top of page
  • J T

Unlocking New Opportunities in Singapore: Navigating the Compass Framework for Employment Pass with Complementarity Assessment

The COMPASS Framework is a comprehensive tool used for evaluating employment and immigration policies. In this article, we will explore the key facts and criteria of the COMPASS Framework, including individual and firm-related attributes. We will also provide detailed descriptions of the criteria such as salary, qualifications, diversity, and support for local employment. Additionally, we will discuss how COMPASS is utilised for EP assessment and whether there are any exemptions from the framework. 

Navigate the Singapore Employment Pass landscape effectively with the COMPASS Framework
Navigate the Singapore Employment Pass landscape effectively with the COMPASS Framework

This transparent points-based system evaluates applicants based on various criteria, including a qualifying salary, fixed monthly salary, and four foundational criteria, earning up to 40 points. It aims to select high-quality foreign professionals, fostering a fair consideration framework and supporting local employment. Stay informed about the changing requirements for new EP applications and renewals under the Ministry of Manpower's compass evaluation. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of the key takeaways about the COMPASS Framework. 

Introduction to the COMPASS Framework

The COMPASS framework plays a pivotal role in assessing Employment Pass (EP) applicants in Singapore, offering a comprehensive evaluation process for eligibility and qualification.

The COMPASS framework is a robust tool used by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore to evaluate EP applicants. It ensures that individuals meet the necessary standards to contribute effectively to the local workforce. The framework assesses key criteria such as educational qualifications, professional experience, salary, and potential economic impact on Singapore's labour market.

As of September 2023, Singapore introduces the COMPASS (Complementarity Assessment Framework), revolutionizing the landscape for employment pass applicants. This transparent and points-based system, effective from 1 September 2023, evaluates candidates based on specific criteria such as salary benchmarks, two bonus criteria, and eligibility for an EP. The new framework also considers overseas intra-corporate transferees and aims to support local employment while maintaining a fair consideration framework.

Short for Criteria for Professional Assessment of Skills and Qualifications, COMPASS helps the MOM make informed decisions about EP applications. This system aims to optimise the quality of foreign talent entering Singapore and promote a competitive and diverse workforce.

What is the COMPASS Framework?

The COMPASS framework, established by COMPASS Singapore, operates as a structured assessment mechanism designed to evaluate EP applicants based on predetermined criteria and points allocation.

The primary purpose of the COMPASS framework is to objectively assess the eligibility of Employment Pass (EP) applicants seeking to work in Singapore. It aims to streamline the evaluation process by providing a standardised set of criteria against which applicants are evaluated.

The assessment methodology employed by COMPASS involves comprehensive criteria such as educational qualifications, work experience, salary, and potential contribution to the Singaporean economy. Each criterion is allocated specific points, and the aggregate score determines the applicant's eligibility for the EP.

Employers and applicants alike rely on the COMPASS framework to understand the requirements and expectations set forth by the Singaporean authorities for EP eligibility, facilitating well-considered choices and efficient application processes.

Key Facts about the COMPASS Framework

Key facts about the COMPASS framework encompass its alignment with the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) regulations, its structured points-based assessment system, and its crucial role in evaluating EP applicants for eligibility.

The alignment with MOM guidelines ensures that the framework complies with the established regulations. This is essential for the fair and standardised evaluation of Employment Pass (EP) applicants.

Through a points-based assessment system, COMPASS objectively measures various factors such as educational qualifications, work experience, and salary to determine eligibility for EP. This systematic approach adds transparency and consistency to the assessment process.

The significance of COMPASS in the EP application process cannot be overstated, as it plays a vital role in determining the suitability of individuals seeking employment in Singapore.

Criteria of the COMPASS Framework

The criteria of the COMPASS framework serve as fundamental benchmarks for assessing EP applicants, covering diverse aspects such as salary, qualifications, diversity, support for local employment, skills bonus, and strategic economic priorities.

These criteria play a pivotal role in determining the eligibility and suitability of candidates for the Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore. The salary criterion ensures that applicants receive remuneration that is commensurate with their skills and experience, aligning with the city-state's efforts to attract and retain global talent.

The emphasis on qualifications reflects Singapore's commitment to welcoming individuals with exceptional educational backgrounds and professional expertise, contributing to the development of key industries and innovation. The diversity aspect promotes an inclusive workforce, fostering an environment where individuals from various backgrounds collaboratively contribute to the nation's growth and success.

