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
|Application / Renewal of Work Permit||Malaysian||Others
(with existing SG FIN)
(without SG FIN)
|New Online Application
|Renewal of Work Pass||$200|
|Register Business Activity with WPAR Registration||From $100|
|Medical Check-up Cost||From $100|
|Foreign Worker Medical Insurance||From $150|
|Purchase Security Deposit Bond||From $100 per annum|
|Workmen Injury Insurance||From $200 per annum|
Assume Applicant meets the minimum eligiblity criteria for the workpass by MOM
Additional Fees of $200 apply if Appeals is required against initial rejection by MOM
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 a Work Permit?
Work Permits allow semi-skilled foreign workers from a pre-approved list of countries to work in certain industries in Singapore. These sectors mainly include construction, manufacturing, services, process and marine shipyard industries.
Work Permit holders are not able to apply for passes for their family members to stay or work in Singapore.
Note: This article focuses solely on Work Permit for foreign workers. Rules and regulations may differ on Work Permit for foreign domestic workers, confinement nannies or performing artistes.
General Requirements to Apply for a Work Permit
The general requirements for a foreigner to be qualified for a Work Permit are as follow:
- Must hold citizenship from approved source countries (may vary upon industries)
- Minimum age must be 18 years old at the time of application
- If a Malaysian, must be below 58 years old at the time of application
- Non-malaysians must be below 50 years old at the time of application
The applying company must also fulfil its quota requirement, which may vary depending on its industry. Approved Work Permits are valid for up to 2 years, and are renewable.
Upon approved Work Permits, employers must expect the following:
- Employer must provide mandatory medical insurance
- Employer must provide a bank or insurance guarantee of $5,000 per Work Permit holder (except for Malaysian Work Permit holders)
- Employer must pay a monthly levy to the MOM. The levy amount varies from $300 to $950 per worker, depending on the number of Work Permit holder(s) the company employed.
Applying for Work Permit
A Work Permit application usually takes a week to process, unless more clarification or information is required.
The Work Permit application procedure is as follows:
- The application is submitted, along with its supporting documents. A written consent from the foreign worker will also be required.
- Upon approval, an in-principle approval (IPA) letter will be issued.
- To prepare for the worker’s arrival, the employer must buy a security bond (if the worker is non-Malaysian) and medical insurance.
- 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 Work Permit must then be made within 14 days (for non-Malaysian) or before the date stated on the IPA.
- Upon receiving the notification letter confirming the issuance of Work Permit, the worker must register his or her fingerprints and complete photo-taking at the MOM services centre within a week.
- Upon registration, the Work Permit card will be delivered within 4 working days.
An approved Work Permit is usually valid for 2 years, with the possibility of renewal. However, the validity may be shorter depending on:
- The validity of the worker’s passport (validity will be 1 month before the passport expires)
- The duration of the security bond (validity will be 2 months before the security bond expires)
Renewing of Work Permit
A Work Permit can be renewed six to eight weeks before it expires.
- Submit the Work Permit application for renewal along with its supporting documents.
- Upon approval, a notification letter will be issued.
- The Work Permit holder may be required to get a new Work Permit card.
The renewal of Work Permit is usually valid for 2 years. However, it may be shorter depending on the expiry of the worker’s passport or validity of security bond.
What Happens if the Work Permit Renewal is Rejected?
In the case of an unsuccessful Work Permit renewal, the employer can submit an appeal, with supporting documents. MOM will take around 3 weeks to process the appeal.
Note: Please do not hesitate to bring your situation to us in the case of a renewal rejection. Timcole, a professional firm with vast experience in work-pass services, can assist in investigating why and submit an appeal on your behalf.
Notifying Changes with the MOM
The employer of Work Permit holder(s) must notify MOM of the following changes:
- Change in business entity
- If a pass holder is transferred to a related company
- Change in company’s name
- Change in company’s contact details
- Change in worker’s address
- Change in worker’s occupation
- Change in worker’s personal particulars
- Change in worker’s salary
- If a worker is pregnant
- If a worker goes missing
- If a worker is pronounced dead in Singapore
Work Permit Card Replacement
The employer of the Work Permit holder must apply for a new card within one week if the Work Permit is lost, damaged or stolen. If the Work Permit card was stolen, a police report must also be included in the application.
If the Work Permit holder is overseas during the event, the employer must notify MOM immediately and a letter will be issued for the worker 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 Work Permit card can be collected within 4 working days.
Cancellation of Work Permit
The employer of a Work Permit holder must cancel the Work Permit if the worker is no longer working for the company or if the Work Permit expires. The cancellation must be done either within one week after the last day of notice or one day after the Work Permit expires.
The cancellation will be processed within three days and the levy of the cancelled Work Permit will stop on the day before the cancellation.
Before the cancellation of the Work Permit, 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, with the departure date within 2 weeks from the date of cancellation
If the worker has already left Singapore permanently before the cancellation, the employer must cancel the Work Permit within one week from the worker’s date of departure.
Upon cancellation, the employer has one week to mail the Work Permit card to the following address:
Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764
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 assist Singapore companies with Work Permit applications and other forms of visa applications. Our 8 years of 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.