Employment Pass in Singapore

Everything you want to know About Singapore Employment Pass

Employment Pass in Singapore allows foreign professionals, managers, specialists and executives to work and live in Singapore. People with a job offer in Singapore are eligible for an Employment Pass. An employer or an appointed employment agent can apply on behalf of the applicant.

The application for an Employment Pass needs a careful review to decide on the right kind of pass, Employment Pass requirements and the Ministry of Manpower’s latest regulations.

According to the Singapore Companies Act 2007, if a foreigner is to become a director of a company, the foreigner shall need to be a valid Singapore Employment Pass holder.

Eligibility for Employment Pass

Only eligible foreign nationals are considered for issuing Singapore Employment Pass and open to all nationalities. The eligibility criteria are

  • Must have a job offer in Singapore.
  • Must work in a managerial, executive or specialist capacity.
  • Must earn a minimum monthly salary of SGD 4500, more experienced applicants need higher salaries.
  • Must possess an acceptable qualification, a university degree, professional qualification or specialized skills from accredited institutions and verifiable through global agencies e.g. Dataflow or Risk Management Intelligence (RMI) or International Accreditation bodies or awarding country's educational authorities.

The minimum monthly salary requirement as one of the foremost eligibility criteria for application of Employment Pass may primarily be intended to ensure that the foreign Pass holders have salaries similar to those of local Singaporeans and the employers are discouraged to hire foreigners at a lower cost.

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Documentation Requirements For Employment Pass

You need to upload the following documents while applying for an Employment Pass online

  • Personal Particular page of applicant's Passport.
  • CV of the applicant for employment history.
  • Company's latest business profile or instant information registered with ACRA.
  • A detailed description of products, services and activities of the company.
  • Tenancy agreement of the place of business in Singapore.
  • Photograph of applicant.
  • Applicant's educational certificates such as degree certificate.
  • The detailed job description of the applicant stating responsibilities and endorsed by the company.
  • Documents in a language other than English needs translation by an official transaction service and a translated copy attached.

Application and Issuance of Employment Pass- Procedural Steps and Timeline

You need not be physically present in Singapore while applying for an Employment Pass. The EP applications can be submitted online to the Ministry of Manpower by your employer or an appointed employment agent in Singapore.

Before you apply for an Employment Pass, you need to be well aware of all the requirements and eligibility criteria stipulated by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower.

Before applying for an Employment Pass (EP), all employers need to advertise the job on MyCareersFuture. The minimum monthly salary requirement for being eligible for EP is SGD 4500 and may be higher for senior experienced persons.

The process of application and issuance consists of the following steps

Before Applying for the EP

  • Knowing the eligibility and requirements.
  • Reviewing all the documents required to be submitted to the MOM.

Before the Applicant arrives in Singapore, the employer or the appointed employment agent (EA) must carry out the following steps that take 3 weeks for most cases if you have a Singapore registered office, otherwise 8 weeks from the date of submission of online application

  • Filling up of Employment Pass Form
  • Applying online
  • Updating the Ministry of Manpower about your newly formed company and your applicant
  • Critically reviewing the filled up form for correctness before submitting.
  • Receiving In-principle approval letter (IPA).

Once the IPA is received, the applicant arrives in Singapore and the following steps are to be followed within 6 months of issuance of IPA

  • Putting a request for issuance of EP by Logging in to EP Online
  • Providing a home or office address where the Pass is to be delivered
  • Making the payment of fees, SGD 225 for each pass and SGD 30 for each multiple journey Visa, if applicable
  • Submitting the supporting documents
  • Getting the EP issued
  • Nominating up to 3 authorized recipients of the pass along with their mobile no, email ID, Passport no etc.
  • Printing of Notification Letter which has a validity of one month and handing over to the applicant to start work and travel in and out of Singapore, if needed

Once the Notification Letter is used, the following steps are to be carried out for immediate issuance of EP Card

  • Registering fingerprints and photo by the applicant by making an appointment with the Employment Pass Service Centre (EPSC) within two weeks after issuance of Pass and receiving the Notification Letter and visiting EPSC with original passport, appointment letter, IPA letter
  • Receiving the EP Card
Information required to be provided for the issuance of EP Card is
  • Applicant's Passport details
  • Applicant's residential address in Singapore
  • Contact details of authorized recipients of EP
  • Completed declaration form with a copy of IPA attached and signed by a person holding a position of Manager or above in the company
  • Details of applicant's current short term visit Pass or immigration pass
  • A local address for EP Card delivery
  • Disembarkation/ Embarkation card
  • Completed health declaration form

The EP Card has a validity of two years and the frequency of renewal is three years.

Advantage of Employment Pass Over Other Singapore Work Visa

EP holders enjoy several advantages over other work Pass holders and the most common amongst the foreigners.

EP holders can become owner or director of a company when S Pass holders can’t
Can enter any line of work which doesn’t apply to other Pass holder categories and even personalized EP holders
No additional specific criteria as applicable to personalized EP or EntrePass holders

Employment Pass and Dependant Pass

EP holders can apply for Dependant’s Pass (DP) and Long term visit Pass subject to fulfilment of certain criteria and can make it easier for their family members to come to Singapore.

Notification Requirements of Employment Pass

The Ministry of Manpower needs to be notified in the event of 

  • Any change in the pass holder's salary
  • Change in company's financial information
  • If there is an inter-company transfer of EP holder
  • If the EP holder goes missing
  • Change in EP holder's residential address
  • Change in company's name
  • Any change in the company address
  • Any change in occupation and responsibilities
  • Any change in EP holder's personal information

Renewal of Employment Pass

In the event of an EP holder continuing working beyond two years of EP validity, the employer can apply for renewal of Pass.

EP renewal application can be done up to 6 months before the pass expires. The renewal application needs to reach MOM at least 2 months before expiry.

The employer or EA can make the application and the renewed pass remains valid for 3 years if supported by passport validity.

Renewal of EP attracts SGD 225 fees for each Pass and missing the deadline requires an application for a new pass. The renewal is not guaranteed and subject to current regulatory regulations of MOM.

The renewal process steps are

  • Logging in to EP Online
  • Uploading necessary supporting documents
  • Receiving application status notification through registered mail address
  • Fulfilling instructions in the IPA to get EP Card
  • Filling up of renewal form
  • Applying to Work Pass Division
  • Receiving IPA on successful renewal and valid for 3 months
  • Continue using the existing card if so written on the Notification Letter

In case the EP Card is lost, the employer of the cardholder must apply for a replacement within 1 week.

Difficulty in comprehending Singapore’s strict eligibility criteria along with the complexities involved in the Employment Pass application process can often be a daunting task for employers and applicants alike. The Ministry of Manpower’s understanding may also greatly differ from those of the applicants. Outsourcing an external PRO service provider with a local presence offering work visa services in Singapore should always be a wise and preferred choice.

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