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Efforts to ensure a balanced playing field in the workforce has resulted in 2,600 employment passes (EPs) not being renewed in the first half of this year.
In Parliament yesterday, Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin, said “slightly more than half” of them were Q1 pass holders.
This refers to young graduates earning at least S$3,000 monthly and older applicants with higher salaries.
Tan explained the top industries for the affected EP holders came from wholesale and retail trade, professional services, and information and communications sector.
“This is likely due to the tightening of the EP qualifying criteria implemented in January 2012, as part of the government’s efforts to raise the quality profile of foreign professionals working here,” he said.
According to figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website, EP holders dipped from 172,100 in June this year, from 173,800 in December last year, and 175,400 in December 2011.
In January 2012, the qualifying minimum wage for a Q1 EP holder was raised from S$2,800 to S$3,000.
In September this year, MOM announced the qualifying salary would be raised to S$3,300 from January next year, depending on qualification and experience.
The minimum salary for P1 and P2 EP holders however, remained at S$8,000 and S$4,500 respectively.