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Work visas for Singapore

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There is a wide range of visa options for those wishing to stay in Singapore for a long period. Long-term residence permits in Singapore are referred to as “passes” and these cover different categories of professionals, long-term workers, trainees, and students and in the country.

Work Passes for Professionals

Employment Pass

Foreign professionals holding job offers in Singapore and who meet eligibility criteria such as a minimum monthly salary can apply for an Employment Pass in Singapore. These passes can be renewed, and different types of passes are delivered based on salary levels.

The Employment Pass is delivered to foreign professionals, managers, and executives. To be eligible for an Employment Pass, applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,600. The pass is generally valid for up to 2 years for first-time applicants, and for up to 3 years for renewals. The employer in Singapore receives a renewal notification two months before the expiration of the visa, and must then submit a new Employment Pass application to the Work Pass Division. Note that renewal is not automatic and remains at the discretion of the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.

The initial application procedure for the Employment Pass can be initiated by the “sponsor”, that is to say, the company seeking to hire the foreign worker in Singapore. However, applicants may be required to provide complementary documents themselves. Dependants of Employment Pass holders can apply for a “Dependant Pass”, but it is important to note that the Dependant Pass is a residence visa only; it does not allow the holder to undertake paid employment. If dependants want to work in Singapore, they need to have a “Letter of Consent”. Companies wishing to hire Dependant Pass holders must submit a “Letter of Consent” (LOC) application to the Ministry of Manpower. If Employment Pass holders travel to Singapore with a partner to whom they are not married, the latter needs to apply for a “Long-Term Visit Pass”.

EntrePass

The EntrePass is designed for eligible foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start and operate a new business in Singapore. If already registered, the company must be less than 6 months old. New passes or first renewals are valid for 1 year, while subsequent renewals are valid for 2 years. The application process takes up to 8 weeks and entails a S$70 administrative fee for the application. Once the pass is issued, candidates are required to pay an additional S$150 for each pass.

Businesses that fall into the following categories are not eligible to apply for the EntrePass:

  • Coffee shops, hawker centres, food courts

  • Bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges

  • Foot reflexology, massage parlours

  • Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, or herbal dispensing businesses

  • Employment or recruitment agencies

  • Geomancy businesses

Personalised Employment Pass

The Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is tailored to high-earning existing Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals. Compared to the Employment Pass, the advantage of the PEP is that it entails greater flexibility. The PEP allows pass holders to work in any job sector; PEP holders are not required to reapply for a new pass in case of changing jobs; and finally, PEP holders can stay in Singapore for a continuous period of up to 6 months without a job while searching for new employment.

To be eligible for the pass, applicants must demonstrate a minimum monthly salary of S$12,000 (for current Employment Pass holders) or a minimum monthly salary of S$18,000 (for overseas foreign professionals).

The PEP visa is valid for 3 years and is not renewable; dependants of PEP holders can either apply for a social visit pass or a Dependant Pass.

Work passes for skilled and semi-skilled workers

S Pass

The S-Pass is a work visa designed for mid-level skilled workers holding specific qualifications that are in demand in Singapore. Professionals who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,200 in Singapore are eligible to apply for this pass. Family entry and settlement for married couples (and children) is allowed if the fixed monthly salary of the S-Pass holder exceeds S$6,000. Quotas are in place to control the number of pass holders within a given company, and applicants are assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Expected wage in Singapore

  • Nature of the position

  • Level of education

  • Professional qualifications

Work Permits

The Work Permit (WP) scheme has been designed for foreign workers from approved countries who fall under one of the following categories:

  • Semi-skilled foreign workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine, shipyard, process or service sector (WP for foreign worker)

  • Foreign domestic workers (WP for foreign domestic worker)

  • Malaysian Confinement nannies who’d like to work in Singapore for up to 16 weeks starting from the birth of the employer’s child (WP for confinement nannies)

  • Foreign performers working in public entertainment outlets such as bars, hotels, and nightclubs (WP for performing artists)

There are specific eligibility criteria in place for each of the sectors, and the permits require the provision of a security bond. The salary requirements are far lower than for the other Singaporean employment passes. The duration of the permit is generally for a period of 2 years. The work permits do not allow family entry and settlement into Singapore.

