The government of Singapore introduces a new visa scheme favouring foreign talent in the fields of artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and alternative protein, among other industries.
The government of Singapore has released more details for a new visa scheme they will introduce in September. Under the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), a point-based system will be used to attract foreign professionals prioritising artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and alternative protein, among other key industries.
Businesses who employ foreign talent will need to re-evaluate hiring strategies as well as align with the city’s preference for applicants with skills that can contribute to the local economy.
The new scheme also emphasises workplace diversity. Foreign workers make up about a quarter of Singapore’s population, 13% of which are Employment Pass (EP) holders – professional managers, executives or those in specialised jobs. COMPASS will assess an EP candidate’s ability to complement Singapore’s workforce across four criteria – salary, qualifications, hiring company’s diversity, and local staff ratios.
Applicants in 27 specified roles in the fields of AgriTech, financial services, green economy, health care, information and communications technology (ICT), and maritime will be able to earn bonus points. Covering almost half of the listed positions, the Singaporean government aims to attract specialists in AI, data science, cloud and cybersecurity, and software developers. Within the field of AgriTech, alt protein scientists are being targeted to advance the city’s position as Asia’s next food innovation hub. This list will be reviewed every three years, and annually if required, according to industry demand.
“Companies must now demonstrate their commitment to developing the local workforce and contributing to the economy. The framework is expected to encourage companies to hire and develop local talent and reduce their dependence on foreign workers,” commented Leonardo Freitas, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hayman-Woodward Global Mobility.
Sandip Bhandal, the Global Employer Services Partner at Deloitte Singapore, added that “It is advisable for companies to evaluate their workforce profile regularly to ensure the foundational criteria can be met.”
The aim of the new scheme is to ensure a strong local workforce that promotes diversity and is bolstered by specialised foreign talent, making sure that companies have substantial Singaporean employees.
“For businesses that have been focused on promoting diversity and employment of locals within their workforce, they should not face issues bringing in highly skilled or qualified foreign professionals,” concluded Lily Cheang, Associate Partner and Singapore Lead for Global Immigration at EY Corporate Advisors.
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