Located in South East Asia, between Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore is a city-state, comprising of one main island and over 60 small offshore islands. As “the main hub” for ASEAN countries, Singapore allures many ASEAN communities, including many Indonesians by their higher standards of living.

The employment and job availability itself were based on specific requirements for business activity, worker’s nationality, quota and levy.  Currently, there are some 125,000 Indonesian maids working in Singapore, not to mention of thousands Indonesian proffesionals with permanent resident permits and wealthy bussiness conglomerates who stores their money there. 

So, if you’re thinking of working in Singapore after graduation, you’re heading in the right direction. Singapore welcomes global talent in a wide range of growth. However, you have to re-consider that the qualifying salary for Employment Pass (EP) applications will be raised from S$3,300 to S$3,600 from the start of next year 2017, The previous minimum EP qualifying salary update was in January 2014, from S$3,000 to S$3,300.

“With effect from Jan 1, 2017, only new EP applicants who can command a monthly salary of S$3,600 or more, subject to meeting other criteria on qualifications and experience, will be considered,” said MOM.

“Those with more years of experience are also required to command higher salaries commensurate with their work experience and skill sets, as per current practice.”

It added that there will be time for businesses to make adjustments. Existing EP holders whose passes expire:

a) Before 1 January 2017: Will be able to renew, for a duration of up to three years, based on existing EP criteria

b) Between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2017 (both dates inclusive): Will be able to renew, for a duration of one year, based on the existing EP criteria

c) 1 July 2017 onwards: Will have to meet the new criteria for renewal, for a duration of up to three years

Furthermore, the frequent adjustment among others assure employers to use the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) on the MOM website to assess if their EP candidates will meet the new salary criteria. The SAT will be updated by November 2016, the ministry said. At the same time, MOM should watch out for employers who use “creative means” to artificially increase the wages of foreign PMEs to meet this new criteria, he said, adding that the “bottomline is that local PMEs should be better off and not worse off”.


Singapore has implemented an e-government since the 1980s, to which it attributes hefty savings of time and money for the government. The Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) said that the move could have a greater impact on SMEs.

“Multinational companies have greater bandwidth and are less sensitive to increase in wages,” said Mr Eric Tan, an ASME Council Member. “Whereas for local (businesses), it can have a very serious impact, especially with that fact that now, economic growth is only less than two per cent. With this increase – it’s about eight per cent – that’s a big blow.”

The high standards of living with very stressful working environment, however, did not change ministry’s regular updating of the EP qualifying salary to keep pace with rising local wages. The Singaporean government simply wants to maintain the quality of the foreign workforce and to better complement the local workforce. So, do you have what it takes to go there and earn a much decent living? prepare yourself carefully then, after all you only live once.





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