Monday, October 3, 2022

Singapore to ensure new work pass for talent recruitment is not abused: Min

Singapore will put in place safeguards to ensure that a new work pass for top talent recruitment from around the world is not abused, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng assured Parliament on Monday.
The new work pass will allow high-earners and high-achievers to live in the country without having to secure a job first.
Tan’s remarks came as he delivered a ministerial statement on Monday on strengthening Singapore’s position as a global hub for talent. There were 24 parliamentary questions raised seeking more details on new schemes to attract global talent, and on Singapore’s efforts to develop local talent, according to a report by Channel News Asia.
Singapore will launch new Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass for talent earning at least SGD 30,000 (Rs 17,09,660) in fixed monthly salary, comparable to the top 5 per cent of existing Employment Pass holders, or with outstanding achievements in arts and culture, sports, and research and academia. This scheme starts on January 1, 2023.
Tan pointed out that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) was already conducting back-end checks to sieve out potential cases of false salary declarations.
This includes scrutinising applications from companies with a limited track record and asking for more documents to verify that the salary declared will be paid. This will be applied to all Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass applications.
For those seeking to convert from an existing employment pass, the ministry will scrutinise their income tax filings with the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore to ensure the taxes filed are consistent with their application.
For overseas candidates, the ministry will further assess their company’s market capitalisation and revenue based on verifiable sources. The economic agencies will support MOM in this, said Tan.
After the application is approved, the ministry will continue to engage the pass holders during their time in Singapore.
The pass will be for five years, compared to the current two years for new Employment Pass (EP) applicants, and it is not tied to a job role in Singapore. The pass holders can concurrently work for a few companies or start their own business.
They can sponsor their dependents and their spouses can work with a letter of consent.
Tan said: “(These individuals) can help us push new frontiers, draw in greater investments and interest to grow our local ecosystem, and most importantly, create a diverse range of opportunities for Singaporeans.”
Giving an example in sports, Tan said such talent would include current and former world-class top-ranked athletes who may wish to set up commercial operations or training bases in Singapore, from which local athletes, coaches and the sports ecosystem here can benefit.
“Let me be very clear. The Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass is not meant to be abused as a visit or travel document,” said Dr Tan. “MOM reserves the right to cancel the pass if there are extended periods of economic inactivity with no good reasons.”
But Tan said that the top talent on this pass are given flexibilities because MOM wants to encourage them to “take risks, explore new frontiers and make a big impact to benefit Singapore”.
“It is important to allow them some ramp-up period for that to happen, and not be too quick to jump to the conclusion that they are not contributing,” he said.
Other flexibilities that the pass holders will enjoy are that there are no restrictions on the occupations they can work in, and their spouses can work with a letter of consent.
Tan said that the longer five-year duration of the pass, as well as the letter of consent (LOC) for spouses, is meant to give top talent “additional assurance” when they are deciding whether to come to Singapore.
“Businesses tell us that these are key factors top talent consider when deciding where to go,” he said.