[Updated] Singapore: New Strategic Economic Priorities Scheme

Last Updated on February 23, 2023

This article was originally published on 15 December 2022 and was updated on 22 December 2022 to reflect the latest information.  

22 December 2022 Update: The government of Singapore announced that it will begin to accept applications for work permit quota increases under the Strategic Economic Priorities (M-SEP) scheme. Eligible companies include those who have previously participated in one of the economic schemes under one of Singapore’s five agencies:  

  • The Economic Development Board (EDB); 
  • The Enterprise Singapore; 
  • The Infocomm Media Development Authority; 
  • The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA); or 
  • The Singapore Tourism Board.  

Key Points  

  • Singapore introduced a new scheme for employing foreign nationals that will also aid in expanding the number of skilled workers in the local workforce 


The government of Singapore introduced a new Strategic Economic Priorities (M-SEP) scheme to support growing businesses in the country.  

The scheme will give qualifying firms the flexibility to temporarily hire S Pass and Work Permit holders above the prevailing Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) and S Pass sub-DRC. As a result, eligible firms will be permitted to obtain additional S Pass and Work Permit quotas of up to 5% above the base workforce headcount, subject to a cap of 50 workers per firm.  

Permissions under the M-SEP scheme will remain valid for at least two years and can be renewed so long as the employer continues to meet all qualifying conditions. To qualify, firms must: 

  • Commit to hiring or training local employees; 
  • Participate in programs or activities in line with one of the following economic priorities: 
  • Investments that support Singapore’s hub strategy  
  • Innovation or Research and Development (R&D); or  
  • Internationalization.  

What are the Changes?  

The government of Singapore introduced a new framework for hiring foreign nationals. According to the government, this change will support the growth of businesses that contribute to Singapore’s strategic economic growth.  

Looking Ahead  

Continue to check the government of Singapore’s website and Envoy’s website for the latest updates and information.  

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Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult an attorney at one of the two U.S. Law Firms working with the Envoy Platform or another qualified professional. On non-U.S. immigration issues, consult an Envoy global immigration service provider or another qualified representative.