Trainees and students

Training Pass

Foreign trainees or students wishing to undergo practical training in Singapore can apply for two visa schemes: the Training Employment Pass and the Training Work Permit.

The Training Employment Pass has been designed for foreign students or foreign trainees wishing to undergo practical training in Singapore. To be eligible for this pass, applicants must earn a minimum monthly salary of S$3,000 and be sponsored by a well-established Singapore-registered company. The pass is valid for 3 months and is not renewable.

The Training Work Permit allows semi-skilled foreign trainees or students to undergo practical training in Singapore. To be eligible, applicants need to fall into one of the following groups:

  • Semi-skilled or unskilled employees from related overseas companies to undergo training in Singapore, working in one of the following sectors: construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, or services

  • Foreign students studying in educational institutions in Singapore, where the training is part of the course requirement

Candidates for this visa do not need to meet a minimum salary requirement in order to apply. The Training Work Permit is valid for up to 6 months and is not renewable.

Work Holiday Pass

The Work Holiday Pass is distributed under two visa programmes: the Work Holiday Programme and the Work Holiday Visa Programme.

The Work Holiday Programme has been designed for students and graduates between the ages of 18 and 25 to stay in Singapore for a 6 months period, either for work or holiday purposes. Applicants for the work holiday programme have to be nationals of one of the following countries: Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.

The Work Holiday Visa Programme has been designed for Australian students and graduates aged 18 to 30 who want to work and undertake holiday in Singapore for 1 year.

Applicants to the Work Holiday Pass need to prove that they can sustain themselves financially while they are in Singapore and need to provide proof of their onward travel arrangements. Each pass costs S$150 and entails S$30 for each additional multiple journey visa.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Manpower - Information about passes
Contact Singapore

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
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Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
10 Comments
charmavietnam
charmavietnam
2 years ago

Good article but need to update! Many Passes changed the salary range and even names.

Reply
beppi
beppi
3 years ago

Please note that, if you get an LTVP for her, she will not be allowed to work. If you cannot get an LTVP, she would have to qualify for another visa on her own merit (e.g. for work).

Reply
beppi
beppi
3 years ago

LTVP for de-facto partners are possible only if the partnership is registered and legally recognised by your home country - so get the necessary paperwork beforehand! Even then, you will face questioning and may have to show proof that you were living together for a longer time (less than a year = forget it!). So prepare common bank account statements, utility bills, pictures of trips taken together, etc.

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robbieservais
robbieservais
3 years ago

Thanks for the interesting article. I am Dutch and will be working in Singapore as of january 2015, my Singaporean employer is applying for the Employment Pass. My question concerns my Japanese girlfriend, we wish to stay together during the 2 years of my tenure in Singapore. I understand that we have to apply for a Long Term Social Visit Pass, is that correct? Do we still meet the criteria even if we are not married? And how to go about it (enter Singapore on a tourist visa / apply for a SVP / apply for the Long Term Social Visit Pass (will the Dutch embassy issue a supporting letter?)). Anyone`s help is greatly appreciated as my girlfriend becomes very anxious about it!

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yeni2014
yeni2014
3 years ago

NEW ANNOUNCEMENT/UPDATE : From 1 August 2014, advertising requirement is imposed on Employers before they can hire foreigners to work in Singapore. Employers must advertise the job first at Job's bank for 14 days, if no suitable Singaporeans taker, then only be released to Expats. This aims to seal off fair employment practices. It will delay the hiring process and reduce the chance for Expats to work in Sg. Exceptions are if the position is with more than 12k salary, small co of 25 ppls or less, intra group transfer. This effects professionals applying for EP, not S Pass or work permit, so lower grade Passes are not effected as these jobs are abundance and not of great interest to Singaporeans except retirees and students.

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venugopal2278
venugopal2278
4 years ago

its an excellent informative website. however it should update itself from time to time as an when required..

Reply
beppi
beppi
4 years ago

The salary levels for the various EP classes have increased, and the rules for PEP have been completely changed. Since the system is revamped constantly, please check the relevant Singapore government websites in addition to this article.

Reply
alexiis
alexiis
5 years ago

great article, thanx

Reply

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