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Out-Law News 1 min. read

Expanding Singapore companies can hire more S Pass, work permit holders

Singapore has launched a new scheme under which certain companies with expansion plans will be able to hire more foreign workers above the quota for their industry in a two-year period.

The scheme is called Manpower for Strategic Economic Priorities (M-SEP) and was launched by Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Companies must fulfil two conditions to be eligible. Condition 1 requires that companies participate in programmes or activities in line with a named ‘key economic priority’ of Singapore. These are either investments which support Singapore’s hub strategy, innovation or research and development (R&D); or internationalisation.

Condition 2 requires companies to commit to hire or train local workers. To fulfil this condition, companies must commit to increase their net hiring of locals, conduct workforce training resulting in job enhancements, or be an industry leader with training excellence.

Mayumi Soh of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, said: “It will be interesting to see whether local companies would be eager to participate in this scheme, and in particular, which sector would be most eager to jump on this bandwagon.”

Eligible companies will be able to obtain additional S Pass and Work Permit quotas of up to 5% above their base workforce headcount, up to a maximum of 50 people per company. These additional flexibilities granted under the M-SEP scheme will last for two years upon enrolment.

To be eligible for M-SEP renewal, companies must show that they have met the two commitments by the end of the M-SEP support period. They will also have to maintain the share of local workers during the same period. Companies which fail to do so will be suspended from the scheme for two years.

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