April 21, 2023 08:30
Reposted from: Lianhe Zaobao
From September this year, employers are required to submit proof of academic qualifications when applying for a new Employment Pass for all foreign employees. The Ministry of Manpower is seeking proposals from background check companies on how to verify applicants’ academic qualifications.
The Ministry of Manpower issued a statement on Wednesday (April 19), inviting third-party companies that can conduct employee background checks to provide advice on how to verify the academic qualifications of Employment Pass applicants. At present, when local employers apply for employment passes for new employees, they have to ensure that the applicants’ academic qualifications are not falsified. The Ministry of Manpower will also require applicants whose graduate schools are not in its database to provide proof, such as qualifications recognized by the local government.
From September 1, when employers submit employment pass applications, they must submit certification for the applicant’s academic qualifications at diploma (diploma) and above. Certification can be done through a background check company listed on the Ministry of Manpower website, or a local national or academic certification. The Ministry of Manpower is also studying the possibility of digital certificates.
The qualification requirements will be implemented simultaneously with the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). At that time, applicants must score at least 40 points in four basic items, including monthly salary, education, diversity of corporate employees and support for the employment of locals, before they can apply for a new pass.
Evaluation criteria and industry groups will be established
Under the Qualifications programme, a university degree or equivalent is awarded 10 points, with a maximum of 20 points awarded to applicants who graduated from schools on the Ministry of Manpower’s Top Institutions List. If the pass is renewed, the new framework and academic certification will not be implemented until September 2024.
The Ministry of Manpower will set up an evaluation criteria and industry group composed of representatives of labor, management, enterprises and human resource professionals to evaluate the intention to participate in degree certification from various aspects including cost, time required to verify qualifications, scale of operation, and transnational certification capabilities. Proposals from third-party background check companies. The Ministry of Manpower requires the proposed company to have at least three years of experience in accreditation of academic qualifications and educational institutions.
According to the website of the Ministry of Manpower, there are currently eight approved background check companies. Most of these companies are multinational companies with offices in Asia, Europe and other countries, providing a variety of services including criminal records, academic certification, professional qualification certificate verification, etc. Most companies’ academic certification service fees range from 80 yuan to 110 yuan, and it can usually be completed within 15 working days.
In response to the new requirements, which may lead to a decrease in applicants and increase the burden on employers, a human resources consultant surnamed Peng said that the cost of academic certification is generally borne by employers, and it is too early to predict the number of applicants in September at this stage. She pointed out that there are a lot of new regulations in the assessment framework for complementary professionals, and both the staff in the company responsible for the recruitment of foreign employees and the outsourced human resources company need to spend time familiarizing themselves with the requirements.
Shen Jinyuan, executive director of the National Employers Federation, said that some employers may not be aware of the new requirements and procedures, and the Federation of Employers will work with the Ministry of Manpower to ensure the smooth implementation of the new requirements. He expects costs to remain affordable as more employers use credentialing services.
One of the background check firms, Avvanz, is interested in participating in the proposal. Kannan Chettiar, CEO of the company, said that the background checks they provide cover more than 100 countries, and users can place orders, check progress and download reports through the ScreenGlobal platform. “We have assisted the Ministry of Manpower to conduct verification for some time, and we will continue to support the Ministry of Manpower to conduct inspections to ensure that only those who have passed the review can work in Singapore.”
As of December last year, there were 187,300 Employment Pass holders in Singapore, an increase of 25,600 from the 161,700 at the end of 2021, but still less than the 193,700 before the 2019 Covid-19 pandemic.
More details about the selection of companies responsible for academic qualifications certification and implementation details will be announced in the future. Companies interested in participating must submit proposals by May 10.