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The Impact of Singapore Tightens Work Visa Rules

Posted on September 2020

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The Singapore government is increasing the minimum salary level for Employment Passes (EPs) in Singapore on December 1st. How will this impact the financial services job market?

Who Holds Singapore Employment Pass?

"We see clients try to reserve Employment Passes for more senior employees, and for roles that require very niche skills," says Natasha Madhavan, team lead for governance and technology at Selby Jennings. "A lot of our clients operate within the Financial Trading and FinTech space. They look for skills such as SRE/DevOps and AI/Machine Learning which have traditionally been more developed in the West. Previously, we saw a lot of firms search for talent from the tech cities of New York and California, and try to move their talent to Singapore."

Technologists account for a high proportion of overseas employees in banking – including developers and IT support. However, these roles tend to generate a starting salary of less than S$5k. Hence, we foresee that the Banks will struggle to hire talent in this space because of the change in EP requirements from December. Our advice to all banks is to look at local and PR talent who might not have traditionally hit the mark on skills. But hire them at the more junior level, invest that extra money that would have been put into salaries to train them.

How are Banks in Singapore Responding to The New Regulations?

Since March, we have seen banks making a significant effort to look at Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs). A lot of roles based in Singapore are regional. With the travel restrictions, it has also become harder for international talent to move to Singapore. 

Also, prior to this new regulation, MOM has placed 30 financial services and professional services employers on a watch list. These firms are potentially discriminatory hiring practices after MOM found that they had a large concentration of foreign staff from single nationalities. Banks are well alert and pretty aligned with the #SGUnited campaign - which is focused on local hire.

To read the original article, please visit eFinancial Careers.

Understand How to Hire the Best Local Talent

We have been working closely with financial services clients with the new MOM regulations. If you want to understand more on hiring for the best local talent, speak to us.

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