Singapore reforms long-term work visas to attract international talent and investment

Singapore aims at attracting top level talents and foreign investments after COVID-19 slump.

Singapore is changing its current visa rules for expats and foreign businessess to ease a tight labour market along with wage and price pressures.

The rules will allow foreigners to earn a minimum of $21.431 (S$30.000) per month for securing a five-year work pass, and is aiming at attracting and attaining top talents and investments. Also eligible for long-term visas are exceptional candidates in sports, science and academia who do not meet the salary criteria.

Singapore plans to exempt jobs comparable to those held by top 10 percent of Employment Passport holders from the need to be advertised locally before hiring foreigners (the Fair Considerable Framework). Further, the processing time for all EP applications will be cut to 10 days,

“(…) Singapore wants to attract top global talent particularly in next-generation, technology-heavy industries — as well as the lower end. The government fielded criticism during the pandemic, that treatment and broader policies for migrant workers primarily employed in the construction industry needed a reboot” says news media, Blomberg.

Singapore is aiming at positioning itself as a global hub for talent and a safe, stable place to invest, live and work in. Attracting international businesses and white-collars from abroad is crucial in driving the government’s ambitions to strengthen the country’s possibility of competing with rival business hubs such as Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, in a Aug. 21 National Day Rally speech, that this is an age where talent makes all the difference to a nation’s success, and that Singapore need to focus on attracting and retaining top talent in the same way they focus on attracting and retaining investments.

Selena Ling, head of Treasury Research & Strategy at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp said to news media Blomberg, that the new rules will not have a significant impact for all industries as they only target very specific high growth industries.


About Jeannette Hinrup

Jeannette Sophie Hinrup is a Danish environmental geographer traveling South East Asia while writing for ScandAsia.

View all posts by Jeannette Hinrup

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