Scheme helping foreign graduates seek jobs discontinued: MOM

Faris Mokhtar

A scheme which allows foreign graduates up to one year to seek employment in Singapore has been discontinued with effect from 1 December, said the Ministry of Manpower.

Current holders of the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (Epec) will now have to apply for a three month, non-renewable, long-term visit pass if they wish to continue seeking jobs here.

But this is subjected to the Epec being still valid from the date issued. The certificate, which is only given out on a one-time basis, is not renewable and valid for two years.

In reply to Yahoo! Singapore’s queries on why the scheme was removed, a MOM spokesman said, “The Epec Scheme was not meeting its intended objective of helping employers recruit EP-calibre talent.”

Of the Epec applications received each month, only less than 10 per cent were approved, added the spokesperson.

According to The Straits Times, one of the criteria applicants need to fulfill is that they have to be graduates of any of the 700 universities stated on the MOM’s approved list.

Once the applicant has successfully applied for the Epec, it signalled to employers that the holder is likely to be eligible for an Employment Pass. However, the certificate is not a work pass.

The ministry’s latest move comes after it enhanced the Employment Pass (EP) framework in its three categories in August to filter the number of foreigners applying for jobs in the country.

For instance, young graduates seeking the Q1 pass will have to meet the qualifying salary of at least $3,000, an increased from $2,800.

Meanwhile, the qualifying salary for P2 pass will be raised from $4,000 to $4,500. There will be no change for the P1 Pass, which remains at $8,000.