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Singapore's Latest Global Talent Policy Changes and Work Passes | Interview with Singapore Global Network

Andrew McNeilis, our Managing Director, Asia Pacific has interviewed with Singapore Global Network to give his view on the latest policy changes announced on 29 August 2022 (including the new Overseas Networks & Expertise pass), and what opportunities they bring in a post-pandemic world.

Singapore recently announced a slew of policy changes aimed at attracting top foreign talent. This includes the introduction of the Overseas Networks & Expertise pass, a five-year visa for top talent. This supplements its existing passes, including the EntrePass and the Tech Pass.

Here’s breaking down what this means for talent looking to move to Singapore and businesses looking to attract top talent. 

The benefits of the Overseas Networks & Expertise pass 

Five years of stability

Singapore is seen as the gateway to Asia Pacific and the respective economies within the region. Therefore the Overseas Networks & Expertise pass, once it kicks in on 1 January 2023, will be very appealing to firms seeking to attract top talent.  

The pass allows for five years of stability, meaning professionals considering the move to Singapore who have family will have a timeframe of certainty to plan their relocation within. Should they decide to renew their pass, there is also a possibility of extending it by another five years, subject to eligibility criteria. In addition, spouses will be able to obtain a Letter of Consent (LOC), which permits them to work in Singapore.

A fast turnaround time

There is also the fact that the Overseas Networks & Expertise pass approval is meant to be very quick – within 4 weeks. There is no need for Complementarity Assessment COMPASS Framework nor the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirements, meaning a speedy turnaround. This is hugely beneficial to companies as they can get ahead in such a competitive talent market.  

Progression talent within Singapore

The Overseas Networks & Expertise pass enables talent to move technically under their own means to employers. For those businesses, they will need to be hot on ensuring they offer senior, high-performing talent a great employment experience because of the autonomy the pass brings professionals. The reality is that the best talent has lots of options and the five-year timeframe of the pass, plus the ability to renew, means that businesses can secure talent long term, paving the way for career progression also within Singapore.

Other policies change to secure talent

Besides the latest initiative of the Overseas Networks & Expertise pass, Singapore has also been applying significant policy changes that eases international talent movements into Singapore.  

Singapore’s approach to hiring international talent and the corresponding visa policies in place have been incredibly dynamic in the true sense of the word. During Covid-19, the focus was on safe measures and job security for Singaporeans, and the reality was that during the pandemic hiring international talent was not an option.

Post-Covid-19 there has been an evolution. There is clearly a desire and acceptance that Singapore requires skills that are not yet present in the country, but for many businesses hiring locally is the first port of call. It makes commercial and practical sense, from a speed point of view but also for easier access and certainty.

Reducing Employment Pass processing time

For one, the processing time for Employment Pass has been reduced drastically to 10 business days. This short turnaround – approval or otherwise – is a huge help to businesses and should be applauded.

Increasing Employment Pass duration for tech professionals with skills in shortage

Secondly, the duration of Employment Pass for tech talent with in-demand skills, has been extended from the usual 2 years to 5 years. This refers to experienced professionals in tech occupations on the COMPASS shortage Occupation List – to be announced in the coming months – earning a fixed monthly salary of $10,500.

This is also a boon to companies looking to secure top talent for longer periods as it offers more stability to talent relocating to Singapore. Things will also become clearer when the shortage Occupation List is released in the coming months. 

Such policies have accelerated the ability to hire the right international talent swiftly. Delays can be incredibly detrimental to the hiring process, as both businesses and professionals want to be in an environment with maximum certainty and control.  

Business-critical talent are exposed to global opportunities and as a talent partner we must remind ourselves and the companies we represent that Singapore is competing for these professionals on a global basis. Amplifying speed and certainty is a crucial action.

The interview also covers advice on looking for career opportunities and tips on attracting business-critical talent in Singapore. Click here to read the full interview including the South-East Asia job market overview.

This article was originally published by the Singapore Global Network. At the Singapore Global Network, our mission is to build a global community with Singapore at its heart, and creating meaningful connections between members. Whether you are Singaporean, someone who has worked or lived in Singapore or simply interested in exploring opportunities here, we warmly invite you to join our 70,000-strong network of global professionals and friends.