Singapore increases minimum salary requirements for foreign professionals

By Reuters   March 4, 2024 | 02:52 pm PT
Singapore increases minimum salary requirements for foreign professionals
People pass a departures flight information board at Changi Airport's Terminal Two in Singapore October, 2017. Photo by Reuters
Singapore will raise the salary criteria for foreign executives and professionals that companies can hire starting next year, the government announced on Monday.

From January next year, foreigners must earn S$5,600 ($4,170) or more a month - up from the current S$5,000 - to qualify for the so-called employment passes typically granted to high-paid professionals.

Those in the financial sector will have the qualifying salary hiked to S$6,200 from S$5,500.The manpower ministry said the move is meant to "ensure that EP (employment pass) holders are of high quality, and to maintain a level playing field for locals".

The Southeast Asian financial hub has long been a popular location for foreign firms to base their regional headquarters, while foreign labour has been a thorny issue with the local population worried about competition for employment opportunities.

As of June last year, Singapore had 197,300 foreigners on employment passes out of a total foreign workforce of about 1.5 million.

The country has a population of 5.9 million.

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, the salary floor for hiring foreigners have been raised three times with the previous adjustment - from S$4,500 to S$5,000 - taking effect just in September last year.

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