD) are exempt from the rules they are likely to cause a few headaches for expatriates who’d seen Singapore as a potential option for them.

Even firms though who are exempt from these new rules must still show they’re not being discriminatory in their hiring practices and those that are found to be will be subject to additional scrutiny by the department and may also have their work pass privileges curtailed.

Companies will have to advertise for the position locally in a national job bank administered by the government’s workforce development agency.

“If firms are unable to find suitable Singaporeans, they will still be able to hire and bring in the skills they need from overseas in order to build a strong team in Singapore of both local and foreign workers.” acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan Jin said.

“Singapore has and will remain open to skills and workers from overseas. This has benefited Singaporeans because it allows firms to set up and create jobs in Singapore. But this must not come at the expense of fair HR practices.”

Over the last few years the Ministry of Manpower has been phasing in rules to tighten the inflow of expatriate workers as locals have complained that they can’t compete with them for jobs, housing and school places for their children.

Also as of January 2014 the qualifying salary for Employment Passes will rise to $3,300 (SGD) from $3,000 in line with rising salaries.

You can find out more about the changes on the press release made by the Ministry of Manpower.