Singapore employment visas

Singapore business migration and visas applicationMigration to the country can be an expensive and complicated process, with visa applications requiring extensive supporting documentation. Living costs in Singapore are also very high even 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.
      • Candidates need to earn a minimum salary of S$3,600 per month to be eligible for an EP. 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 an EP can be renewed for up to 3 years;
      • The family of EP holders with a salary above SG$6,000 are eligible for Dependents Pass or Long Term Visit passes.
    • Personalized Employment Pass (PEP): This is ideal 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 a PEP holder does not have to change employment pass when changing jobs;
      • The requirements for a PEP are:
        • Overseas professionals with a last minimum fixed monthly salary of SG$18,000 or an EP holder with a minimum fixed salary of SG$12,000;
        • Fixed annual salary minimum of SG$ 144,000;
        • The applicant must not have been unemployed for over 6 months in Singapore before application.
      • The PEP is valid for 3 years and its non-renewable. PEP holder’s family are eligible for Dependent Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass.
    • EntrePass: This visa is specific for entrepreneurs who have already incorporated a company in Singapore.
      • To be eligible for an EntrePass the applicant must have i) at least 30% ownership and ii) be actively involved in the running of the company;
      • The company i) can be newly registered or 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;
      • The entre pass scheme has three possible routes: i) entrepreneur; ii) innovator; iii) investor.
        • To qualify as an entrepreneur, the applicant i) it must have funding from a government-accredited VC or business angel; ii) or must be an incubate at a government-recognised accelerator; iii) or must have a significant business network and entrepreneurial track record;
        • To qualify as an innovator, the applicant must i) hold an intellectual property; ii) or have a research collaboration with a research institution; iii) or have extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise;
        • To qualify as an investor, the investor must have an investment track record.
      • An EntrePass is valid for upto one year, its renewal depends on i) the number of jobs created and ii) the total business spending;
      • An EntrePass holder’s family are eligible for a Dependent Pass or a Long-Term Visit Pass.
  • Work permits for unskilled employees

    • Work Permit for foreign worker: This is ideal for foreign workers employed in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sector.
      • 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 Pass and cannot live in Singapore unless they obtain a separate alternative pass of their own.
    • Work Permit for foreign domestic worker (FDW): This visa is specific for foreigners employed as domestic helpers. There are eligibility criteria for both employers and FDWs to apply for a permit.
      • The FDW must be i) female; ii) between 23 to 50 years of age; iii) from an approved source country; iv) with minimum 8 years of formal education. First time applicants must attend the Settling-in Programme after arriving in Singapore;
      • The employer must i) be at least 21 years old; ii) not be an undischarged bankrupt; iii) have the mental capacity to understand discharge the responsibilities of an employer. A first-time FDW employer must attend an Employment Orientation Programme;
      • 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 Pass and cannot live in Singapore unless they obtain a separate alternative pass of their own.
    • S Pass: This Singapore work pass is appropriate for foreigners who are mid-level skilled and earn a minimum of SG$2,300 per month.
      • The applications for S Pass are judged on a points system, based on:
        • Salary – starting at a fixed minimum salary of SG$2,300;
        • Skills and education – i.e. university degree or skills certificate;
        • Job type – industry and position;
        • 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$6,000;
      • Employers are subject to a quota and levy for S Pass employees.
  • Entry permits for family members

    • Dependent’s Pass: This pass is applicable to direct family members of EP, PEP, 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 holder, the applicant must i) either be the spouse of the holder; ii) or the child of the holder, under 21 years old; iii) or a 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 who 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 Singapore citizens, permanent residents, EP, PEP, EntrePass and S Pass holders earning a minimum monthly salary of SG$6,000.
      • Direct family are limited to: i) common-law spouse; ii) unmarried handicapped children above 21 years of age; iii) unmarried step-children under 21 years of age;
      • EP holders earning at least S$12,000 per month can apply for a LTVP for their parents;
      • A 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

    • Most permanent residences are awarded for S Pass and EP holders under the Professional/Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker Scheme. The application must be registered with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority;
    • Another approach to relocate to Singapore is through the Global Investor Programme. To be eligible for the Global Investor Program, applicants need to have a successful business track record and entrepreneurial background. The GIP offers two investment options:
      • Option A: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a new business entity or in the expansion of an existing business operation;
      • Option B: Invest at least S$2.5 million in a GIP fund that invests in Singapore-based companies.
  • Example of documents requested by Ministry of Manpower

    You may expect that following documents can be requested during an application stage. This list is an example and may wary on a case by case basis

    Compulsory documents:

    • Latest passport copy with an expiry date not early than 2 years;
    • All education certificates together with supplementary (f.e. marksheet);

    May be requested:

    • Rental agreement for an office where an applicant will be working;
    • Sales and purchase agreements / invoice confirming a business in Singapore;
    • Confirmation of minimum funds required to pay 12 months’ salary of an employee;
    • Employment agreement;
    • Certificate of marriage (if any);
    • MOM may verify an information from ACRA to see your company activity within past 24 months period. Company with higher level of activity (based on Sales, OPEX, Investments, etc.) will have higher chances to secure an EP for their employees;
  • Other considerations

    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.

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

For additional information on our employment visas services in Singapore, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
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