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Work visas for Singapore

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There are a wide range of visa options for those wishing to stay in Singapore for a long period. Singapore refers to long term residence permits as “passes” and these cover different categories of professionals or long term workers in the country.

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

P1 employment pass

The P1 employment pass is a work visa delivered to executives, managers and highly skilled foreign workers. To be eligible for a P1 pass, applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of more than SGD $7,000. The pass is generally valid for 1 or 2 years and is renewable. The employer in Singapore receives a renewal notification two months before visa expires must then be file 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 P1 pass can be initiated by the “sponsor”, that is the company which is seeking to hire a foreign worker in Singapore, but applicants may be required to provide complementary documents themselves. Dependants of P1 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 activities. If dependants want to work in Singapore, they need to hold 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 P1 pass holders travel to Singapore with a partner to whom they are not married, the latter needs to apply for a “Long Term Social Visit Pass”.

P2 and Q1 employment pass

The P2 pass is fundamentally similar to the P1 pass but covers individuals with a lower level of remuneration. Applicants earning SGD $3,500 and SGD $7,000 in Singapore can apply for an employment pass P2. Applicants are required to hold professional qualifications, and these are assessed and validated by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore. Moving down the salary tiers, the Q1 pass is relevant to those earning a fixed salary between SGD $2,500 and SGD $3,500. Family entry and settlement within the P2 and Q1 framework are similar to those of P1 process, but the Q1 pass does not allow family entry and settlement for unmarried partners.

The S employment pass

The S-Pass is a work visa designed for mid-level skilled workers holding specific qualifications which are in demand in Singapore. Workers liable of earning a fixed monthly salary of more than SGD $1,800 in Singapore can 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 SGD $2,500. 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 studies;
  • Professional qualifications.

Personalized Employment Pass (PEP)

The Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is a visa which is not tied to a specific employer. Personalized employment passes are granted based on the strengths of an EP holder's individual merits. A PEP is practical because it allows holders to remain in Singapore for up to six months between successive jobs, thereby allowing the holder to look for new job opportunities. The following are eligible for the PEP pass:

  • Foreign professionals whose last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas was at least of SGD $7,000;
  • Former P1 Pass holders who are living abroad and are not unemployed for longer than a continuous period of six months at the time of application;
  • P2 Pass holders who have at least two years' working experience on a P Pass. Holders should earn a fixed salary of at least SGD $30,000 in the preceding year;
  • Q1 Pass holders with at least five years' working experience on a Q1 pass. Holders should earn a fixed salary of at least SGD $30,000 in the preceding year;
  • Foreign graduates from institutions of higher learning in Singapore with at least two years’ working experience on a P or Q1 Pass. Holders should earn a fixed salary of at least SGD $30,000 in the preceding year;

The PEP visa is not renewable and dependents of PEP holders can either apply for a social visit pass or a dependent pass.

Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC):

The Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) enables foreign nationals to settle in Singapore for up to one year in order to find employment. The EPEC employment pass is mainly designed for trained foreign nationals and former holders of employment passes. The EPEC employment pass is not a work visa per se but needs to be seen as a bridging pass. If an EPEC pass holder finds employment in Singapore, an application for an employment pass (P1, P2, Q1, Q2 or S) must be filed to the “Work Pass Division”. The applicant can remain in Singapore during this process.

Work Permits

The Work Permit (WP) scheme allows foreign workers from approved countries to work in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process and services sectors. 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.

Working Holiday Visa

Nationals from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States can travel to Singapore within the framework of the working holiday visa. The working holiday visa is designed for young people aged between 17 and 30 years old wishing to work, study or travel to Singapore for a period of up to 6 months. Applicants to the Working Holiday visa 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 $150 and you need to include $30 for each additional multiple journey visa.

 Useful links:

Ministry of Manpower www.mom.gov.sg
Working Holiday Visa www.mom.gov.sg
Contact Singapore www.contactsingapore.sg

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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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
3 years ago

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

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beppi
beppi
3 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
4 years ago

great article, thanx

Reply

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