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Raising the Quality and Productivity of the Construction Workforce

The Government has announced that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will require all construction firms to have at least 10% of their work permit holders (WPHs) to be qualified as "Higher Skilled" R1 workers from 1 January 2017. For example, if a firm has 100 WPHs, it must have at least 10 R1 workers.

To help construction firms prepare for the 10% minimum R1 proportion requirement, BCA will implement a two-year upgrading requirement from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016, for construction firms which have less than 15% of their WPHs as R1 workers to do the following:-

a.  Upgrade 5% of their firm's own WPHs by end 2015; and
b.  Upgrade another 5% of their WPHs by end 2016

Please see illustration below.


A. Phase I: 2-year upgrading phase from 1 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2016

Selected firms which have yet to build up their R1 pool will be required to:-

  • Upgrade 5% of their own WPHs by end 2015
  • Upgrade another 5% of their own WPHs by end 2016

Firms which fail to meet the upgrading requirement will be disallowed from hiring new R2 WPHs, for a period of maximum 12 months, or shorter until they meet the requirement.


B. Phase II: Minimum R1 proportion at firm level from 1 Jan 2017 onwards

Starting from 1 January 2017, MOM will set the minimum R1 proportion at 10% per firm:-

  • Firms below the minimum R1 level will not be allowed to hire new R2 WPHs from 2017 onwards.
  • If they still fail to meet this requirement, they will not be allowed to renew the work permits for R2 WPHs from 2018 onwards, and
  • Eventually they will have "excess" R2 WPHs revoked from 2019 onwards, until they fulfil the minimum R1 proportion requirement.

C. Pathways to upgrade R2 workers to attain R1 status

MOM and BCA have put in place various pathways for firms to upgrade their "Basic Skilled" R2 WPHs to "Higher Skilled" R1, as follows:

  1. CoreTrade scheme. Workers who have at least 4 years of construction experience in Singapore and pass the stipulated skill assessments conducted by BCA can be registered under the Construction Registration of Tradesmen (CoreTrade) registration scheme to qualify as Higher Skilled R1 WPHs.

  2. Multi-Skilling scheme. Since July 2012, BCA implemented the Multi-Skilling scheme to allow construction firms to upgrade WPHs who have at least 4 years of construction experience in Singapore, and are certified in 2 or more trade skills, to the R1 tier.

  3. Market-based Skills Recognition Framework (MBF). Since August 2014, MOM implemented the MBF to allow R2 WPHs to upgrade to R1 status if they have at least 6 years' construction experience in Singapore, and earn a fixed monthly salary of $1,600 or more.

  4. Direct R1 pathway. Available since September 2015, the Direct R1 pathway allows workers who pass the SEC (K) at Direct R1 higher skills standards, and draw a fixed monthly salary of $1,600 or more, to qualify for R1 status. This will benefit better quality workers from overseas, as well as existing R2 workers who are skilled but do not have enough working experience in Singapore.

The eligibility criteria of the upgrading pathways are summarised below.


Useful information

  • Click here for Upgrading Phase- R1/R2 Self-check Portal.

  • Click here to download briefing slides (in English) on Direct R1 pathway. (2.11MB.pdf)

  • Click here to download briefing slides (in Mandarin) on Direct R1 pathway. (1.89MB.pdf)

  • Click here to download briefing slides on Measures to improve quality of Construction Workforce. (575KB.pdf)

  • Click here for the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). (65KB.pdf)

  • Click here for BCA-MOM joint news release on 30 October 2014.
  • For more details on matters related to foreign workers, you may refer to MOM's website at http://www.mom.gov.sg

  • For clarifications on the upgrading of your workforce, please e-mail to BCA_FWP@bca.gov.sg