All foreigners intending to start work in Singapore must obtain a valid work visa to do so. There are many types of work visas, each with specific rules and regulations governed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Application / Renewal Rates for Foreign Workers
|Online Application – Employment Pass||$400 – $500||$600 – $800||$ 200||$ 300|
|Dependent Pass application for spouse / children||$300||$300||$150||$150|
|Long Term Visit Pass for Parent / Step Children||$300||$300||$150||$150|
|Medical Check-up Cost||$53.50|
Assume Applicant meets the minimum eligiblity criteria for the workpass by MOM
Additional Fees of $100 apply if Appeals is required against initial rejection by MOM
Exclude Out of Pocket Exp. (e.g. MOM Fees, etc)
Common Types of Singapore Work Visas
|Entrepreneur Pass||N/A||Entrepreneurs looking to relocate and start a business in Singapore|
|Work Permit||N/A||Semi-skilled foreign workers from approved source countries working in the construction, manufacturing, service, process, or marine shipyard sector|
|S Pass||$2,300||Holds a degree, diploma or technical certificate with basic requirement of at least 1 year of full-time study and relevant work experience|
|Employment Pass||$3,600||Professional, manager or executive roles|
|Dependent’s Pass||N/A||Parent or spouse with an employment pass and a minimum fixed monthly salary of $6,000, or is sponsored by an established Singapore-registered company|
What is an Employment Pass?
An Employment Pass (EP) is a Singapore working visa issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to foreign professional employees, managers, executives and owners or directors of Singapore companies.
An Employment Pass is open to all nationalities and is usually valid for 2 years with the possibility to renew. No foreign work levy or quota is required for Employment Pass.
Employment Pass holders may apply for Permanent Residence (PR) in due course.
General Requirements to Qualify for an Employment Pass
To qualify for an Employment Pass, the foreign professional must:
- Be offered a job in Singapore
- The job position is managerial, executive or a specialised role
- Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600 (more experienced and older candidates may require higher salaries)
- Holds related qualification, such as a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialised skills
Note: Even if the candidate fulfil all requirements listed above, he or she is not automatically eligible. Each candidate is evaluated based on the track record and the skill set he or she brings to the Singapore economy. Evaluation may also include examining the company’s contributions to the Singapore economy and workforce.
Documents Required for the Application of Employment Pass
The following documents are required for the application of Employment Pass:
- Copy of the candidate’s passport personal particulars page
- Company’s latest ACRA business profile
- Candidate’s educational certificates
If the qualification is from India, the following additional verification proofs are required:
If the qualification is from China, the following additional verification proofs are required:
- Verification proof directly in English from recognised sources such as:
- China Higher Education Student Information and Career Center
- China Academic Degrees & Graduate Education Information
- Note: Education certificates certified by a notary public are not accepted as verification proof
Additional documents may be required for certain professions or industries.
Note: all documents must be in English or with an English translation done by a certified translation body.
Applying for an Employment Pass
An Employment Pass application will be processed within 3 weeks (if applied online) to 8 weeks (if applied manually), unless additional information is required.
The application procedure is as follows:
- The vacant job position must be advertised on the Jobs Bank for at least 14 days before an Employment Pass application is made for a foreign candidate (unless company fulfils the conditions to be exempt from this requirement).
- The application is submitted, along with its supporting documents. The employer will need a written consent from the candidate.
- Upon approval, an in-principle approval (IPA) letter will be issued. It serves as a pre-approved single entry visa for the worker to enter Singapore.
- When the worker arrives in Singapore, he or she must complete a medical examination with any Singapore-registered doctor.
- A request for the issuing of Employment Pass must then be made within 60 days when the candidate is in Singapore.
- Upon receiving the notification letter confirming the issuance of Employment Pass, the candidate must register his or her fingerprints and complete photo-taking at the MOM Services Centre within 2 weeks.
- Upon registration, the Employment Pass card will be delivered within 4 working days.
How can Timcole Increase Your Chance with an Employment Pass Application?
Timcole’s Employment Pass application service include:
- Advise and assist in the preparation of Employment Pass application and ensuring that all necessary supporting documents are included to minimise delays and maximise approval
- Applying and tracking of Employment Pass application
- Liaising with MOM officer in charge on your behalf, if required
- Arranging for the issuance of Employment Pass upon in-principle approval
- In the case of a rejection, Timcole will review the application and file an appeal on your behalf
Jobs Bank Requirement
According to the MOM, companies that wish to hire foreign professionals are required to first advertise the said position in the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s Jobs Bank for a minimum of 14 days.
However, companies that fufill the below conditions are exempt from this requirement:
- Company has less than 10 employees.
- The job position will earn a fixed monthly salary of S$15,000 or more.
- The job will be filled by an intra-corporate transferee (ICTs). ICTs refer to candidates holding senior positions in the organisation or professionals with advanced level of expertise.
- The job position is only required for less than one month.
What Happens If the Employment Pass Application is Rejected?
In the event that the Employment Pass application is unsuccessful, the applicant can file an appeal within 90 days of the rejection notice. The appeal will take at least 3 weeks to process.
Note: Please do not hesitate to bring your situation to us in the case of a rejection. Timcole, a professional firm with vast experience in work-pass services, can assist in investigating why your Employment Pass application is unsuccessful. Based on the reasons provided by the MOM, we will refine your application and submit an appeal on your behalf.
