The Employment Pass (EP) is for suitably qualified foreign workers. It is a sponsored visa linked to a Singapore employer.
It takes 5-10 working days to process and is valid for up to 2 years with renewals for up to 3 years.
There are no restrictions or quotas on the EP based on nationality or industry. Dependants and spouses can also enter Singapore.
- The foreign professional must have a job offer in Singapore
- They must earn at least SGD 3,300 per month, or a higher amount as appropriate for their position.
- They must work in a managerial, executive or specialised role.
- They must be suitably qualified for example a university degree, professional qualifications or relevant specialist experience
- The application must be made by a company registered in Singapore
Business – Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass)
For Business, the Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is designed to facilitate the entry and stay of entrepreneurs who are ready to start and operate a new business in Singapore. All applicants must fulfill these requirements.
- Must be a Private Limited Company registered with an appropriate local accounting and corporate regulatory authority. Applicant need not register the company in Singapore If registered, it must not be more than six months from date of company application.
- Company must have at least SGD$50,000 paid-up-capital. A bank statement, from the Singapore-based company bank account, of at least SGD$50,000 is required for verification.
- The business must not be illegal.
- Applicant must hold at least 30% of shares in the company.
Personalised Employment Pass
The Personalised Employment Pass is for high earning EP holders or foreigners. It allows the holder to freely move between employers provided the Singaporean authorities are notified and the visa criteria are met.
It lasts for up to 3 years, but is not renewable. It is not liked to any one employer. Dependants and spouses can also enter Singapore.
- The foreign professional must earn at least SGD $18,000 per month
- The existing EP holder must earn at least SGD $12,000 per month
- Cannot be a freelancer
- Cannot be an existing sponsored Employment Pass holder
- Cannot start a business or do any entrepreneurial activity
- Cannot be a journalist
- Must earn at least SGD $144,000 per calendar year to maintain the pass and cannot be unemployed for more than 6 months at any time
The S Pass is designed for mid-level technical staff. It has lower earnings criteria than the Employment Pass. It is an employer sponsored visa and must be applied for by a Singapore registered employer.
There are quotas for each employer on S Pass workers (no more than 20% of the companies workforce can be S Pass holders) as well as a levy paid by each employer. The employer must also obtain medical insurance for each employee.
The S Pass lasts for up to 2 years and can be renewed.
If the employee earns more than SGD $4,000 per month, their dependants and spouses can also enter Singapore.
- The employee must earn at least SGD $2,200 per month
- The employee must have a degree or diploma
- The employee must have an appropriate level of relevant commercial experience
Foreign workers are required to have the proper visas and work permits in Singapore, as established by immigration laws. Work permits must be secured for employees, and sponsored by a locally licensed and incorporated entity, which can be a problem for companies just entering the Singapore market. The most common work permit is the Employment Pass which is for foreign professionals, managers and executives earning at least SGD3,600 per month.
An Employment Pass will be required in order to work in Singapore and will come under the review of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
The MOM adopts a graduated approach towards foreign talent offering the most attractive terms to those who can contribute most to the economy.
1. Sponsor Application
The employer sponsoring the visa registers for Employment Pass Online (EP Online) via the Work Pass Account Registration (WPAR) portal. To access WPAR, a SingPass and Unique Entity Number are required.You can sign up for an EP Online account if you are:
- A business owner who is a Singapore citizen, permanent resident or an EntrePass holder
- An employee of a registered business who is a Singapore citizen or permanent resident
- A foreign employe of a registered business who is a holder of an Employment Pass (EP), Personalised Employed Pass (PEP) or S Pass
The registration process may take up to 5 working days.
2. EP Application
The employer sponsoring the visa applies for the EP via EP Online.
The approval process takes 7 working days.
3. In-Principle Approval
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issues an In-Principle Approval (IPA). The employer prints the letter and provides the employee with a copy.
4. Entry into Singapore
The employee can enter Singapore with the IPA which includes a pre-approved single entry visa for them to enter Singapore. The visa must be used within 6 months.
When the employee arrives in Singapore, an Issuance of Notification Letter is issued online. This request is lodged through EP Online and can only be done whilst the employee is in Singapore. The employee will need to supply their residential address as part of this process.
The Notification letter allows the employee to travel freely for 1 month whilst they obtain their biometric data (if required).
5. Biometric Data Registration
The employee registers their Biometric Data (if required) by making an appointment to visit the Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC). This must be done within 2 weeks of the pass being issued.
A Long Term Pass is issued within 4 working days of the EPSC visit.
The following documentation is required:
- Passport photos
- Copy of passport (personal data page)
- Educational and technical qualification certificates
- Employment contract
As well as the above, EP Online can help companies and organizations perform transactions such as:
- Renewal application for Employment Pass
- Upload relevant supporting document for a new application
- Appeal for rejection applications
- Check application and renewal status
- Insurance of Employment Pass
- Cancellation of Employment Pass
- View rejection reasons for most of the unsuccessful applications
- Check organization’s tier information.