Employers in Singapore face new rules on expats

by Ray Clancy on August 8, 2014

New regulations in Singapore mean that all employers doing business in the country must consider native applicants for job vacancies.

Under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) which came into being this month, all employment, hiring and staff development must be open, merit based and non-discriminatory.

singapore flag

Employers will now have to consider Singaporean nationals before looking to expats

According to some recruitment experts, it could affect the number of jobs available to expats, particularly in the financial sector where a large number of overseas professionals are employed.

Firms must advertise their vacancies on a government job bank for two weeks before they can be opened up to expats. After the two week period, they can hire the most qualified candidate regardless of nationality.

“Advertising on the Jobs Bank will benefit both Singaporean job seekers and employers, as it facilitates better matching of vacancies with job seekers. Employers will have access to a larger pool of potential candidates and Singaporeans will have better visibility of job openings,” said a Ministry of Manpower spokesman.

Some jobs are exempt from the new rules, most notably vacancies in firms with 25 or fewer employees, jobs that pay a fixed monthly salary of S$12,000 and above and jobs that are short term contracts of not more than one month.

Overall, there is to be more scrutiny. ‘Regardless of whether the job vacancies are exempted from the advertising requirement, firms found to have nationality-based or other discriminatory HR practices will face additional scrutiny and could have their work pass privileges curtailed,’ the spokesman added.

The Ministry of Manpower and other government agencies will also identify and engage firms that may have scope to improve their hiring and career development practices. ‘These firms may include those that have a disproportionately low concentration of Singaporeans at the PME level compared to others in their industry, or subject to substantiated complaints of nationality based or other discriminatory HR practices. Such firms will be asked to provide additional information,’ the spokesman explained.

Firms could be asked about the nationalities of their employees, recruitment processes, staff grievance handling procedures, framework for staff progression and plans to develop local internal staff to take on more senior roles.

‘Firms with shortcomings in their HR practices will be required to propose and implement an action plan to address these shortcomings. The action plan should include a plan for the firm to attract, develop, and retain Singaporeans in their workforce over time,’ the spokesman added.

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