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.
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.