Types Of Work Passes
All foreigners who intend to work in Singapore must hold a valid ‘work pass’ (usually called a work visa) before starting work. If you want to hire foreigners to work in Singapore, you must ensure that they hold a valid workpass. Find out which passes are suitable, if they are eligible and how to apply.
‘Work Permit’ (WP)
is a pass that allows semi-skilled foreign workers in labor-intensive industries (such as manufacturing, construction, marine and service industries) to work in Singapore. WP holders have lower salaries because they do not need academic qualifications. The employer is responsible for WP application. There is a quota system involving WP. Employers must pay foreign labor taxes, fulfill foreign labor quotas and provide employees with medical insurance. After issuance, the validity period of this pass is up to two years, after which it can be renewed. WP holders are not allowed to bring family members.
‘S Pass’ (SP)
is a short-term work visa for skilled and semi-skilled workers. It allows such workers of any nationality to work in Singapore. S Pass holders are usually people from skilled technical fields who have obtained the necessary requirements specified by the company. To qualify for the S Pass, applicants must receive a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,400. Other requirements are related to work experience, academic qualifications and technical expertise in the business area. Those with more experience will need to earn a higher salary as evidence of such work experience.
The application for the S pass must be made by the employer on behalf of the applicant. Those who pass the S Pass must also complete and pass a score-based assessment. The employer of the S pass holder is obliged to provide medical insurance for its employees.
S Pass holders also have the privilege of bringing family and relatives to Singapore, but it should be noted that they earn S$4,000 or more per month. The S Pass valid for two years can also be extended.
‘Employment Pass’ (EP)
The most common work pass issued by the Singapore government is the Employment Pass (EP). EP is most suitable for foreign professionals who have sufficient qualifications and relevant work experience and are looking for management, executive or professional positions. It is used by foreigners who are considered experts or specialties in the field they require. The Singapore authorities will carefully evaluate the knowledge and skills provided by each applicant, and whether the applicant can exert any competitive advantages in their own field.
Applicants for employment pass are usually staff and managers. Their minimum monthly salary must be S$4,500. Those who intend to apply for EP can only apply after the company is established. This is a temporary pass, so as long as certain conditions are met, it needs to be renewed every two years or more. EP is processed and approved by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). People who hold EP will find it easier to become Singapore permanent residents at some point in the future.
Only employers of foreigners who wish to have an EP can apply for one on behalf of the applicant.
‘Personalized Employment Pass’ (PEP)
is one of the more flexible work visas in Singapore. It provides many opportunities for holders. It is suitable for professionals and executives with a monthly salary of S$18,000 or above. However, those who apply for PEP and already hold EP only need a minimum monthly salary of S$12,000. PEP is a self-pay visa. It gives the holder the privilege of not working in Singapore. The PEP application can be completed by the applicant. PEP also provides its holders with liquidity in the Singapore job market. Its holders are not subject to any employment bond, so they can be employed in any chosen business area. PEP holders do not have to reapply after changing jobs.
However, PEP is not renewable. Within three years of the validity of the PEP, PEP holders who wish to obtain Singapore PR status must apply for one. If it is not approved within these three years, the PEP holder must apply for an EP and use it as a means to obtain PR status. PEP holders may not register a company in Singapore or serve as a shareholder of a Singapore company.
‘Entrepreneur Pass’ (EntrePass)
Certain other foreigners may prefer to apply for an ‘Entrepreneur Pass’ (EntrePass). This pass is very suitable for those who have achieved significant achievements and success in business operations, or have innovative business plans that affect the country’s economic growth. This is because EntrePass is for people with a rich history of entrepreneurial activities. Most EntrePass holders are the founders of recently established companies. Those planning to apply for EntrePass must hold at least 30% of the company’s shares; however, there is no minimum wage requirement. EntrePass owners must also have a 10-page or longer business plan detailing the business activities proposed by the owner.
Like EP, EntrePass is temporary. It must be renewed annually; however, certain conditions must be met before the subscription can be renewed. Applicants can apply for EntrePass at any time within six months of company registration. However, after 30 days after EntrePass is issued, a company must be formed. MOM and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) process and approve EntrePass. If they wish, EntrePass holders are more likely to become Singapore PRs.