Global mobility

The Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

Adrian Sham
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Singapore's Ministry of Manpower will be implementing a points-based evaluation system for Employment Pass applications starting from September 2023 under the new Complementarity Assessment Framework which assesses applicant- and employer-based criteria such as salary, qualifications, diversity and support for local employment.

From September 2023, new Employment Pass (EP) applications not only have to meet higher salary thresholds, but also score enough points under the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) new points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).

For more information on the higher salary threshold, read our commentary on the Singapore Budget 2022.

How does COMPASS work?

Applications are scored on 4 foundational criteria and applicants and employers will earn points if they meet/exceed expectations.

Additionally, they can earn additional points on bonus criteria under skill shortage list and strategic economic priorities. Applicant will require 40 points to pass.

Please refer to table by the MOM below on how the scoring works.

Graphic: MOM


Key points to take note of

The current Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) job advertising requirement will continue to apply.

Candidates are exempted from COMPASS if they fulfil any of these conditions:

  • Earning at least SGD20,000 fixed monthly salary
  • Filling a short term role of one month or less
  • Applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services or an applicable Free Trade Agreement that Singapore is party to

Firms with less than 25 Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMET) will automatically score 10 points on the Diversity and Support for Local Employment attributes by default.

MOM will pilot the Global Rotation Scheme to address employers’ concern on bringing in young, high-potential employees to Singapore under their global leadership program.

The scoring rubric will be published on MOM’s website, allowing employers to obtain the indicative scores for each application before submission. MOM will progressively roll out educational materials and further details on specific criteria.

COMPASS will only apply to renewal cases starting from September 2024 to give sufficient time for employers to adjust and plan.

Adrian Sham, Employer Solutions Partner at Grant Thornton Singapore says, "We welcome the introduction of a points-based COMPASS system to bring more clarity and transparency when looking to bring foreign talent into Singapore.

"MOM’s previously assessment was intentionally vague to prevent applicants from “gaming” the system but it also provided uncertainty and challenges to employers and employees.

"The new COMPASS system means that employers will be able to identify areas where the employer can improve to increase the certainty of bringing their foreign talent into Singapore."


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