The support for local employment is a crucial benchmark, indicating the commitment to integrating foreign talent into the local workforce, promoting mutual learning, knowledge exchange, and enhancing the overall employment landscape.

The inclusion of a skills bonus underscores the value placed on specific expertise that aligns with Singapore's strategic economic priorities, incentivising candidates to bring unique skills that address the nation's evolving needs and propelling industries forward.

Overview of the COMPASS Framework Criteria

The overview of the COMPASS framework criteria encompasses a comprehensive evaluation of individual attributes and firm-related attributes, serving as pivotal components in the EP assessment process.

Individual attributes within the COMPASS framework criteria encompass the personal qualities, skills, experience, and expertise that individuals bring to the assessment process. These attributes provide valuable insights into the capacity of individuals to contribute to effective decision-making and risk management within the firm.

This transparent, points-based system introduces specific assessment criteria, emphasizing a fair share of local employment. EP applicants must meet the salary requirement, navigate the COMPASS, and consider the new complementarity assessment framework. Professionals applying for a new Employment Pass or renewals from September 1, 2023, must ensure compliance with the COMPASS Framework under the Singapore Ministry of Manpower's guidelines

On the other hand, firm-related attributes encompass the organisational structure, governance, risk management processes, and overall strategic direction of the firm. These attributes are essential in evaluating the firm's ability to achieve its objectives and manage potential risks effectively.

Individual Attributes

Individual attributes within the COMPASS framework focus on the assessment of specific qualifications, skills, and expertise of EP applicants, playing a significant role in determining eligibility and points allocation.

The first attribute, Competencies, evaluates an applicant's proficiency in areas such as adaptability, leadership, communication, and problem-solving, reflecting their potential to contribute effectively in the Singapore workforce.

The second aspect, Occupation-specific expertise, delves into the relevance of an applicant's specific occupation to the local labour market, ensuring alignment with Singapore's economic needs.

The multicultural experience facet considers an individual's exposure to diverse work environments, emphasising the value of cross-cultural collaboration in the globalised workplace.

Firm-Related Attributes

Firm-related attributes in the COMPASS framework focus on evaluating the impact and contributions of the employing firm. This encompasses aspects such as strategic economic priorities, diversity, and support for local employment.

This holistic approach is crucial for organisations as it highlights the broader impact beyond financial metrics. Strategic economic priorities encompass the firm's long-term goals and investment decisions, while diversity showcases the organisation's commitment to inclusivity and fostering varied perspectives.

Support for local employment reflects the firm's role in contributing to the community and regional economic development.

Detailed Description of the COMPASS Criteria

A detailed description of the COMPASS criteria entails an in-depth examination of salary thresholds, qualifications, diversity considerations, support for local employment, skills bonus, and strategic economic priorities, all contributing to the comprehensive assessment of EP applicants.

Salary thresholds play a crucial role in determining an applicant's suitability for the EP. The criteria consider the applicant’s academic background, professional experience, and the current market rate for the role.

Qualifications are also meticulously scrutinised, with emphasis on specialised knowledge, exceptional skills, and professional certifications relevant to the position. Diversity considerations form an integral part of the COMPASS criteria, where the authorities evaluate whether the applicant brings diverse perspectives, experiences, or expertise that may benefit the local workforce. The criteria focus on the support for local employment, particularly how the EP applicant can contribute to the advancement of local talent and collaboration within the community.

The skills bonus aspect acknowledges exceptional talents and expertise that are in high demand in the local economy. This encourages the influx of individuals with skills deemed critical for the strategic economic priorities of the country, ultimately contributing to its growth and development via the EP programme.


The salary criterion within the COMPASS framework scrutinises the remuneration package offered to EP applicants, serving as a fundamental factor in determining eligibility and points allocation.

This aspect plays a pivotal role in evaluating the competitiveness of the offered salary against the market standards, ensuring that EP candidates are fairly remunerated.

The criteria also holds significance in assessing the candidate's skills and qualifications, aligning them with the appropriate salary range.

By considering the salary in depth, the COMPASS framework aims to enhance transparency and fairness in the eligibility determination process, emphasising the importance of equitable compensation practices in the employment of foreign talents.


The qualifications criterion in the COMPASS framework evaluates the educational and professional credentials of EP applicants, influencing their eligibility and points allocation.

