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Singapore’s new Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass could benefit the banking and finance sector, but only when it comes to recruiting for senior and niche roles.

The pass, which comes into effect from 1 January 2023, will be “personalised” for each applicant and will provide “greater employment flexibility”, according to the Ministry of Manpower. That’s because successful candidates are allowed to concurrently start, operate, and work for multiple companies at any one time. They are also not required to reapply for a new pass if they change jobs, with each pass having a duration of five years.

“The new pass will be seen as another option for recruiters and employers when they are considering hiring senior leadership for their companies,” said Sheree Hsu, associate director at Michael Page Singapore. “It shows Singapore’s commitment to bringing in senior level talent to make their economy an attractive and competitive place to live and work.”

Pass holders will not be subject to the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirement that roles are opened up to locals first. Nor will the upcoming Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) – which examines the nationality of a firm’s current staff members – apply. 

However, the high salary threshold (most candidates must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30k) means that the roles would largely be kept to senior level and leadership positions like CEO, CFO and CTO roles, says Dennis Wang, director at Univerz HR Consulting.

Wang foresees that investment banks and family offices will likely benefit the most from the new employment pass, but “does not expect the level of hiring to be too large scale”.

Hsu predicts that banks and financial services firms might also end up securing passes for technology functions and other niche, specific skillsets (such as senior leadership in wealth management) that “may not be easily found on the ground already”.

While it is true that there are now more candidates for employers to choose from, the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass “does not necessarily make it easier for foreign candidates to move to Singapore”, given that most roles which companies are recruiting for are below the qualifying threshold, says Hsu.

“It is advantageous for a very specific group of candidates that are a fit for certain leadership or niche skillset positions,” she adds.

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

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