New Employment Pass COMPASS Announced 1 Sep 2023

April 15, 2023

New Employment Pass COMPASS Announced 1 Sep 2023

Singapore’s COMPASS system: Bonus criteria details

EP applicants filling an occupation on the Shortage Occupation List can earn up to 20 bonus points on COMPASS, “giving firms greater certainty when hiring”, the Ministry of Manpower shared.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has released details on its Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), namely the two bonus criteria — the skills bonus (criterion five) and the strategic economic priorities bonus (criterion six).

Objective of the new COMPASS

On March 4th, 2022, the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) updated its immigration policy, aligning it with Singapore’s aim to improve the skills and job prospects of citizens and permanent residents. The updated policy will also provide more clarity and certainty to employers regarding their employment matters. MoM affirmed its objective of prioritizing foreign workers to fill in the local workforce gap rather than cut costs.

How COMPASS for Employment Pass works

The new COMPASS framework will come in addition to the qualifying salary and consist of a point-based system to assess eligibility to the Employment Pass. Based on 6 criteria the scoring systems awards 0, 10 and 20 points per criterion, respectively corresponding to “does not meet expectations”, “Meet expectations” and “Exceeds expectations”.

Key Points:

Beginning Sept. 1, 2023, COMPASS will evaluate EP applications on a points-based system using four main categories:
•  Salary. Applications earn points by meeting benchmarks for local PMET salaries specific to the company’s classified sector.
•  Qualifications. Applicants will earn points based on if their qualifications were received at a top-tier institution, have a degree-equivalent   qualification or if there is no degree equivalent. A list of top-tier institutions is available here.
•  Diversity. COMPASS awards more points to applications when the candidate’s nationality is from a small share of the company’s PMET employees. No points are earned if the company is applying to bring in a candidate whose nationality is already a significant share of its PMET employees.
•  Support for local employment. Applications earn more points if the company has a relatively higher share of locals among PMET employees compared to other companies in the same sector.
•  Applicants can receive bonus points if the job is on the skills shortages list or if the company partners with the government on strategic economic   priorities.
 COMPASS rewards zero, 10 or 20 points for each category based on whether the application does not meet, meets or exceeds expectations.     Applicants who receive at least 40 points will be approved. 

Criterion five: Skills bonus

As Singapore aims to seize new economic opportunities, the government acknowledges the need for skilled talent to fill these roles. It collaborates closely with education and training institutes, as well as tripartite partners, to develop a local pipeline by training local graduates and reskilling mid-career workers for these jobs. However, due to limited local workforce and global competition for talent, there is also a need to complement the local workforce with foreign manpower, as highlighted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Shortage Occupation List (SOL)

To address this, MOM and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) have developed the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which identifies occupations that require highly specialized skills that are currently in short supply in the local workforce. The SOL is developed through a thorough evaluation process in consultation with sector agencies and tripartite partners. Occupations listed in the SOL must be strategically important to Singapore’s economic priorities and exhibit a significant labor shortage due to skills gaps.

One important consideration in placing an occupation on the SOL is a strong commitment by the sector agency to work with the industry in developing the local pipeline. This includes collaborating with Singapore’s institutes of higher learning to equip graduates with the necessary skills for the job and implementing programs to upskill and reskill locals who are already in the sector or in adjacent roles. This commitment aims to address labor shortages over time and ensure a sustainable supply of skilled talent in the identified occupations.

The list will be reviewed every three years, but MOM will retain the flexibility to add or remove occupations annually if required by market conditions. The inaugural SOL include

Frontier Technology

  • AI scientist/engineer
  • Applications/systems programmer
  • Cloud specialist
  • Cyber risk specialist
  • Cybersecurity architect
  • Cybersecurity operations specialist
  • Data scientist
  • Digital forensics specialist
  • Penetration testing specialist
  • Product manager (digital)
  • Software and applications manager (technical lead/supervisor)
  • Software developer
  • Web and mobile applications developer

Green Economy

  • Carbon project/program manager
  • Carbon standards and methodology analyst
  • Carbon trader
  • Carbon verification and audit specialist

Financial Services

  • Financial/investment adviser (ultra-high/high net worth, family office & philanthropy)

Skills Qualifications You can earn to accumulate COMPASS POINTS

Frontier Technology

Masters in Cyber Security

Masters in Data Analytics

Masters in Artificial Intelligence

Business and ESG

MBA in Sustainable Business Strategy


Masters in Global Financial Management

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