The evaluation of candidates for specific positions is a crucial aspect in recruitment. This involves assessing their expertise and experience to determine their suitability for the job role.

A thorough examination of academic qualifications and work history is necessary to gauge their competency and proficiency. This criterion also helps in identifying individuals who meet the prerequisites for professional licenses and certifications, highlighting the importance of adhering to industry standards and regulations.

The COMPASS framework takes into account both educational attainment and professional achievements to ensure a fair and consistent evaluation process, promoting merit-based selection and recruitment practices.


Diversity considerations within the COMPASS framework examine the inclusivity and representation aspects in EP applicant pools, contributing to the overall evaluation of eligibility and points allocation.

This framework plays a crucial role in ensuring that the evaluation process is fair and unbiased. By incorporating diversity considerations, the COMPASS framework strives to enhance representation from diverse backgrounds, thereby cultivating a more inclusive and equitable selection process.

It also addresses the significance of embracing diverse perspectives and experiences, enriching the collaborative environment and fostering innovation. These considerations impact eligibility determination by acknowledging the unique contributions and potential of individuals from various cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds.

Support for Local Employment

The support for local employment criterion in the COMPASS framework assesses the contributions and commitments of EP applicants towards enhancing local employment opportunities, influencing their eligibility and points allocation.

By emphasising the significance of this criterion, the framework recognises the importance of promoting local employment within the community. It acknowledges the positive impact that EP applicants can have on the local job market, economic development, and social cohesion.

By evaluating how these applicants actively contribute to local employment, the COMPASS framework ensures that the eligibility determination process takes into account their potential to enrich the local workforce and economy. This criterion serves as a valuable tool for assessing the genuine intent of applicants towards supporting local employment, enabling decision-makers to allocate points based on their tangible commitment to this vital aspect of community development.

Skills Bonus (Shortage Occupation List)

The skills bonus criterion, linked to the Shortage Occupation List, provides incentives for EP applicants with specialised skills and expertise in areas of high demand, impacting their eligibility and points allocation.

By aligning with the Shortage Occupation List, this criterion acknowledges the pressing need for professionals in specific sectors. Applicants possessing critical skills identified as shortages are awarded additional points, enhancing their eligibility for entry.

This bonus system not only acknowledges the significance of these skills but also contributes to easing the shortage gap within the labour market.

It strengthens the overall points allocation system by recognising the value of expertise in crucial sectors.

Strategic Economic Priorities Bonus

The strategic economic priorities bonus criterion rewards EP applicants contributing to strategic economic sectors, aligning with national priorities, and influencing their eligibility and points allocation.

The strategic economic priorities bonus criterion within the COMPASS framework plays a crucial role in incentivising the influx of skilled professionals into key sectors that are vital to the overall economic development of the country.

By aligning with national economic priorities, this criterion ensures that the allocation of resources and opportunities caters to the specific needs and growth areas identified by the government.

This criterion has a direct impact on the determination of eligibility for the Employment Pass (EP), as it offers additional recognition and benefits to applicants who contribute to the identified strategic sectors.

It substantially influences the points allocation within the COMPASS framework, providing a tangible advantage to individuals and organisations aligned with the designated economic priorities.

Utilisation of COMPASS for EP Pass Assessment

The utilisation of the COMPASS framework for EP assessment involves a meticulous application of its criteria and assessment methodology to evaluate the eligibility and qualifications of EP applicants, aligning with the guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Manpower. The COMPASS framework plays a pivotal role in streamlining and standardising the evaluation process, ensuring that EP applicants are thoroughly scrutinised based on predefined criteria for skill level, education, and work experience.

This framework emphasises the importance of aligning with MOM guidelines to maintain consistency and fairness in the assessment process, thereby promoting transparency and objectivity.By employing COMPASS, organisations can efficiently navigate through the assessment of EP applicants, facilitating a more structured and comprehensive approach to candidate evaluation.The compatibility of COMPASS with MOM guidelines lends credibility and legitimacy to the assessment process, instilling confidence in both applicants and governing authorities.

Effective from 1 September, 2023, the COMPASS (Complementarity Assessment Framework) is pivotal in the assessment of Employment Pass applications in Singapore. This transparent, points-based system ensures that candidates meet the EP qualifying salary, pass specific assessment criteria, and adhere to the prevailing fair consideration framework. With a focus on supporting local employment, professionals applying for an EP must navigate the COMPASS assessment for successful outcomes in Singapore from 1 September, 2023, and during renewals.

