COMPASS

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While the Ministry had considered it, it was not included as "this is susceptible to inaccuracies, including possible fraud, especially if the bulk of the work was done overseas," Dr Tan See Leng shared.

In a Parliamentary question this week, Singapore's Minister for Manpower Dr Tan See Leng was asked if the points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) for employment pass (EP) applicants could be widened to include the number of years in relevant industry, as an alternative or additional criteria to enhance the competency-based assessment of candidates.

Responding in a written answer on Thursday (13 September 2022), Minister Tan shared that in designing it, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) carefully selected a set of criteria that would be "most impactful in achieving our objectives of selecting complementary foreign professionals, while incentivising employers to improve workforce diversity and build a strong Singaporean core."

The Ministry had, he added, considered but did not include a criterion on the EP candidate’s years of relevant industry experience, as this is susceptible to inaccuracies, including possible fraud, especially if the bulk of the work was done overseas.

He explained: "To prevent such inaccuracies, MOM would need to individually evaluate and verify the quality and relevance of a candidate’s experience. This would significantly increase the time taken to process and respond to applications, and still contain an element of risk.

"Instead, COMPASS assesses the salary that the company is willing to pay the candidate since it reflects the candidate’s market worth and would correlate with their work experience."

On that note, the Minister affirmed that COMPASS also includes other measures of an individual's complementarity beyond salary:

  • The qualifications criterion offers a standardised as well as a more verifiable measure of a candidate’s calibre.
  • The Shortage Occupation List recognises candidates filling skills in shortage with bonus points.
  • To holistically evaluate an EP application, COMPASS also places emphasis on other firm-related attributes, such as the diversity of a firm’s workforce and their support for local PMET employment.

"In developing COMPASS, MOM was mindful not to include too many criteria, as doing so would dilute the impact of each criterion and increase administrative complexity for businesses.

"On the whole, we believe that the set of six COMPASS criteria meaningfully recognises key aspects of complementarity of EP candidates and their hiring companies," he concluded.

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