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I am an Indian national, working in Singapore on a work visa (EP). I am currently working on a contract position. That means, I am working for company, but on an HR agency's payroll. I had worked in Singapore before and I miscalculated and accepted the offer without considering recent insane inflation and housing cost increases.

I wish to ask for a raise considering this circumstances. Considering the agency that pays me doesn't know (or even care) about my day to day work and accomplishments, how can I successfully negotiate a pay raise?

Note that I have some unique skills in a specific software they use, which is hard to recruit. I am on an yearly contract and have six month left for my renewal.

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  • Who pays you as the answers say. Note that the HR agency may taking a significant cut, which is why you go to them, and they have to figure out if they just wear the additional cost, or attempt to pass it on. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 6:33

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You ask for a raise at the organization who pays you. That would be the HR agency in your case. They may not care what you do at the customer site and what your day to day work is, but they care that you keep working for them.

So your raise negotiation shouldn't entirely focus on how you bring great value to the client. Instead, tell them that you like to keep working for them, but because of reason xyz you need more money.

Of course, never threaten to quit if you aren't prepared to do just that.

That said, I've never worked in such a constellation and I can imagine that getting a raise here can be hard. Maybe looking for other opportunities is easier in your case.

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Ultimately it is your agency that decides how much you are paid. But as a contractor with in-demand skills you have another way that you can go - cut out the agency and work directly for the company that needs your services.

This answer assumes that the company you do the work for is likely to need your skills for several years to come and is happy with your work. Check this with the company if you are not sure. Then see if you can find out from the company you do the work for how much they pay the agency for your services. I'm guessing it's a lot more than you are getting in salary.

If that's the case, then you can get that money all for yourself by setting up your own contracting company and selling your services direct to the customer for that amount, which you get to keep yourself. There is of course some work involved in setting up as a contractor. In my country it's not much work, but I have no idea how much it is in India. There are other issues - if your agency is paying you benefits, or paid time off, or anything like that you won't get them if you are your own contractor. But you should be able to get enough money to compensate for that.

You should only make this transition at the end of the contract your agency has with the customer, but you need to make all the preparations and do the negotiations first.

You can also see if the customer will take you on as a permanent employee. However be careful, as you may have signed something to say you won't work for customers after you leave your agency.

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    @JoeStrazzere, I agree with Joe. Also, in addition to their own contract, the agency probably has its own contract with the client. And normally, there is some sort of buy out clause/commission structure for the client to be able to hire the contractor away from the agency. Commented Nov 16, 2022 at 18:02
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    @JoeStrazzere I also agree with Joe. This can go badly for you in a number of ways. Commented Nov 17, 2022 at 6:34

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