Marine Shipyard Sector: Foreign Worker Work Permit Requirements

To (employ foreign workers for the marine shipyard sector), you will have to meet specific requirements for business activity, worker’s source country or region, quota, and safety courses.

These requirements are additional and specific to the marine shipyard sector. You should refer to the more general conditions and requirements for Work Permit as well.

Requirements to be classified under the marine shipyard sector

The marine shipyard sector refers to shipyards and their contractors engaged in shipbuilding or ship repair activities in Singapore. To be classified under the marine shipyard sector, your company must meet both of these requirements:

  • Principal business activity is shipbuilding or ship repair.
  • Qualify as a shipyard or shipyard-sponsored contractor.

Being engaged in marine-related activities alone without meeting the requirements above will not qualify you under the marine shipyard sector. You may be classified under the services or manufacturing sector, as appropriate.

Your company’s principal business activity registered with ACRA must be any of the following:

ActivitySingapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) 2010
Building of ships, tankers and other ocean-going vessels
(including conversion of ships into off-shore structures)
Repair of ships, tankers and other ocean-going vessels30112
Manufacture and repair of marine engine and ship parts30113
Building and repair of pleasure crafts, lighters and boats30120

To qualify as a shipyard or shipyard-sponsored contractor

You need to meet the requirements below:

If your company is aThese requirements and benefits apply to you
Sponsoring shipyard
  • You need a certificate of registration (shipyard).
  • You must have a waterfront facility for shipbuilding or ship repair works.
  • You are able to support resident contractors and common contractors.
  • You don’t require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • You can apply for or renew Work Permits on your own.
Non-sponsoring shipyard
  • You need a certificate of registration (shipyard).
  • You must have a waterfront facility for shipbuilding or ship repair works.
  • You can support common contractors, but subject to approval.
  • You require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • You can apply for or renew Work Permits on your own.
Resident contractor
  • You must be supported by a specific sponsoring shipyard.
  • You don’t require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • Your sponsoring shipyard must apply for or renew Work Permits on your behalf.
Common contractor
  • You can be supported by several sponsoring or non-sponsoring shipyards.
  • You require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • The sponsoring or non-sponsoring shipyard must apply for or renew Work Permits on your behalf. Specific Work Permit applications or renewals must be made by the same shipyard that supported you for the prior approval applications.

You can only hire foreign workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries or regions, age when applying and maximum period of employment.

Source countries or regions

You can employ foreign workers from these countries or regions:

  • Malaysian Worker
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC Worker) China Workers
  • Non-Traditional sources (NTS):
    • India Worker
    • Sri Lanka Workers
    • Thailand Worker
    • Bangladesh Worker
    • Myanmar Worker
    • Philippines Workers
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    • Hong Kong Worker (HKSAR passport)
    • Macau Workers
    • South Korea Worker
    • Taiwan Workers

Age when applying

The minimum age for all non-domestic foreign workers is 18 years old.

When applying for a Work Permit:

  • Malaysians must be below 58 years old.
  • Non-Malaysians must be below 50 years old.

The maximum period of employment

For the marine shipyard sector, the maximum number of years a foreign worker can work in Singapore on a Work Permit is as follows:

Source country/regionType of workerMaximum period of employment
NTS, PRCBasic-skilled (R2)14 years
NTS, PRCHigher-skilled (R1)26 years
NAS, MalaysiaAllNo maximum period of employment.

Note: All workers can only work up to 60 years of age.

Place of work and approved occupations

Work Permit holders must work within the shipyard’s premises.

NTS and PRC Work Permit holders can only be employed in approved occupations.

The number of Work Permit holders that you can hire is limited by a quota (or dependency ratio ceiling) and subject to a levy.

Under the marine shipyard sector quota, you can employ 3.5 Work Permit holders for every local employee who earns the Local Qualifying Salary.

The levy rate is as follows:

CategoryMonthly levy rateDaily levy rate

Calculate your quota

Note: The daily levy rate only applies to Work Permit holders who did not work for a full calendar month. The daily levy rate is calculated as follows: (Monthly levy rate x 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.

You can:

  • Refer to the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) to determine the number of local employees who can be counted towards your Work Permit and S Pass quota entitlement.
  • Refer to the guidelines on how to calculate your quota and levy bill.
  • Learn more about S Pass quota and levy rates.

Qualifying for higher-skilled worker levy

You pay less levy for higher skilled foreign workers. You can apply for the higher-skilled worker levy rate for workers with any of these certificates:

Type of qualificationCertificates needed
Academic qualifications

Malaysia – Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). For diploma or higher qualifications, provide a transcript or letter from the institution stating the course duration.

North Asian sources (NAS) – High school certificates.

Skills Evaluation Test (SET) conducted by ITESET Level 1 or National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
Trade test endorsed by these institutions3G and above in welding
Market-Based Skills Recognition Framework (MBF)
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $1,200. You can update your worker’s salary using WP Online.
  • Worked at least 2 years in Singapore as a Work Permit holder.

Foreign workers in the marine shipyard sector need to retake and pass the safety course based on these timelines:

If they have worked in the marine shipyard sector forThey must pass the safety course
6 years or lessOnce every 2 years
More than 6 yearsOnce every 4 years

When renewing a work permit, the worker’s safety course certificate must be valid for more than 1 month on the day of renewal. Otherwise the Work Permit will not be renewed.

You must buy a security bond for each non-Malaysian foreign worker you employ. You can buy the bond at any bank or insurance company.