How is COMPASS used for Employment Pass (EP) assessment?

The utilisation of the COMPASS framework for EP assessment involves a meticulous application of its criteria and assessment methodology to evaluate the eligibility and qualifications of EP applicants, aligning with the guidelines set forth by the Ministry of Manpower.

COMPASS, which stands for Criteria for Professional Assessment of Skilled Workers, provides a structured and comprehensive approach in evaluating EP applicants.

The framework encompasses several key elements including academic qualifications, relevant work experience, specialised skills, and salary criteria, all of which are critical in determining the suitability of an applicant for an Employment Pass.

The assessment process involves a thorough review of the applicant's educational background, professional experience, and the impact of their potential employment on the local workforce.

To align with the MOM guidelines, the COMPASS framework ensures a fair and consistent evaluation of EP applications, which ultimately supports the overall objectives of the Ministry of Manpower in regulating the EP eligibility criteria.

Exemption from COMPASS Framework

Exemptions from the COMPASS framework offer specific allowances for EP applicants, considering unique qualifications, diversity contributions, or strategic economic priorities, providing flexibility within the assessment process. These exemptions are designed to cater to individuals with exceptional skills and expertise, allowing them to bypass certain standard eligibility criteria. As of September 1, 2024, certain professionals may find an exemption from

the COMPASS Framework when applying for Employment Passes in Singapore.

Those eligible for an EP under specific categories, such as holders of existing EPs and applicants under free trade agreements, may not be required to undergo the COMPASS assessment. Professionals who still pass the existing eligibility framework, based on factors like their qualifications, work experience, and adherence to free trade agreement criteria, may secure exemption from the COMPASS Framework, streamlining their EP application process.

This exemption provision acknowledges the diversity and unique circumstances of certain applicants, aligning with Singapore's commitment to attracting and retaining global talent.

Unique qualifications such as specialised knowledge or significant professional experience may warrant an exemption from certain requirements, recognising the value they bring to the local economy.

Applicants who can demonstrate substantial contributions to diversity and inclusion initiatives, or possess skills vital to strategic economic priorities, may also qualify for exemptions.

Are There Any EP Application Exemptions from the COMPASS Framework?

Exemptions from the COMPASS framework cater to specific scenarios where EP applicants may qualify for allowances based on unique qualifications, diversity contributions, or strategic economic priorities. This provides flexibility within the assessment process.

These exemptions are granted under exceptional circumstances, such as in cases where the applicant possesses exceptional skills that directly align with the nation's economic objectives, or when their expertise is crucial for an industry of national significance.

Individuals who can demonstrate significant contributions to diversity and inclusion initiatives or possess qualifications that are particularly sought-after may also be considered for exemptions.

It's important to note that these exemptions have a significant impact on the assessment of EP applicants. They recognize the value of specific attributes beyond the conventional eligibility criteria.

These individuals are evaluated not only for their individual qualifications and experience, but also for their potential to contribute to Singapore's strategic economic priorities and the enhancement of diversity across the workforce.

Conclusion on COMPASS Framework in Singapore

The COMPASS framework stands as a comprehensive and structured assessment tool that significantly influences the EP application process, aligning with the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) guidelines and regulations.

The COMPASS framework serves as a crucial mechanism in evaluating the suitability of potential Employment Pass (EP) candidates. It provides a systematic approach to assessing their qualifications and potential contributions to the Singaporean workforce. This aids in streamlining the EP application process and ensures that employers adhere to the stringent criteria laid out by MOM.

COMPASS incorporates various evaluation components such as educational background, work experience, and salary considerations. This enables a holistic review of EP applications, making the process more efficient and effective.

Key Takeaways about the COMPASS Framework

  • Key takeaways about the COMPASS framework encapsulate its structured assessment criteria, alignment with MOM guidelines, and its pivotal role in evaluating EP applicants for eligibility and qualification, providing essential insights for stakeholders and applicants alike.

  • The structured assessment criteria within the COMPASS framework encompass various aspects, such as educational qualifications, work experience, salary thresholds, and the company's reputation.

  • These criteria are thoughtfully aligned with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) guidelines, ensuring that EP applications are evaluated according to the established regulations and requirements.

  • The significance of the COMPASS framework lies in its ability to streamline the assessment process, offering a fair and transparent method of evaluating an applicant's suitability for an Employment Pass in Singapore.


bottom of page