Is being Company Shareholder eligible enough to hold an Employment Pass?

An Employment Pass is one of the many preferred working visas available in Singapore. As the purpose of having this pass is to work in Singapore, being just a shareholder in a local Company is not enough reason to hold an Employment Pass.

What are the criteria to hold an Employment Pass?

The criteria to be eligible to hold an Employment Pass is as below:

  • Company wishes to employ you
  • Salary offered is SGD$ 4,500 above
  • Education background is from accredited institution
  • Professional qualification, specialist skills is suitable to position applied
EP & Visa checker

Why is it important for shareholders to fulfil the criteria before applying an Employment Pass?

In general, a shareholder is normally someone who invest their money into the Company and expect returns in term of dividend.

The Company does not normally employ their shareholders to work with the Company. However, in most cases, the shareholder is usually the same person appointed as the Company’s director.

If the shareholder and director is the same person and said person wishes to work and live in Singapore, then having an Employment Pass is a way to go.

The Company is liable to:

  • Pay monthly salary to Employment Pass holder
  • Have sufficient fund to employ the candidate for the next 12 months
  • Have contracts secured that will generate revenue to cover the candidate’s 12 months salary payable and cover the business operation expenses
Note: To incorporate a Company in Singapore, a local director must be appointed. However, by holding an Employment Pass, you will be considered as a local director.

What are the benefits of holding an Employment Pass?

As an Employment Pass holder, you will enjoy the benefits as below:

  • Live and work in Singapore. May also bring in certain family members if you earn at least SGD$ 6,000 per month.
  • May incorporate a Company and runs a business in Singapore
  • One of the tickets for you to apply Permanent Residency in Singapore
  • Allows you to open a bank account, apply for credit cards, rent an apartment as well as engage with telco services/cable contracts
  • May travel in and out of Singapore without the need to apply for visa

Our thoughts

Previously, acquiring an Employment Pass is a much easier process. However, that is no longer the case. Hence, having a well thought business plan as well as manpower projection is crucial during this time of the day.

Employing an Employment Pass holder will need the Company to be ready in preparing the potential documentations that MOM will likely request. We highly advise that as shareholders and directors of the Company, ensure the Company starts operating its business for at least 6 to 12 months before applying an Employment Pass.

This way, the Company will have time to prepare the potential documents MOM might request and has sufficient fund to employ foreign expats via Employment Pass.


Where can i get the Employment Pass Application Form?2021-03-30T18:33:18+08:00

If you are ready to start your Employment Pass application, click here to fill up the Employment Pass Questionnaire. Our in-house agent will help you with this process.

You may also use the Self Assessment Tool (SAT) to check the Employment Pass or S Pass eligibility of your candidacy before you apply or appeal.

Reasons why your EP Application is rejected2021-03-30T18:31:54+08:00
  • Job scope and qualifications do not match. Educational profile and experience should be aligned with the job requirements.
  • The applicant’s previous employer did not hire locals or had an imbalanced ratio of locals to foreign employees in the company. This shows a lack of contribution to Singapore and a lack of trust in the local economy. It also casts a poor light on the company with regard to its global standing.
  • A local can easily take the job which the applicant is pursuing. In such a case, there is no need for a foreign talent as there are enough locals that can already do the same job.
  • Criteria such as academic and salary qualifications are not fulfilled to an appropriate level.
  • The duration of the applicant’s previous job is less than two years and the applicant changed job without any acceptable reason. The Ministry of Manpower takes a dim view of job-hoppers and applicants with questionable work records.
How to Check Employment Pass Application Status?2021-03-30T18:38:53+08:00

After applying for an EP online, the following image can be seen:

Applicants’ EP status can be divided into three categories. An applicant’s EP application status can be pending, rejected, or approved.

If the applicant’s EP status is “approved”, the MOM has already approved the application. The applicant may now proceed to make an appointment with the MOM to receive the EP and activate it.

What are some Employment Pass Advantages compared to other Work Visas?2021-03-30T18:29:30+08:00

There are several advantages which are provided to applicants for as well as holders of an Employment Pass which do not exist for those of other Singapore work visas.

  • S Pass holders are not permitted to either own or be the director of a company. They are also barred from entering certain lines of work.
  • Personalized Employment Pass holders have a much higher salary requirement than do Employment Pass holders. They too are not permitted to enter specific lines of work.
  • EntrePass holders are required to fulfil specific criteria related to their status as an entrepreneur, innovator, or investor. None of these additional requirements are applicable with regard to the EP. Thus, it is only to be expected that the EP is the Singapore work visa most commonly selected by foreigners.
What are some Jobs Bank Requirements of Companies Applying for an Employment Pass?2021-03-30T18:28:34+08:00

Since August 2014, the Ministry of Manpower has required companies that intend to hire EP holders to first advertise the relevant position in the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s Jobs Bank. However, certain exceptions apply.

The following positions are exempted:

  • Jobs in firms with fewer than 25 employees
  • Jobs that pay more than S$12,000 per month
  • Intra-corporate transferees (i.e. candidates holding senior positions / professionals with advanced levels of expertise)
  • Short-term positions (less than one month)
What happens when your Employment Pass application is rejected?2021-03-30T18:27:33+08:00

Sometimes, an Employment Pass application is rejected by the authorities. If such has happened to you, we will investigate why the outcome was so. We will consider the Ministry of Manpower’s reasons, establish a firm appeal in your defence, address the issues raised, and provide any needed documents on request.

