Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Singapore launches new M-SEP scheme allowing firms to hire more S-pass and work permit holders

Singapore is one of the world’s most dynamic cities, with various industries and business opportunities attracting expats from all walks of life, as well as top-notch entertainment venues, restaurants, green spaces, schooling options, and more. With that said, the government has tried to cap the number of expats who can legally get an S-Pass or work permit in order to encourage local employment. In this Pacific Prime Singapore article, we’ll quickly go over the existing rules and outline how the new M-SEP scheme changes things. 

S-Pass and work permit in Singapore

There are different types of passes and work permits for foreign workers in Singapore. Mid-level skilled staff from all nationalities should apply for an S-Pass, as long as they have a relevant degree, diploma, or specialized technical certificate. Years of work experience and a job that pays at least SGD $2,400 are also required. On the other hand, semi-skilled foreign workers from a pre-approved list of countries are eligible for a work permit. Target industries are usually labor-intensive ones and there’s no minimum qualifying salary. 

A word about the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) and Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC)

The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) encourages all Singapore-based employers to consider local applicants fairly and reasonably before hiring non-locals. What’s more, they must advertise job vacancies on for at least 28 days. In addition to this, they must adhere to the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC), which are percentage quotes placed on each industry regarding how many expats should make up the company’s total workforce. 

Further reading: Your guide to Singapore Work Permits, S Pass, and Employment Pass 

New M-SEP scheme to expand access to foreign workers

To support the growth of businesses that contribute to Singapore’s strategic economic priorities, the city-state has recently launched the M-SEP or Manpower for Strategic Economic Priorities Scheme, which gives firms some flexibility to temporarily hire more foreign workers above their quota for their given industry in a two-year period. The two conditions for firms include the following:

Condition 1: This condition stipulates that firms must participate in at least one of Singapore’s key economic priorities. These are either investments that support Singapore’s hub strategy, innovation or research and development (R&D), or internationalization efforts. 

Condition 2: This condition stipulates that firms must commit to hiring or training their local workforce. They can either increase their net hiring of locals, conduct workforce training that results in job enhancements, or be an industry leader with training excellence.

Firms that are interested to apply for this M-SEP scheme can submit an application and required supporting documents via the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM’s) website. Applications will then be assessed by the relevant economic agencies. At renewal time, firms will also be able to show that they have met the two commitments by the end of the M-SEP support period. 

Get in touch with Pacific Prime Singapore for all things employee benefits today!

As a global health insurance brokerage, with over two decades of industry experience, Pacific Prime Singapore works with a number of organizations of various sizes and industries in the city-state. We are experts in employee benefits, as well as keep our finger on the pulse regarding the latest Singapore labor laws and regulations, in order to support organizations reach their talent attraction and retention goals.

Whether or not your organization already has an employee benefits package in place, you’re more than welcome to get in touch with us. We use a tailored, technology-driven approach that can help you design, manage, and optimize your employee benefits program. Reach out to a member of our corporate team today!

Get an Insurance quote banner

Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral