Mastering COMPASS in Singapore: Your Essential Guide

Mastering COMPASS in Singapore

In Singapore’s dynamic business environment, embracing workforce diversity is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage. As companies strive to build a multifaceted team of talents, staying abreast of the latest regulatory frameworks becomes crucial. One pivotal change businesses need to note is the introduction of COMPASS or the Complementarity Assessment Framework, a comprehensive assessment framework for Employment Pass (EP) eligibility. 

This transformation underscores the need for companies to be well-informed and prepared to avoid operational disruptions. This blog serves as an essential guide, offering insights and practical advice on leveraging COMPASS for maintaining a diverse and compliant workforce. Whether you’re a seasoned business leader or new to the intricacies of Singapore’s employment landscape, this guide will equip you with the knowledge to seamlessly integrate COMPASS into your hiring strategy, ensuring your business continues to thrive in this ever-evolving ecosystem.

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What is COMPASS?

Effective from 1 September 2023, this new system launched by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) brings a structured, points-based approach to assess foreign professional talent. For passes expiring from 1 September 2024, COMPASS will apply upon renewal. 

COMPASS aims to enable companies to employ highly-skilled foreign talent while ensuring workforce diversity and a robust local core. 

Who is Eligible? 

To be able to qualify for EP applications, candidates need to pass a two-stage eligibility framework, according to the MOM.   

COMPASS Stage 1: EP qualifying salary 

Candidates must meet the salary requirement of at least S$5,000 for all sectors except financial services. It increases progressively with age, starting from age 23. For age 45 and above, the EP qualifying salary is S$10,500. 

For those in the financial services sector, the minimum salary requirement is S$5,500, increasing progressively from age 23 to S$11,500 at age 45 and above. 

Once a candidate has met the salary requirements for stage one, they can move on to stage two of the framework. 

COMPASS Stage 2

An applicant must garner a minimum of 40 points. The applicants earn points on whether they meet or exceed expectations in the assessment process based on four foundational criteria: 

  1. Salary: The candidate’s salary will be benchmarked against the wages of local PMETs or Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians within the same sector.
  2. Qualifications: Candidates will be awarded points based on their qualifications, such as graduating from top-tier educational institutions and well-recognised professional qualifications. 
  3. Diversity: Points are awarded to candidates whose nationality forms a small share of the company’s PMET workforce.
  4. Support for Local Employment: Organisations that create opportunities for local employment through teams comprising both local and foreign professionals can earn points from this criteria. 

Plus, two bonus criteria: 

  1. Skills Bonus: Candidates can earn points if their role is on the Shortage Occupation List.
  2. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus: This recognises organisations undertaking investment, innovation, and internationalisation activities with economic agencies and/or endorsed by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) as vital partners in company and workforce transformation activities. 

Exemptions from COMPASS

There are also exemptions from COMPASS if: 

  • The candidate has a fixed monthly salary of at least S$22,500
  • The candidate is applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee 
  • The candidate is filling the role for only one month or less 

If your company seeks to hire foreign professionals, here are a few considerations to facilitate a smooth application process: 

  • What’s your ratio of local to foreign hires?
  • Are your salary offerings competitive in the market?
  • Do you recruit graduates from MOM-approved educational institutions?
  • Is the work experience directly applicable to the job?

As Singapore continues to be a top destination for foreign investors and professionals, your business must stay updated with the latest rules and regulations, especially if you want to maintain a diverse and skilled workforce. 

At U Ventures, we can guide you in planning and processing your hiring and recruitment needs in accordance with new regulations set by MOM. We can ensure that your business operations run smoothly as you build a diverse and competent workforce through our HR solutions

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