How the new Compass evaluation for Employment Pass applications works

The Compass assessment is the second part of a two-stage evaluation. In addition, a candidate has to meet the minimum EP qualifying salary. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - From September 2023, new applications for an Employment Pass (EP) need to score at least 40 points under the Complementarity Assessment Framework (Compass) requirement.

For renewals, this assessment will kick in from September 2024.

The Compass assessment is the second part of a two-stage evaluation. The other requirement is that a candidate has to meet the minimum EP qualifying salary.

Under Compass, four "foundational" criteria are assessed. They are an individual's salary and qualifications, as well as the firm's workforce diversity and support for local employment.

For each criterion, 20 points are awarded to applications that exceed expectations, 10 points to those that meet expectations, and zero points for those that do not meet expectations.

Lower points on one criterion can be made up for with higher points on another.

Notably, smaller firms with fewer than 25 professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) will automatically be scored as "meeting expectations" on the two firm-related attributes.

Extra points are given for candidates in a job where skills shortages exist, such as artificial intelligence developers and cyber-security specialists.

But this does not mean that every firm seeking to fill such roles will score these extra points. For example, points will be lost if a candidate's nationality already makes up a third or more of the firm's existing PMET workforce.

Meanwhile, firms that partner the Government on ambitious innovation and internationalisation activities can score 10 bonus points.

That said, an EP application that fails to score bonus points can still chalk up enough points, for example, if it "meets expectations" for each of the four foundational criteria.

On the other hand, if an application fares below expectations in some areas, it can make up for lost ground by exceeding expectations on other criteria, or by scoring bonus points.

For instance, an application that "meets expectations" for just one foundational criterion - say qualifications - will score only 10 points. This is not enough.

However, it can still pass the 40-point requirement if it somehow manages to rack up an additional 30 points through both the skills and strategic economic priorities bonuses.

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