Singapore enforces stricter rules on visa applications

By Phoebe Wong – Head of HR Outsourcing, Links International, Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have taken some new measures in order to control the number of foreigners living and working in Singapore.

These new measures include enforcing stricter rules and regulations on approving visas for foreigners.

The number of foreigners entering Singapore has increased significantly between 2011 and 2015, as evidenced by the below statistics taken from MOM.

The number of foreigners entering Singapore between 2011 and 2015.

As a result of the stricter rules and regulations on obtaining foreign visas, employers in Singapore have been facing quite a few challenges with regards to bringing in a foreign workforce. Between December 2011 and December 2015, the statistics show an increase of around 16% on the total foreign workforce.

At the same time, without the competition from foreign employees, local employees have a much wider selection of employers to choose from. Indirectly, employers often have to increase the salaries they are offering, in order to attract local employees, who tend to be quite selective. It therefore takes a lot longer to fill the vacancies and thus may also affect productivity. This is particularly true in the food and beverage industry, which normally attracts a lot of expats.

In order to better use internal manpower and increase the likelihood of visa applications for foreigners being accepted, some employers will engage the help of employment agencies to handle their visa applications.

The criteria for work visa applications includes the following:

  • Education certificate in relevant field
  • Work experience (total work experience and work experience gained in Singapore)
  • Salary (basic vs gross)

Links International specialises in HR Outsourcing, which includes visa application processing across Asia. When visa applications are outsourced to us, we will filter through the criteria and advise the suitable passes accordingly, so that the employer can look at an alternative arrangement.

Below is the table from the MOM of the different passes and who they are for:

Different types of visas in Singapore for professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers.
Different types of visas in Singapore for trainees, students and family members.

If you are looking to employ overseas or expatriate staff for your organisation, let us handle the administration of arranging their visas.

Take our 1-minute visa self-assessment to find out if your employee would be likely to obtain an employment visa.

For all enquiries related to payroll or visa outsourcing in Singapore and Southeast Asia, please feel free to contact me to discuss this further. For all Greater China enquiries, including Hong Kong and Macau, please contact Bella Khan.