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MOM Committee of Supply 2024: Singapore to raise minimum monthly qualifying salary for new EP applicants from 2025

MOM Committee of Supply 2024: Singapore to raise minimum monthly qualifying salary for new EP applicants from 2025

Those in the financial services sector will see a minimum of S$6,200 monthly, up from the current threshold of S$5,500, due to "higher wage norms".

Starting 1 January 2025, Singapore will be raising its minimum monthly qualifying salary for new Employment Pass (EP) applicants to S$5,600, up from S$5,000 currently. At the same time, those in the financial services sector will see a revised minimum of S$6,200 monthly, up from the current threshold of S$5,500, due to "higher wage norms". 

For EP renewals, the new qualifying salary will take effect a year later, on 1 January 2026.

This latest announcement by Manpower Minister Dr Tan See Leng in a series of updates at the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) Committee of Supply 2024 follows the last raise in EP qualifying salaries for new applicants in September 2022 by S$500. The minimum salaries for new Special Pass applicants were also increased at the time.

Minister Tan stated: "By regularly updating the qualifying salaries based on the set wage benchmarks, we ensure a level-playing field for locals."

As the Minister clarified, the qualifying salary for EP applicants is benchmarked to the top one-third of salaries for local professionals, managers, executives and technicians, and increases progressively with age — it does not lead market wages, but is "simply adjusted in line with prevailing wage norms".

There will be no adjustment to the S Pass qualifying salary and levy this year.

Minister Tan also provided an update on the Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass, launched in January 2023 to attract top global talent. The work pass allows high-earners and high-achievers to live in Singapore without having secured a job here. Although the minimum monthly salary for the pass is S$30,000, those with “outstanding achievements” in tech, arts, academia or sports may not need to meet that requirement.

As of 1 January 2024, nearly 4,200 ONE Pass applications have been approved. According to MOM, approvals were concentrated in growth sectors such as finance and information & communications technology.

Enabling Singaporeans to venture overseas and progress in their careers

In similar news, the government is introducing two initiatives for Singaporeans who want to gain work experience overseas, targeting hundreds of workers.

The Global Business Leaders Programme will support access to opportunities such as overseas posting and executive management programmes. Through this programme, MOM aims to help companies develop Singaporean corporate leaders.

Workforce Singapore will also launch the Overseas Market Immersion Programme to help firms that want to expand overseas by supporting them in sending employees with little to no overseas experience for overseas postings and other forms of training. This way, employees will benefit from reskilling through on-the-job, in-market training in global or regional roles offering good prospects, be it in technology, business development or beyond.

Minister Tan further affirmed that businesses will also be better positioned to expand and compete in overseas markets, with a strong globally oriented team. The OMIP will provide financial support to the companies.

More details are expected to be released in the middle of the year.

Evolving the work permit framework to spur business

As Minister Tan attested, Work Permit Holders are also a critical part of Singapore's labour force — in fact, the number of Work Permit Holders today has surpassed the COVID-19 levels in 2019 by 12.2%.

Moving forward, Minister Tan has announced efforts to improve the quality of Work Permit Holders to further spur business. As a first step, changes will be made to the foreign workforce policies in the marine shipyard sector.

Particularly, the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) for the marine shipyard sector will be gradually reduced from 1 January 2026. In its first stage, the quota will be reduced from 77.8% to 75%.

Simultaneously, the levies will also be adjusted; for ‘Basic Skilled’ R2 Marine Shipyard Work Permit Holders, the levy will be increased by S$100, from S$400 to S$500. For ‘Higher Skilled’ R1 Work Permit holders, the levy will be increased by a smaller amount of S$50, from S$300 to S$350.

Lead image / Ministry of Manpower

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