Maximising Success for Singapore Employment Pass Applications 2024

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Singapore's thriving economy is fuelled by a diverse workforce, with foreign professionals playing a pivotal role. To attract and retain top talent, the government has implemented various policies, including the Employment Pass (EP) scheme. However, navigating the EP application process can be complex and time-consuming.

In response, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) introduced the COMPASS (Complementarity Assessment Framework) in September 2023. This framework aims to streamline the EP application process and ensure that only the most qualified and complementary foreign professionals are granted work passes.

While the new COMPASS framework aims to streamline the EP application process, it also introduces potential challenges and opportunities. Applicants and employers may face some initial adjustments to the point-based system and the increased emphasis on specific skills and abilities. Additionally, the focus on transparency and efficiency may bring increased scrutiny and documentation requirements.

However, these changes also present opportunities. Employers can benefit from a more transparent and merit-based assessment process when selecting talent. The framework also encourages investment in training and development of local talent, creating a more balanced and competitive workforce. Overall, the COMPASS framework has the potential to enhance Singapore's attractiveness as a global talent hub while ensuring a robust and complementary workforce.

Impact of Mandatory Verifications on Processing Efficiency

The new verification process under COMPASS, requiring proof of diploma-level and above qualifications, has introduced a layer of scrutiny that can potentially impact processing efficiency. Employers must utilise specific methods like background screening companies, or online verification portals, which can add additional steps and time to the application process. This can lead to delays in approval decisions, impacting both employers and applicants.

Impact on Processing Times: The additional verification step can potentially lead to longer processing times for EP applications. The verification can take 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the chosen method and the case's complexity.

For example, background checks through selected companies can take several days to complete. Additionally, MOM may request clarifications or additional information, further extending the timeline.

Impact on Employers: Delayed approvals can significantly impact recruitment timelines, leaving critical positions vacant and hindering business operations. Employers may incur additional costs due to extended salary payments, temporary staffing solutions, or lost productivity. Bear in mind that, the average cost for temporary staffing solutions in Singapore typically involves a commission for successful placements, which can range from around 15% to 25% of the yearly salary fee.

Delays in hiring can allow competitors to acquire top talent, impacting the company's ability to compete in the market. This can be especially detrimental to industries like the IT sector that previously experienced difficulty hiring in 2017.

Impact on Applicants: Delayed approvals can cause financial hardship for applicants, especially those who have already relocated to Singapore or who are facing significant financial obligations. Examples of potential financial burdens applicants might face include visa fees, accommodation, and living expenses.

Uncertainty surrounding the application outcome can lead to stress and anxiety for applicants. Delays can disrupt career progression and cause missed opportunities for professional advancement. Delays can erode trust in the application process and create a negative perception of Singapore as a destination for skilled professionals.

As the COMPASS framework was implemented recently in the third quarter of 2023, several potential verification issues and their consequences may still emerge in 2024. While these challenges may cause delays, there are ways to mitigate their impact:

  • Collaborating with experienced immigration consultants can help navigate the complexities of COMPASS and ensure proper documentation.
  • Regularly communicating with MOM and providing prompt responses to inquiries can minimise delays caused by clarifications.
  • Utilising reliable and efficient verification providers can expedite the process.
  • Choosing the appropriate verification method based on the specific case can save time.

  • Submitting applications well in advance of the desired start date allows ample time for verification and potential clarifications.

By implementing these strategies, employers can minimise delays and ensure a smooth application process under COMPASS.

Risk Factors Related to Documentation, Compliance, and Time Constraints

Navigating the Employment Pass (EP) application process under COMPASS requires meticulous attention to detail and strict adherence to specific guidelines. Several potential risk factors can lead to application rejections or delays, impacting both employers and applicants. Understanding these risks and taking proactive measures to mitigate them is crucial for success.

Common Documentation Errors:

  • Incomplete or inaccurate information — Unable to submit required documents, typos, inconsistencies, or discrepancies.
  • Unverifiable qualifications — Failing to provide the necessary verification proof for declared diploma-level and above qualifications.

  • Insufficient supporting documentation — Omitting documents demonstrating the applicant's qualifications, employment history, or financial stability can weaken the application.

Compliance with COMPASS Requirements:

The COMPASS framework introduces specific requirements and regulations regarding eligibility, documentation, and application procedures. Non-compliance with these requirements can result in delayed processing and application rejections. 

Time Constraints:

As with any Singapore work pass, the processing time may vary based on individual circumstances and the specific details of each application. But with the enhanced verification process, it is now more crucial than ever to start the EP application well in advance.

Insufficient time for document preparation and verification can lead to incomplete applications, increasing the risk of rejection or delays. Rushing to meet deadlines can create unnecessary stress and pressure for both employers and applicants, potentially impacting their decision-making and application quality.

By carefully considering and mitigating these risk factors, employers, and applicants can significantly improve their chances of success in 2024. Seeking expert immigration assistance can provide valuable guidance, ensure compliance with regulations, and navigate deadlines effectively, maximising the potential for a smooth and successful application outcome.

How Expert Immigration Services Can Mitigate Risks and Expedite Processing Times

By engaging expert immigration services, organizations can effectively diminish risks, save up on operating costs and streamline work pass applications. While the cost of acquiring immigration services might seem like an additional expense at first, it can be significantly cost-effective compared to processing work pass applications in-house. Here's why:

Documentation Accuracy and Completeness: Experts ensure all documentation is complete, accurate, and adheres to the latest requirements, minimising errors and preventing delays. They assist with document verification and preparation, ensuring compliance with regulations.

