5 reasons why employment verification is critical for foreign employment in Singapore

Written by
RMI Team (P)

Singapore has emerged as a top global employment destination due to attractive pay, lifestyle, and safety. Condé Nast Traveler ranked the country 6th globally in 2023, which, among other factors, has led to a surge in foreign job applicants. However, with this growth comes increased scrutiny from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which has tightened regulations to combat fraudulent employment and hiring practices. An equally important goal is ensuring the quality of foreign talent coming into Singapore.  

In early March 2023, MOM introduced the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), a two-stage framework that Employment Pass (EP) candidates need to pass, along with being granted a qualifying salary. This framework mandates a stringent evaluation process for EP applications, the most commonly sought after employment visa for foreigners wishing to be employed in Singapore. In addition, MOM recently announced several changes that will take effect in September 2024 (see our Best Practice eGuide for details).  

In light of these developments, let’s explore why comprehensive background screening is paramount for foreign employment in Singapore. But first, let’s briefly touch upon the commonly conducted background checks. These could encompass various aspects crucial for ensuring the integrity and suitability of prospective hires.  

What are the different kinds of background checks

These typically include criminal background checks, which verify if candidates have any criminal history. Additionally, education verification confirms the authenticity of academic credentials, mitigating the risk of hiring individuals with misrepresented qualifications. Background screening services validate past employment history and performance, providing insights into candidates’ professional backgrounds. Moreover, reference checks allow employers to gather feedback from previous supervisors or colleagues, offering valuable perspectives on candidates’ character and capabilities.  

Collectively, these background checks serve to safeguard businesses from potential risks and ensure the integrity of their workforce. Here are five reasons why it is now imperative that businesses must hire a reliable agency for background screening before a potential hire.  

Combatting diploma fraud

The rise of fraudulent job applications, particularly through the use of fake education certificates, has become a concerning issue in Singapore. Degree mills have cropped up and evolved, making it increasingly challenging to identify their fraudulent practices. With the proliferation of online degrees, verifying credentials has become even more difficult. Employing an individual with a fake degree has dire repercussions, ranging from reputational harm to financial losses—possible with a corrupt employee. 

To overcome these challenges, companies need to thoroughly investigate candidates’ backgrounds from foreign educational institutions, accreditation bodies, and professional associations. This entails verifying the legitimacy of candidates’ qualifications by confirming the accreditation status of their alma maters, validating academic transcripts for authenticity, and cross-referencing credentials with relevant authorities. 

Ensuring regulatory compliance

MOM has implemented strict requirements for foreign workers, including the need to meet specific criteria for EPs. Employment verification helps employers ensure compliance with MOM regulations, safeguarding against potential penalties or legal repercussions.   

According to MOM, “making false declarations is a serious offence. If convicted, an offender can be fined up to $20,000, or jailed for up to 2 years, or both. “  

Upholding corporate reputation

Hiring individuals with misrepresented qualifications can tarnish a company’s reputation and credibility. On the flip side, a strong employee brand can be a magnet for talent. According to the study, the positive impact of employer branding factors such as interest value, social value, economic value, development value, and application value was observed to enhance an organisation’s corporate reputation. Consequently, this heightened corporate reputation positively influenced an individual’s likelihood to consider applying for a job offer within that organisation. A bonus: reduced employee turnover rates.  

Safeguard your business against financial losses

Employing individuals based on false credentials can lead to financial losses due to decreased productivity, recruitment expenses, and potential legal liabilities. Employment verification minimises these risks by validating candidates’ qualifications before hiring, saving companies valuable resources in the long run. 

Facilitate growth and expansion for the business  

By ensuring the authenticity of candidates’ qualifications, employment verification enables businesses to make informed hiring decisions, supporting their growth and expansion initiatives. With verified talent, companies can confidently pursue new opportunities and ventures in the dynamic Singaporean market. 

In conclusion, navigating the intricacies of Singapore’s MOM EP regulations requires a thorough understanding of the evolving employment landscape and diligent compliance with stringent requirements. With the rise of foreign job applicants and MOM’s implementation of frameworks like COMPASS, it’s imperative for talent acquisition teams to prioritise robust background verification processes to mitigate risks and ensure the integrity of their workforce.  

Our comprehensive guide provides invaluable insights and practical strategies to support HR professionals in meeting MOM’s standards and fostering sustainable growth in Singapore’s dynamic employment market.

To equip your team with the tools and knowledge needed for success, download our Best Practice Guide: Singapore MOM Employment Pass for HR Professionals today.