Foreign workers currently comprise about a third of Singapore’s workforce.  In a move to control the growth of foreign workers in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower will be tightening the criteria for Employment Passes (EP) to foreigners from 1 January 2012.

The demand for Employment Passes has increased rapidly since 2010.  At the end of last year, there were nearly 142,000 Employment Pass holders.

From January 2012, educational qualifying requirements for Q1 Pass applicants will be tightened.  Qualifying salaries will also be increased to $3,000 (for Q1 Pass Holders), and to $4,500 (for P2 Pass Holders).

Employment Passes that expire before 1 January 2012 will receive a one-time renewal of up to two years, based on the criteria before July this year.  Employment Passes that expire between 1 Jan and 30 Jun 2012 will get a one-time renewal of up to 12 months, while those whose Employment Pass expire on or after 1 July 2012 will be subject to the new Employment Pass criteria.

See here for existing eligibility criteria for foreign workers.