What is a security bond

A security bond is a binding pledge to pay the government if either you or your worker breaks the law or Work Permit conditions. The bond is in the form of a banker’s or insurer’s guarantee.

You must buy a $5,000 security bond for each non-Malaysian Work Permit holder you employ. You cannot ask your worker to pay for the bond.

When to buy the bond

Before your worker arrives in Singapore, you must:

  1. Buy a security bond.

  2. Get your insurer to send us the security bond details. It takes up to 3 working days.

  3. Ensure that the security bond takes effect when your worker arrives.

  4. Log in to WP Online to check the security bond status and print the security bond acknowledgement letter. Send your worker a copy of the letter.

If you do not complete the steps above, your workers will be refused entry into Singapore and you will have to pay to send them home immediately.

When will the bond be discharged

You will be discharged from the security bond liability for a worker only if you meet all of these conditions:

  • You have cancelled the Work Permit.

  • The worker has returned home.

  • You did not breach any of the conditions of the security bond.

If all conditions are met, the security bond will usually be discharged one week after the worker left Singapore.

You’ll be notified by post when the security bond is discharged.

When the bond will be forfeited

Your security bond may be forfeited if any of these happens:

  • You or your worker violates any of the conditions of the Work Permit or security bond.
  • You don’t pay your worker’s salary on time.
  • You fail to send your worker home when the Work Permit is expired, revoked or cancelled.
  • Your worker goes missing.

You will not be liable for your workers’ violations (such as those relating to pregnancy) if you can prove that you have:

  • Informed them of the Work Permit conditions they must comply with.
  • Reported a violation when you first become aware of it.

You need to buy a medical insurance plan for each foreign worker you employ. You also need to submit the insurance details online before the Work Permit can be issued.

What it should cover

As an employer, you must buy and maintain medical insurance coverage of at least $15,000 per year for each Work Permit holder.

The insurance should cover inpatient care and day surgery, including hospital bills for conditions that may not be work related.

You can have a co-pay arrangement with the Work Permit holder only if all of the following are met:

  • The medical treatment is not for work-related inpatient expenses.
  • The co-pay amount is reasonable and does not exceed 10% of the worker’s monthly salary.
  • The duration co-payment does not exceed 6 months.
  • The co-payment option is explicitly in the employment contract or collective agreement and has the worker’s full consent.
You cannot pass on the cost of purchasing the medical insurance to Work Permit holders.

Submit insurance details

You need to submit medical insurance details online before you request to issue or renew a Work Permit, and when the details change.

To update the information, log in to WP Online.

You need to keep the following information up to date:

  • Name of Insurer
  • Insurance policy number
  • Insurance policy commencement date
  • Insurance policy expiry date

You need to send your workers for a medical examination before their Work Permit is issued.

Clinics will likely resume medical examinations for pass issuance in Phase 2 (Safe Transition period). Workers will be given more time to complete their medical examinations. You can proceed to get Work Permits issued without your workers’ medical results.

Please do not make an appointment for card registration until your workers have completed their medical examinations. We will email you when to send them for their medical examinations closer to Phase 2.
In the meantime, we will automatically extend the expiry date of their notification letters to give them more time for the card registration. They can remain in Singapore with their notification letters. Workers who telecommute or work in permitted services approved by MTI may use the letters as proof of the validity of their passes.

Requirements for the check-up

You must send your workers for a medical examination by a Singapore-registered doctor within 2 weeks of their arrival in Singapore. Bring along the medical examination form when the worker goes for the tests.

The worker must pass the examination, and you need the completed medical form to get the Work Permit issued. Those who fail the examination will have to be sent home.

The medical examination screens the worker for 4 types of infectious diseases (tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis and malaria) and checks if they are fit to work.

You can send your workers for more tests if you have specific concerns about their health.

You must pay your foreign worker the monthly salary that you declare to us. You need to pay the salary within 7 days of the end of the month.

As part of the Work Permit application, you must declare the fixed monthly salary that the Work Permit holder will be receiving.

When to pay

You must pay the salary that your worker is due each month, no later than 7 days after the last day of that month.

The salary period must not exceed 1 month.

How to pay

You can pay the salary either by cash or by crediting the wages directly into the worker’s bank account.

If you both agree that you should keep the bank account book, you need to allow the worker to check the book to make sure that payments are made regularly.

You must keep a record of the monthly salary and be able to produce this record if requested.

Salary adjustments

You should consider raising your worker’s salary periodically as a reward for good performance and loyalty in service.

Apart from monthly wages, you may also consider offering your worker a contract gratuity as an incentive.

You should negotiate the amount of gratuity with the worker. You can pay it at the end of an agreed period of employment, which should be before the Work Permit expires.

CPF is not required

You do not need to make Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for your foreign workers.

You will get an in-principle approval if your Work Permit application is approved.

What is in-principle approval

An in-principle approval (IPA) is one of the requirements for getting foreign workers to Singapore.

You will get an IPA letter when your Work Permit application is approved.

The validity of the IPA will be mentioned in the letter. This is the window you have to bring the foreign worker to Singapore.

To check the validity of an IPA, use Work Permit or IPA Validity Check via WP Online (Non-login).

Extend an IPA

Processing time: Immediate

You can extend the IPA for up to 1 month if you need more time. You are allowed to extend the IPA only once.

To extend an IPA, log in to WP Online to make the request at least 1 week before the IPA expires.

If approved, you can print the extended IPA online.