Immigration guide: Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)

  1. Introduction
  2. Criteria
  3. Criteria details
  4. Exemption from COMPASS
  5. Live event - how will COMPASS affect you


The Ministry of Manpower has announced a new point-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) to assess foreign candidates’ eligibility for the Singapore Employment Pass (EP).

The framework will enable employers to select high-quality foreign professionals to work in Singapore and improve the workforce diversity while building a strong Singaporean core.

From 1 September 2023, new EP applications will be assessed under the new framework. Renewal applications will also be assessed under the same framework from 1 September 2024.


Under the framework, the EP application will be assessed on four foundational criteria, namely Salary, Qualifications, Diversity and Support for Local Employment. Further to the four foundational criteria, there are two bonus criteria that recognise applications bringing in skills that are not readily available in Singapore and support strategic economic priorities, which create jobs for Singaporeans.

Under the foundational criteria, points will be awarded if the application meets or exceeds expectations. 

Points for each foundational criterion  Assessment 
20  Exceeds expectations
10 Meets expectations
0 Does not meet expectations

To qualify for EP, the candidate must score 40 points from the four foundational criteria, or by scoring points under the bonus criteria. 

  Individual attributes    Firm-related attributes   
Foundational criteria  C1. Salary
Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in the sector by age
Points C3. Diversity
Share of candidate's nationality among firm’s PMETs.* 
 ≥ 90th percentile  20 < 5% 20
 65th to 90th percentile  10 5 to 25%   10
 < 65th percentile  0 ≥ 25%  0
C2. Qualifications
Based on candidate’s qualifications
  C4. Support for Local Employment
Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector*
 Top-tier institution  20  ≥ 50th percentile  20
 Degree-equivalent qualification  10  20th to 50th percentile  10
 No degree-equivalent qualification  0  < 20th percentile  0
 Bonus criteria  C5. Skills Bonus    C6. Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus  
Job on the Shortage Occupation List  20 The firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation or internationalisation activities  10

# Skills bonus is reduced to +10 if the share of candidate’s nationality among the firm’s PMETs is one-third or higher.

* Small firms with fewer than 25 PMET employees score 10 points on C3 and C4 by default. PMETs are proxied by employees earning at least SG$3,000 per month.

Criteria details


All applicants must meet the EP qualifying salary. The COMPASS framework accounts for sectoral differences in salary norms. Points will be awarded when they meet sector-specific benchmarks for local PMET salary, which will also be age-adjusted.


Employers are responsible for ensuring that the applicant’s qualifications are genuine and were awarded by accredited institutions. 

Top-tier institutions include:

  • Top 100 universities based on international rankings, and other highly-reputed universities across different regions
  • Singapore’s Autonomous Universities
  • Vocational institutions that are highly recognised in a particular field

Degree-equivalent qualifications generally refer to:

  • Foreign qualifications that are assessed to be comparable to a bachelor’s degree in the UK system (MOM determines this with reference to international recognition bodies, e.g. the UK National Information Centre for recognition and evaluation of international qualifications and skills (UK ENIC)).
  • Professional qualifications that are well-recognised by the industry and endorsed by a relevant sector agency.

Qualifications are not a mandatory requirement under COMPASS. Candidates who do not hold degree-equivalent qualifications can still pass COMPASS by earning sufficient points on other criteria.


The COMPASS framework encourages firm to have a diverse mix of nationalities so it enriches firms with new ideas and networks, and contributes to a more inclusive and resilient workforce.

Points are awarded to applications where the candidate’s nationality forms a small share of the company’s PMET employees. MOM considers all employees earning at least SG$3,000 per month in the firm as PMETs when computing this criterion.

Your application scores 10 points by default if your firm employs fewer than 25 PMET employees.

Your employee’s nationality is determined based on the nationality indicated on their passport in MOM’s records.

Support for Local Employment:

COMPASS recognises firms that make efforts to create opportunities for the local workforce and build complementary teams comprising both local and foreign professionals.

Points are awarded to firms with a high share of locals, among PMET, compared to other firms within the same subsector. If the firm’s local PMET share is at least 70% (pegged to the 20th percentile of firms economy-wide), the application will earn at least 10 points. This is regardless of where the firm stands within its subsector. In this way, the MOM does not penalise firms in subsectors which have a relatively high share of local PMET employees.

Skills Bonus (Shortage Occupation List):

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) recognises EP holders in occupations requiring highly specialised skills that are currently in shortage in the local workforce. As an indication, this could include niche info comm-related roles supporting Singapore’s digitalisation drive.

The SOL is determined by a robust tripartite evaluation process that takes into account industry needs and local workforce development efforts.

Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus:

COMPASS recognises companies that are undertaking ambitious innovation, or internationalisation activities in partnership with the government, in line with our economic priorities. Such companies should also have the scale or potential to provide good jobs for locals.

To qualify, firms must participate in selected programmes run by various economic agencies or meet specific assessment criteria and show commitment to developing the local workforce or ecosystem.

Exemption from COMPASS

A candidate’s EP application is exempted from COMPASS if they fulfil any of these conditions:

  • Earning at least SG$20,000 fixed monthly salary (similar to the prevailing Fair Consideration Framework job advertising exemption).
  • Applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee under the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Trade in Services or an applicable Free Trade Agreement that Singapore is party to.
  • Filling a role on a short-term basis, i.e. one month or less.


Please contact us to discuss more about your requirements and eligibility. Our immigration specialists allow businesses and entrepreneurs starting out in new regions to focus on their commercial strengths, while we assist with getting your employees in the right place.

Find out more about our Singapore Immigration Services here

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COMPASS - how will it affect you:

Watch our live event where we discuss the new Complementarity Assessment Framework and how it will affect you.