MOM has clarified questions on conflicting verification results and the regularity of reviewing selecting background screening companies, while sharing a plan to help employers with a smooth transition.
Now that it has finalised its list of 12 background screening firms for Employment Pass (EP) credential checks, Singapore's Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has shared more details for employers to note.
In response to a Parliamentary question on 5 July 2023 (Wednesday), the Ministry touched on the frequency of reviewing background screening companies, the concern of conflicting verification results, the selection criteria for the 12 companies selected, and its plans to ensure a smooth implementation for employers who may be unfamiliar with the new guidelines and processes.
As announced earlier in the year, MOM will require employers submitting new EP applications to provide verification proof for diploma-level and above qualifications from 1 September 2023 for the Complementarity Assessment (COMPASS) Framework. To do this, employers can either use background screening companies that are listed on MOM’s website, or online verification portals of local governments or educational institutions, or submit digital certificates verified through the OpenCerts portal.
In putting together the list of 12 background screening companies, MOM conducted an Expression of Interest exercise in April 2023. In the selection process, the 12 companies were carefully selected by a panel comprising representatives from MOM, tripartite partners, business and HR associations, and they will be subject to regular MOM checks and annual reviews by the panel. Those that fail to meet MOM’s requirements, quality and service standards at any point will be removed from the listing.
In the verification process of qualification, inaccurate or conflicting verification results will be resolved through the companies explanation of the discrepancies upon request from MOM and to audit their verification process, including their correspondences with the institutions, to ensure the accuracy of the verification checks.
In addition, MOM revealed the selection criteria used to pick the 12 background screening companies. The companies were assessed based on the following criteria:
a) Scale of operations and geographical coverage,
b) Cost of verification services,
c) Time taken to verify qualifications,
d) Processes to ensure accuracy of verifications,
e) Capabilities for customer support, and
f) Processes to protect confidentiality of client information.
Looking forward, MOM plans to take various steps to ensure a smooth implementation of the new requirement for employers. Apart from linking out to the 12 companies' websites to redirect employers to more information, MOM said it has also required these companies to have a dedicated page on their websites for employers to understand the coverage, cost, and processing time of their verification services.
Additionally, MOM will require the companies to follow the processing times they have declared in their proposals to MOM; and lastly, the Ministry aims to work with the associations represented in the panel to educate employers on the new requirement.
Catch up on our COMPASS updates ahead of the 1 September implementation:
- A comprehensive guide to Singapore's new COMPASS scoring system for EP applications & renewals
- Singapore's COMPASS system: Bonus criteria details released ahead of 1 Sep roll-out
- How Singapore evaluates occupations for its COMPASS Shortage Occupation List
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