COS 2021: Verifying Qualifications of Pass Holders

Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong (Hougang): Mr Chairman, while the Workers’ Party welcomes the recent tightening of work pass requirements, there remains a need to review other aspects of these requirements.

One aspect is the issue of unaccredited certifications, which has been in the news again of late. Holders of certificates from degree mills and unaccredited schools have perplexed Singaporeans in previous incidents and may uncertain the belief that all our work pass holders can do the job they claim to be able to do on paper.

To be clear, such academic qualifications may not be forged and we have a system in place to deter forged qualifications. However, these unaccredited qualifications are viewed with scepticism by our citizens and the various degree mills that offer academic degrees and diplomas for a fee with little to no real coursework, give little confidence.

While MOM has indicated its risk-based approach in dealing with such matters and employers do have a primary responsibility to ensure the authenticity and quality of the academic qualifications submitted, this approach should improve so that the trust necessary for Singaporeans to accept truly talented foreign PMETs in Singapore can be improved. Therefore, I urge MOM to consider mandatory Educational Credential Assessments, or ECAs, for all Employment Pass and S Pass job applicants that need University degrees and diplomas. The cost to be borne by the applicant.

Such ECAs would only be accepted from a panel or Government appointed established independent consultants. The ECA report will be sent to the relevant agencies, the prospective employer and the applicant. This is not a novel idea since our medical and legal professionals have a list of recognised institutions that have only recently become narrower to uphold the standards of professions. I urge the Minister to look into this.

Ministry of Manpower
2 March 2021

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