In Singapore, Employment Passes (EPs) are issued based on an applicant’s qualifications, salary, and work experiences. They are subject to clear but strict rules, so not every application will be approved. Every application will be scrutinized by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which is the authority responsible for the approval of EPs.
Employment Pass holders are allowed to legally live and work in Singapore if they fulfill certain criteria. However, some may be rejected. Those who have experienced rejection would be best advised to understand the reasons behind the rejection of their EP application.
We at Paul Hype Page & Co manage many Employment Pass applications so that the applicants might receive approval from MOM. In this article, we will explain why an Employment Pass application might be rejected.
Before you proceed with reading this article, please browse these links to other pages on our website related to the EP:
Reasons for Rejection
MOM has been refining the criteria for work visa application for many years. It does so to control the influx of foreigners in Singapore. However, in most cases, MOM does not reveal the reasons behind an application rejection. Nevertheless, there are certain common causes of EP application rejection. The following paragraphs will provide details on some of them.
Job Scope and Qualifications Do Not Match
Educational background, working experience, salary demands, and market demand for certain jobs and skills are considered by MOM before it decides on approving or rejecting an application. Thus, those whose education and experience are not commensurate with the job requirements will be rejected. Just as is the case with all employers, MOM will only approve those who possess skills corresponding to the job which they plan to take. Such is also true of degree holders whose degree is unrelated to their job. Such EP applicants will also experience rejection.
Employer Hired Too Many Foreigners in Proportion to Locals
It is mandatory for all companies and employers to prioritize the hiring of locals before attempting to hiring any foreigners. The government of Singapore believes that doing so will protect the Singaporeans in the workforce. For this reason, the government requires a genuine reason from the employer for the hiring of any foreigners. Not only does MOM insist on an acceptable justification from the employer on why they hired a foreigner, it also demands proof that locals have indeed been considered and interviewed as well as information on why their skills did not match the job profile. Employers whose reasons do not satisfy MOM will have their employees’ EP applications rejected.
MOM stands firmly against companies with unfair hiring practices. It only accepts employees of companies with balanced foreigner-to-local employee ratios when it reviews any Employment Pass application. Companies with disproportionate numbers of foreign employees who are also uninterested in hiring and promoting the growth and welfare of the local labor force are less likely to obtain Employment Passes for their foreign employees.
This policy which is promoted by MOM is aligned with the principles of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). The FCF is a guideline introduced by MOM which requires all companies to fairly consider Singaporeans in their hiring process. Its rules mandate that employers are obliged to advertise a vacant role in the Jobs Bank for at least 14 days before the position can be filled. MOM will closely track if employers did indeed review and consider all the applications that were submitted in response to the job advertisement. Those who did not do so will make it less likely that their employees will receive an EP. MOM believes that these regulations guarantee the competence of the company or employer. It also considers those which have not hired any locals to be a detriment to the country instead of an asset because they are seen as having actively weakened the country’s labor force and economy.
MOM also considers if other job channels or recruitment portals other than the Jobs Bank were utilized in the hiring process as well as the number and nationality of the candidates who have applied for the job. MOM divides people by three broad groups of nationality: Singapore citizens, Singapore permanent residents, and foreigners.