MOM highlights differences in degrees for Employment Pass and S-Pass applicants

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has released details on how they regard qualifications that are forged and those from degree mills when giving out Employment Pass and S-pass applications.

In a post that was published on MOM's blog today, the Ministry said they realise there are "skills which cannot be academically qualified" such as that of a reputable chef.

Therefore in such instances, MOM will look at other factors, such as the years of experience and salary, in order to determine how qualified an applicant is.

MOM will then consider whether or not to issue work passes to such applicants.

The Ministry also added that between 2012 and 2014, more than 5,000 foreigners were barred from working in Singapore for life, for submitting forged academic certificates to obtain work passes.

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Today in Parliament, Minister for Manpower Mr Lim Swee Say provided a response to Nominated Member of Parliament Mr Gerald Giam's question on how MOM processes Employment Pass and S-pass applications.

Here is Mr Lim's answer:

Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass applicants are required to declare their qualifications and working experience in their applications. MOM assesses each application based on a combination of factors including qualifications, working experience and salary. Even though academic qualifications are not the sole determining factor for the granting of an EP or S Pass, it is certainly an important part of the assessment.

Employers have a primary responsibility to ensure the authenticity and quality of the academic qualifications of the foreigners they wish to hire. As an additional safeguard, MOM conducts additional checks and verifications for applications submitted by a majority of the employers.

To detect forged qualifications, MOM conducts internal database checks, as well as external checks through third-party screening agencies, direct verifications with the issuing institutions, and by requiring the employer to show proof that they have verified that the submitted qualifications are genuine.

Those who are found to have submitted forged documents or false particulars in a deliberate attempt to mislead the Ministry are dealt with firmly. They may be fined up to $20,000, and /or imprisoned for up to two years. They will also be barred from working in Singapore.

As for qualifications obtained from an unaccredited institution that does not ensure that its students are properly qualified (commonly known as qualifications from "degree mills"), MOM conducts 100 per cent checks and disregards these qualifications completely. They will have to meet more stringent criteria in terms of experience and salary in order to qualify for the EP or S Pass.

ssandrea@sph.com.sg

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