Renewing of Employment Pass
An Employment Pass can be renewed six months before it expires. The processing will take 3 weeks (if applied online) to 8 weeks (if applied manually for EP sponsorship cases) or longer.
Note: The MOM must receive the renewal application at least 2 weeks before the pass’s expiry date. Otherwise, the pass holder will be required to apply for a new Employment Pass.
Upon approval, the renewed pass is valid for up to 3 years. Factors such as the pass holder’s passport validity will not affect the duration of the renewed pass.
Renewals are not guaranteed and highly recommended to apply early.
To renew an Employment Pass:
- Submit the application renewal along with its supporting documents.
- Upon approval, an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter will be received.
- Follow the instructions in the IPA to apply for the issuing of the pass.
- Receive a notification letter which determines whether a new pass will be issued.
Notifying Changes with the MOM
The Employment Pass holder or the employer must notify MOM of the following changes:
- Change in pass holder’s salary
- Change in company’s name or financial information
- Change in company address
- Change in business entity
- If a pass holder is transferred to a related company
- Change in pass holder’s occupation
- If a pass holder goes missing
- Change in pass holder’s residential address
- Change in pass holder’s personal particulars
Employment Pass Card Replacement
The Employment Pass holder or employer must apply for a new card within one week if the Employment Pass is lost, damaged or stolen. If the Employment Pass card was stolen, a police report must also be included in the application.
If the Employment Pass holder is overseas during the event, the employer must notify MOM immediately and a letter will be issued for the pass holder to enter Singapore.
A charge will be made for the card replacement. For a damaged card, the cost will be S$60 and for a lost card, the cost is S$100 for the first loss and S$300 for any subsequent loss.
Upon approval, the new S Pass card can be collected within 4 working days.
Cancellation of Employment Pass
The employer of an Employment Pass holder must cancel the Employment Pass if the pass holder is no longer working for the company or if the Employment Pass expires. The cancellation must be done either within one week after the last day of notice or one day after the Employment Pass expires.
If the pass holder has already left Singapore permanently before the cancellation, the employer must cancel the Employment Pass within one week from the pass holder’s date of departure.
The cancellation is immediate and all related Dependant’s Passes, Long Term Visit Passes and Letter of Consent will also be cancelled.
Before the cancellation of the Employment Pass, the employer must:
- Seek tax clearance from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS)
- Settle any outstanding salary payment, or other employment issues
- Buy an air ticket for the worker to return home (unless the pass holder is willing to bear the cost)
Upon cancellation, the employer has one week to mail the Employment Pass card to the following address:
Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764
Applying for Singapore Permanent Residency
Employment Pass holders are eligible to apply for Permanent Residence (PR) in Singapore. It is advisable to wait for at least six months to meet one of the assessing criteria requiring a submission of a minimum six months payslip and preferably an IRAS tax assessment.
The PR application will be made through the Professionals/Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker (PTS) scheme at the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA). ICA will evaluate according to the applicant’s personal particular, background, length of stay, and other relevant factors.
Applying Passes for Family Members
Employment Pass holders with a fixed monthly salary of S$6,000 or more, are eligible to apply for a Dependant’s Pass or Long Term Visit Pass for their spouse and children.
The type of passes to apply for the family members are as follows:
|Family Member||Pass Type|
|Legally married spouse||Dependant’s Pass|
|Common-law spouse||Long Term Visit Pass|
|Unmarried children under the age of 21, including those legally adopted||Dependant’s Pass|
|Unmarried handicapped children above the age of 21||Long Term Visit Pass|
|Unmarried step-children under the age of 21||Long Term Visit Pass|
|Parents (eligible only for Employment Pass holders earning a monthly fixed salary of S$12,000 or more)||Long Term Visit Pass|
Applying for a Personalised Employment Pass
Employment Pass holders are eligible to apply for a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). It is a special kind of Employment Pass that is issued to top-tier individuals. Unlike the usual Employment Pass, it is independent of any employer. Thus, a PEP holder enjoys greater flexibility in switching employers without affecting the status of the PEP.
Taking Up Directorship
Employment Pass holders can be appointed as a director of another related company. However, application to the MOM for approval is required.
The employer intending to appoint an Employment Pass holder to the Board of Directors must ensure the following:
- The Employment Pass holder’s employer must be aware and gives no objection to the appointment action.
- Application for a Letter of Consent (LOC) must be made and approved by the MOM.
- Upon approval from the MOM, registration of the Employment Pass holder’s directorship position must be made with the ACRA.
In most cases, MOM will only grant an LOC if:
- The company offering the directorship position is related (by shareholding) to the Employment Pass holder’s primary company.
- The secondary directorship is offered to the Employment Pass holder for purposes relating to their current employment.
How Timcole can Help You
Timcole is one of the leading company incorporation and accounting firm based in Singapore. Our wide range of professional services serve as a one-stop solution for your business, offering you the most affordable price for services conducted with the highest level of excellency.
We also offer assistance to employers with Employment Pass application or other types of working visas. Our extensive experience in providing work pass services can assure you a streamline process and lessen the extra work burden on your side. Contact us for a consultation today.