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Singapore’s Stricter Enforcement On Fair Employment Practices - When Hiring An Employment Pass (EP) Holder

Singapore strengthens the application and enforcement of its FAIR EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES to govern the workplace and recruitment process

Basis of Fair Employment Practices in Singapore

What are fair employment practices?

Fair employment practices consist of hiring practices and implementing workplaces that are fair, merit-based and non-discriminatory. The guiding principles are stated in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices that are formulated by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

Employers can follow principles to adopt fair employment practices by recruiting employees based on merit criterias (skills, experience), regardless of age, race, gender, religion, marital status or disability; by providing to all employees fair growth opportunities, as well as trainings based on their needs and rewards based on their performance and contribution.

 

The Tripartite Guidelines apply to the following employment practices:

  • Job advertisements, application forms and interviews
  • Grievance handling
  • Performance management
  • Dismissals and retrenchments

 

New prerequisites

A few years ago, to increase local employers' awareness and responsibility, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) started questioning employers’ recruitment methods and fair consideration of the Singapore’s workforce, when they were applying for an Employment Pass (EP) for foreign candidates.

This year, MOM has updated the EP application form, submitted directly by employers, so that they could clearly declare that they had fairly considered all candidates prior to submitting the EP application. MOM has also drafted a specific form for Employment Agencies (EAs), applying for EPs on behalf of employers, to get a signed declaration from the employer that all candidates had been fairly considered. 

In addition, the National Jobs Bank was officially launched in August 2014 by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to facilitate online job matching between local job seekers and employers. This job portal, now called mycareersfuture.sg, is exclusively accessible to candidates holding Singaporean citizenship and Permanent Residency status (PR) in Singapore. 

As a compulsory requirement, any company hiring a foreigner, from the 10th employee onwards (payroll headcounts), must post job vacancies on this website at least 14 calendar days, before being able to apply for an Employment Pass. This is to ensure that local candidates had been given the opportunity to be considered for the role.

 

Complying to guidelines

MOM urges all companies to observe and respect the Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices, to offer jobs fairly to Singaporeans, by advertising all openings in Singapore on local job boards from first employee onwards and not to “treat the job advertising requirement as a paper exercise”, said Manpower Minister’s Josephine Teo.

Controls and audits can be conducted randomly, and individuals can lodge a complaint to TAFEP if they suspect unfair hiring practices in favor of foreigners. In this case, recruiters may have to prove that locals were equally considered, and companies can end up on the government watch list of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF).

Being placed on this watch list means that the MOM will scrutinise these firms’ Employment Pass applications more closely. Their names will be removed from the list if they fully collaborate with TAFEP and show constant and prolonged efforts to recruit Singaporeans.

MOM has implemented much stricter penalties for companies who made false declarations to the Ministry, that they considered local candidates fairly when they did not, as well as for companies pre-selecting foreigners for positions and going through a scenarised job posting and/or omitting critical job requirements so there were no suitable local applicants. 

If convicted, offenders can be subjected to a fine of up to $20,000, and/or up to 2 years’ imprisonment.

Recent case of a company found guilty of pre-selecting a foreign candidate before placing a Jobs Bank posting and falsely declared that it had interviewed 2 Singaporean candidates, when it had not, has been charged and fined 20,000 S$. The company is also debarred from hiring any new foreign employees or renewing employment passes for the next 24 months. 

 

Update with current Covid-19 situation

With the drastic economic impact, especially on employment, Singapore Ministry of Manpower has reinforced guidelines for Fair Consideration and will push for more local hiring. For example, EP applications are only possible for candidates already based in Singapore.

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The French Chamber of Commerce holds an Employment Agency (EA) Licence (Number 10C4756), allowing us to service our clients in:

We commit to adhere to Fair Employment practices, and we play a consulting role to remind our clients about them. The latest regulations require an even closer partnership between clients, recruitment teams and visa applications agents, and the French Chamber is a one-stop solution for all.

With a 95% success rate on visa applications, and successful placements of both local and foreign talents, our professional team has developed a deep knowledge of MOM expectations that you can benefit from. 

Please contact us to appoint our services at bizsupport(@)fccsingapore.com

 

 

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