Unemployment rates to rise for expatriates?

New and effectively updated legislation in ICA has imposed that all Dependent Pass Holders of spouses and family members of foreigners working in Singapore must obtain a work pass before working in Singapore as of May 2021. The change would mean that spouses and other dependants of work pass holders will be subjected to the same requirements as all other foreigners if they wish to work in Singapore. Dependent Pass Holders who previously leveraged on the letter of consent to work in Singapore must transit to the new arrangement or cease working. With livelihoods being affected and compromised, the newly imposed legislation has caused an uproar in ambiguity for most of our expatriate living in Singapore. 

Current employers who wish to continue the employment will be required to meet the qualifying salaries, dependency ratio ceiling, levies for the respective work passes after their current LOC expires. ICA and various ministries have mentioned that the implementation was to align the requirements for DP holders who wish to work in Singapore with all other foreigners working here. It also enhances the consistency of the recent salaries updates to the work-pass framework. Dependent passes with businesses will have to cease their business unless it can meet the qualifying factors. 

Since the tightening of the above immigration policies, how would you be affected? 

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  • Intensified Competition for the S-Pass and Work Permit Holders due to the Quota System 

The quota system restricts employers to hire not more than the permitted number of foreign workers approved in Singapore. The intent is to control the influx and demand of overseas workers in Singapore in various industries. With the increased demand in the work pass needed, the authorities have yet to release any intention or statements with regards to the adjustments in the hiring quotas. This would mean that the hires in the Singapore landscape for our foreigners might be tougher to obtain and secure a job. 

  • Spike in Unemployment in the Expatriate Community

Some employers unable to afford the qualifying salaries and levies for the respective employees might consider letting them go. The aforementioned factor could spike the increase in the unemployment rate in the expatriate community. Re-applicants of the s-pass and work permit holders could also be facing high competition effectively from May 2021. Rejected applicants can expect to face a challenging month ahead as you will have 30 days to stay in Singapore and complete all formalities. The cancellation takes immediate effect. Once the work pass has been cancelled, the former work-pass holder will be issued an acknowledgement letter and a  Short Term Visit Pass (STVP) that’s good for thirty days. You have just thirty days to get your life in order. 

  • Bottleneck effect on family and child’s education

The impending effect might affect not only the adult’s livelihood but also a child’s education. If the formalities are unable to be secured by 30 days, the rejected applicant will be “deployed” home. With the covid-19 quarantined and strict regulation in place, one may face difficulties to go in and out of Singapore for employment or even educational opportunities. 

  • Covid-19 and its effect on the above legislation

For applicants who have their work pass cancelled and are not currently in Singapore, new employers will have to get approval from MOM for employees to enter Singapore. Even if entry approval is granted, the employee must serve a fourteen-day Stay Home Notice period at a designated facility upon arrival or in their own residence as long as nobody else lives in that residence. All to say, getting another job approved in Singapore during this pandemic is likely to be far harder than usual. But perhaps in some ways, if you’re already living here and the employer really needs somebody, this could work to your advantage as nobody else can come in from outside the country. The field is narrowed in your favour in some ways.

You may think the situation is far out of reach for you, but when job losses happen to your own family, the statistics become a reality. And, frankly, it knocks the wind right out of you. To prevent yourself from facing such imminent situations, one can consider applying for a Permanent resident for yourself and your family to enhance the stability in one’s livelihood. We have received an overwhelming response and concern about the changes in the immigration sector. With the tightening of the immigration policies, it comes as no surprise if the permanent resident application requirement tightens. We would love to provide a solution and a piece of professional advice in securing your future now. Contact us today!