Compliance Expertise: They possess in-depth knowledge of COMPASS and guide on meeting all eligibility criteria and application procedures. Additionally, they act as a liaison with MOM, ensuring clear communication and timely responses to inquiries, preventing delays due to compliance issues.

Effective Communication and Representation: Experts provide expert representation in case of appeals or rejections. They can leverage these resources to streamline the verification process and expedite application decisions.

Access to Specialised Resources: They have access to various resources and tools to facilitate the application process, including background screening providers, and more. 

By leveraging the expertise and resources offered by immigration professionals, employers, and applicants can navigate the COMPASS framework with confidence, minimise risks, stay compliant, and ultimately increase their chances of obtaining a successful application. Indeed, acquiring the right expert assistance can become a cost-effective solution for businesses and individuals.

As a leading provider of expert immigration in Singapore, Lanturn fully understands the complexities of navigating Singapore's EP applications with the implementation of the rigorous points-based system. Leveraging an in-house team of immigration experts and technology, choosing Lanturn allows clients to enjoy various advantages:

  • Handling extensive appeals. Save up on costs associated with reprocessing applications that can cause employers to incur additional fees and delay hiring timelines, impacting productivity and business operations.

  • Cost-effective efficiency. Availing immigration services with fair, transparent pricing allows businesses to budget accurately and avoid unexpected expenses associated with in-house processing.

  • Increased success rate. Those who have a proven track record of securing successful applications, like Lanturn who has more than 95% approval rate, can significantly improve the chances of obtaining an EP compared to relying on internal resources with limited experience.

Case Studies presented by Lanturn

A leading expert in immigration solutions

Securing an EP for Dual Roles: Director and Shareholder

The client is a foreign entrepreneur seeking to establish a new venture in a foreign country. With extensive experience and expertise in their industry, the client was determined to play a pivotal role in the growth and development of their own business.

Applying for an Employment Pass as a company founder poses unique challenges. The authorities often scrutinize such applications more rigorously, as they need to ensure that the individual's role within the company is essential and cannot be easily filled by hiring local talent.

The Lanturn immigration team understood the importance of presenting a strong case for the client's EP application. They conducted a thorough analysis of the client's background, qualifications, and the specific needs of the company. The team assisted the client in collating the documents that would address MOM concerns and pave proof of the client's value proposition. The partner, Veremark, ensured they acquired the verification proofs as timely as possible. This allowed the team to craft a compelling narrative that highlighted the client's unique skills and the significant impact they would have on the company's success.

While rejections are not uncommon for similar applications, the team not only successfully assisted the client in obtaining the EP but also secured Dependant Passes (DP) for their family members. Notably, the applications received approval within an impressively short turnaround time of just five working days.

Company Incorporation and EP Application of a DP Holder

The client held a DP under their spouse's EP. The client aimed to establish their own company and take on a key role within it. However, as a DP holder, the client faced unique challenges in navigating the incorporation process and obtaining an EP.

One of the primary challenges the client encountered was the limited scope of activities permitted for DP holders. Additionally, the client desired the flexibility and autonomy of holding their own EP.

Lanturn’s immigration team devised a tailored strategy to help the client achieve their goals swiftly and efficiently. The team leveraged their deep understanding of the incorporation process and EP application requirements to streamline the entire journey. They fostered open communication with the client in acquiring information and documents to expedite the process.

Through the dedicated efforts and efficient approach of the Lanturn team, the client effortlessly navigated both company incorporation and EP application, securing both simultaneously.

Conclusion

When necessary knowledge and resources are lacking, the process may become more time-consuming and costly. Therefore, businesses and individuals must seek expert immigration assistance to ensure a smooth and successful application process.

Despite the initial cost associated with immigration services, the potential cost savings, increased efficiency, and improved success rate often outweigh this initial investment. Acquiring expert assistance can prove advantageous for those seeking to navigate the complex EP application process under COMPASS.

For businesses and individuals aiming to streamline their background screening process, Veremark is an excellent resource. For incorporation and immigration needs, Lanturn is a reliable solution, more details can be found on their website.

A Whitepaper by Lanturn

Sources:

  1. https://slash.co/articles/5-tips-to-choose-the-best-staffing-agency-in-singapore-and-other-south-east-asia/

  1. https://www.roberthalf.com.sg/press/slow-hiring-times-may-cause-singaporean-companies-miss-out-top-it-talent

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FAQs

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FAQs

What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

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MOM education verification: a guide for all employers

A guide for all employers in Singapore

Singapore’s booming economy entices thousands of overseas professionals to its shores every year. Its role as the financial hub in Asia, and its ability to weather the storms of the global financial crisis and the COVID pandemic has seen its popularity rise.

Regarded as a safe country, with a stable economy and no foreign debt - Singapore is prosperous, peaceful, and innovative. Widely regarded as an attractive place to work, almost half the population of the island are immigrants.

With this influx of talent, the country has had to make adjustments to the way it accepts new workers from abroad. In this guide we’ll explore the rise of Singapore as a desirable place to live and work, the problems it has faced with this rise in interest from international visitors, and new regulations that all employers in Singapore need to know about.

This guide explores:

- Singapore's foreign worker problem and the rise of diploma fraud

- The requirements needed to work in Singapore as a employee from overseas

- The new regulations introduced by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM)

- Third-party verification on education credentials

- New two-stage eligibility framework (Salary + COMPASS)

- MOM's collaboration with Veremark

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