Singapore employment visas
Migration to the country can be an expensive and complicated process, with Singapore visa applications requiring extensive supporting documentation. Living costs in Singapore are very high compared to western countries. Families especially, may find the cost of housing and schooling to be extremely high compared to their home country. Hence, moving to Singapore requires detailed research and engaging the assistance of a corporate services firm to complete the same often proves valuable.
Different types of employment permits available in Singapore
- In Singapore there is a large variety of employment pass options. The requirements for each type of pass vary, and it is important to take note of the impact each employment pass may have on you and your family. The Ministry of Manpower website is a useful source of detailed information;
- Please find below more information on the different types of visas available in Singapore:
Work permits for skilled employees and entrepreneurs
- Employment Pass (EP): This is best for foreigners who wish to work in Singapore and already have an employer sponsoring them to work there. The pass is split on three levels, dependent on the salary offered by the employer: i) Q1 minimum fixed salary of SG$3,600, for young graduates from good institutions, ii) P2 minimum fixed salary of SG$4,500 and iii) P1 for fixed monthly salary of SG$8,000. There may also be education and skills requirements, such as having a recognized university degree or a skill certificate, but these are judged on a case-by-case basis. It is important to note that the EP is specific to a job and employer and if the EP holder changes job or employer, they must apply for a new EP. First-time applicants are granted EP valid for up to two years, and EP can be renewed for up to 3 years. The family of EP holders with a salary above SG$5,000 are eligible for Dependents Pass or Long Term Visit passes;
- Personalized Employment Pass (PEP): This is best for high-earning professionals that want more flexibility in changing jobs in Singapore. Different from an EP, a PEP is not job or employer specific, therefore an PEP holder does not have to change employment pass when changing jobs. The requirements for an PEP are: i) overseas professionals with a last minimum fixed monthly salary of SG$18,000 or an EP holder with a minimum fixed salary of SG$12,000 ii) fixed annual salary minimum of SG$ 144,000 and iii) must not have been unemployed for over 6 months in Singapore before application. PEP is valid for 3 years and its non-renewable. PEP holder’s family are eligible for Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pas;
- EntrePass: This visa is specific for entrepreneurs who have incorporated a company in Singapore. To be eligible for a EntrePass the applicant must have i) at least 30% ownership and ii) be actively involved in the running of the company and the company i) must have been registered with ACRA in the past 6 months and ii) must have a minimum of SG$50,000 of paid up capital. Furthermore, the company must comply with one of the following i) must have funding from a Government-accredited VC or business angel ii) must hold an intellectual property iii) must have a research collaboration with an A*STAR or a university or iv) must be an incubate at a Government-supported incubator. EntrePass is valid to one year, its renewal depends on the i) number of jobs created and the ii) total business spending. EntrePass holder’s family are eligible for Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pas.
Work permits for unskilled employees
- Foreign Worker Work Permit (FWWP): This is best for foreign workers who do not earn more than SG$2,000 monthly and are above 16 years old. The passes are awarded accordingly to an industry quota and must meet the industry specific requirements. The permit is valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed for up to another 2 years. The family of work permit holders are not eligible for a Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pas and cannot live in Singapore unless they obtain a separate alternative pass of their own;
- Foreign Domestic Worker Work Permit (FDWWP): This visa is specific for foreigner that wish to work in Singapore as Domestic Workers. Applicants must be i) female ii) from 23 to 50 years old and iii) must have minimum 8 years of formal education. First time applicants must participate of a Settling-in Programme when arriving in Singapore. The permit is valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed for up to another 2 years. The family of work permit holders are not eligible for a Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pas and cannot live in Singapore unless they obtain a separate alternative pass of their own;
- S Pass: This Singapore work pass is appropriate for foreigner who are mid-skilled and earn a minimum of SG$2,000/month. The applications for S Pass are judged on a points system, based on: i) salary – starting at a fixed minimum salary of SG$2,000, ii) skills and education – i.e. university degree of skills certificate; iii) job type – industry and position and iv) work experience – years in relevant field. The S Pass is valid for up to 2 years and it is renewable for up to 3 years. The family of an S Pass holder can be eligible for a Dependent’s Pass if the S Pass holder earns over SG$5,000.
Entry permits for family members
- Dependent’s Pass: This pass is applicable to direct family members of EP, EPE, EntrePass and S Pass holders earning a minimum monthly salary of SG$5,000. To qualify as a dependent of a Singapore EP/PEP/EntrePass/S Pass, the applicant must either be i) the spouse of the holder ii) the child of the holder, under 21 years old or iii) legally-adopted child of the holder, under 21 years old. The Dependent Pass is valid for up to two years, and can be renewed. Dependents of EP, PEP and EntrePass holders that wish to work in Singapore must get a Letter of Consent. Dependents of S Pass holders that wish to work must apply for their own employment visa;
- Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP): Applicable to direct family members of EP, EPE, EntrePass and S Pass holders earning a minimum monthly salary of SG$5,000. Direct family are limited to: i) common-law spouse ii) unmarried handicapped children above 21 years old iii) unmarried step-children under 21 years old. EP/PEP/EntrePass/S Pass that earn SG$10,000 are also allowed to bring their parents. Long Term Visit Pass is valid for up to two years and can be renewed. Long Term Visit Pass holders are not allowed to work with this pass and must apply for their own employment visa to work in Singapore.
Singapore Permanent Residence Scheme
- The clear majority of Permanent Residence are awarded for S Pass and EP holders under the Professional/Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker Scheme. Application must be done with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority;
- To be eligible for the Global Investor Program, applicants with a successful business track record need to meet the following criteria:
- The applicants company turnover must be S$50 million in the most recent year and average S$50 million over the last 3 years;
- Minimum 3 years entrepreneurial/business experience, with 3 years audited financial statements.
Frequently asked questions
I am setting up a company in Singapore and want to apply for an entrepreneur pass. Am I eligible?Clients seeking an EntrePass must fulfill certain criteria. The company must have a minimum paid up capital of US$50,000 and the applicant must hold at least 30% of shares in the company. Furthermore, the company must meet at least one of the following requirements: i) receives funding or investment from a recognized third-party VC or business angel who is accredited by a Singapore Government agency ii) holds an IP that is registered with an approved national IP institution iii) has ongoing research collaboration with a research institution recognized by A*STAR or Institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore iv) is an incubatee at a Singapore Government supported incubator.
I want to pursue Singapore employment pass application. How do I find out if I will be eligible?Clients pursuing an E pass or an S pass can take a Self-Assessment Test to determine whether they will be eligible for an E pass or an S pass.