MOM requires companies to verify the educational qualifications of foreign employees

Singapore. Firms can now verify the educational qualifications of foreigners that are hired on Employment Passes or EPs.

For these companies, not much will change after MOM released a requirement to get third-party verification proof. This new rule will take effect in September.

Just last week, MOM announced that companies should verify the educational qualifications of EP applicants who have a diploma-level certification or righter. Currently, proof must only be submitted for candidates who did not graduate from an accredited institution.

Background screening companies usually contact institutions or authorized agents to confirm that the application is genuine. If the website is locked, the firm will contact the local education bureau.

“We have a longstanding practice of conducting screening and verification for successful applicants in Singapore,” said a spokesperson from ExxonMobil, adding that it will comply with new measures introduced by the government for a more “robust hiring process.”

“As part of our hiring process, we currently have in place third-party verification of all candidates’ educational qualifications, regardless of nationality or employment status,” said Jacinta Low, senior vice president of group human resources at OCBC.

Smaller companies also do background checks, with some only focusing on employment history. However, they need to start educational qualification screening after the new rule has taken effect. The cost is expected to be marginal, but it is expected to prolong the hiring process.

That said, many companies consider verification as an “important aspect of pre-employment screening because it helps to ensure that candidates possess the qualifications they claim to have,” shared Annie Yap, founder of HR solutions firm AYP Group.

EPs are usually given to technicians, professionals, engineers, and managers, with a minimum salary of S$5,000. Many companies say that it’s good that employers do not need to submit verification of the points that are not needed under qualifications.

“SMEs like us, we engage (workers) based on experience, it might not necessarily be education,” said TranZplus Engineering chief executive Nelson Lim.

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