Singaporean job-seekers to get ‘fair consideration’ under new employment requirements

Out-Law News | 17 Jul 2014 | 4:33 pm | 1 min. read

New requirements to ensure employers give “fair consideration” to Singaporeans applying for jobs in the city state take effect from 1 August 2014.

Under the ‘fair consideration framework’, employers will be required to advertise vacancies on the Singapore government’s publicly-accessible ‘Jobs Bank’ for a minimum of 14 days before submitting an application for an employment pass (EP), a work permit for foreign professionals working in managerial, executive or specialised posts.

Singapore’s manpower ministry (MOM) said the scheme will ensure employers put in place “fair employment, hiring and staff development practices that are open, merit-based and non-discriminatory”.

Firms that submit EP applications prior to the close of the 14-day advertising period will be unable to proceed with EP applications. “After the advertising period, the firm can hire the most qualified candidate, regardless of nationality,” MOM said.

“Advertising on the Jobs Bank will benefit both Singaporean job-seekers and employers, as it facilitates better matching of vacancies with job-seekers,” MOM said. “Employers will have access to a larger pool of potential candidates and Singaporeans will have better visibility of job openings.”

Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: “The changes are seen in the context of concerns about employment opportunities for locals. The advertising requirements allow suitable job seekers to gain access to available employment opportunities.”

MOM has exempted certain jobs from the 14-day advertising requirement for “practical reasons”. These include jobs in firms with 25 employees or less, posts with a fixed monthly salary of 12,000 Singapore dollars ($9,700) and above, and posts to be filled by “intra-corporate transferees” (ICTs), such as the transfer of staff already in Singapore between related firms in Singapore.

ICTs include those holding senior positions in an organisation or with “an advanced level of expertise or jobs that are necessary for short-term contingencies”, such as a period of employment in Singapore for not more than one month, MOM said.

However, MOM said it “strongly encourages” all firms to advertise vacancies, “even if those jobs meet the requirement for exemption”. In addition, MOM has warned that firms found to have “nationality-based or other discriminatory human resources (HR) practices”, regardless of whether their vacancies are exempted from the advertising requirement, will face additional scrutiny and “could have their work pass privileges curtailed”.

In addition, MOM and other government agencies “will identify and engage firms that may have scope to improve their hiring and career development practices”, MOM said. These firms may include those that have a “disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans at the professional, managerial and executive level, compared to others in their industry, or subject to substantiated complaints of nationality-based or other discriminatory HR practices”. Such firms will be asked to provide additional information to MOM.