Foreigners who already have their families here and those who have applied to bring them here do not have to worry about the higher minimum salary bars announced last week.

This is because the new rules will not apply to them, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) yesterday in a statement. But there is a catch when the Dependant Passes (DPs) for spouses and children, or when the Long Term Visit Passes (LTVP) for parents, are up for renewal: the foreigner cannot switch employers.

"We treat any change in employer as a new application," the MOM said.

While the concessions may bring some relief to foreigners who already have families here, it does not bring cheer to those who are thinking of bringing their families to Singapore.

A 29-year-old assistant customer service manager from the Philippines, who earns about $3,000 a month, said: "It makes me feel that only certain types of foreigners are more welcome here... I have a wife and a two-year-old son that I left behind. My current salary does not qualify me to bring them here and the new salary requirement will make it even harder."