  • Appeals take at least three weeks to be completed, though this duration may sometimes be longer.
  • Any appeal must be submitted within three months of the official rejection. After this time period, a new application must be submitted.
What is the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)2021-03-30T18:16:31+08:00

According to our Singapore Employment Pass Guide, it is wise to make use of the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT), an online tool offered by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM). In the guide, we have listed important factors to consider when applying for a Singapore Employment Pass.

The SAT serves as a gauge of one’s chances of receiving an Employment Pass; it is not an exact means of determining either approval or rejection of such an application.. Applicants and employers can check whether they meet the specific requirements to obtain the proper work passes. The SAT is reliable and has as a high level of accuracy. The SAT will aid in checking one’s eligibility based on nationality, education profile, working background or experience, and salary profile.

Should the SAT results indicate that an applicant is not eligible, the applicant is advised to abandon the application because the application may be outright rejected. However, the SAT is merely a reference and does not depict actual results; the application will nevertheless be thoroughly reviewed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) authorities. The Self-Assessment Tool exists on the MOM’s website.

I am an EntrePass holder. Can I register a business?2020-06-23T11:56:24+08:00


If I am holding a valid EntrePass for the company that currently employs me but wish to leave the current post to start my own business venture, must I cancel my existing EP before applying for AIP EP?2020-06-23T11:55:57+08:00

Yes, you will need to cancel your existing EntrePass before applying for AIP EP.

If I am holding a valid EntrePass (EP) for the company that currently employs me and at the same time, wish to start my own business without resigning from my present job, must I cancel my existing EP before applying for AIP EP?2020-06-23T11:55:36+08:00

No, you need not cancel your existing EP. Rather, you should apply for AIP EP along with a letter of no objection from your current employer. Your AIP EP will be treated as an application for an additional EntrePass to work for another company.

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14 Discussions

  1. john February 26, 2021 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    kindly advise, please.
    I am a Foreigner who owns 60% of of Singapore company(pte ltd) since 4 years ago. I can only come to SG 1 times per 4 months.
    10 days in one time. So, there i van stay only 30 days in a year.
    A)Can I apply EP by our company?
    B) how much does it cost totally?
    (company side and my side cost)

  2. Arul January 28, 2021 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    I am the one of the director and share holder with 80% and my share holder and director 20% share. my partner currently in India, i try to apply EP for him, but not successful, Rejected few times. Now i am confused and don’t know how to get EP for my partner.

  3. Ken Ng July 5, 2020 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Can I invite my employee who is work permit holder to join in as a share holder

    • Tiwi July 15, 2020 at 9:42 am - Reply

      HI Ken Ng
      Work Permit and S Pass holders are not allowed to administer or manage any business in Singapore. To discuss further, please contact us at Paul Hype Page.

      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards

  4. Hossan delowar March 12, 2020 at 1:46 am - Reply

    I’m work permit how to apply ep pass
    Is possible for me

    • Kumaran Tiwiyah March 25, 2020 at 9:58 am - Reply

      Hello Hossan,

      You may not apply for an Employment Pass yourself; your employer must do so on your behalf. The application may either be made online or manually. Certain documents such as passport copies and copies of educational certificates will also be required during the application process.

      Please contact us for further information on the Employment Pass.

      Thank you for your question.

  5. cwj October 23, 2019 at 1:50 am - Reply

    Hi I’m Malaysian SPR, my gf PRC, i incorporated a company, and already added her as a shareholder, am i able to apply epass for her without a secretary? As i was planning to add myself as a secretary once i successfully put her as a second director.

    • angela ng October 29, 2019 at 3:44 am - Reply


      After you have incorporated a company in Singapore, you are required to hire a person to serve as the corporate secretary of the company. As the owner of the company, you may not take up the position yourself. Thus, you must hire another person who will be the corporate secretary.

      We at Paul Hype Page & Co do have a package which will enable you to hire a qualified and suitable person who will serve as your corporate secretary. Please contact us for any further information on this matter.

      Thank you for your question.


  6. Isazli October 5, 2019 at 4:12 am - Reply

    Hi currently I am working as a Spass holder in SG.Can I do the small online shop in Singapore and how to apply ?

    • Kumaran Tiwiyah October 9, 2019 at 2:30 am - Reply

      Hello Isazli,

      If you would like to start a business of your own in Singapore, you will need to first complete the process of incorporation. Once the incorporation process has been completed, you will have a business of your own over which you will have complete control.
      Contact us for further information on incorporation in Singapore. Our experts are always able and willing to assist anyone with any questions related to incorporation.

      Thank you for your question.

  7. NISHAT May 25, 2019 at 10:08 am - Reply

    currently, I am holding emplyment pass in Singapore.
    I have started one new company which have 40% shareholder of mine.
    share capital $100,000
    Can I apply for an EP from my company? but its new company.
    What requirement do we need?
    and how you help with this one?
    Please let me inform then I will visit your office..
    or can Whatsapp me +6593519462

    • eric eric May 29, 2019 at 1:45 am - Reply

      Dear Nishat,

      Yes you may apply for EP with your company. Being a director/shareholder, you can also still be an employer of your own company.

      There is also no restriction from MOM that the company cannot to be new whatsoever hence if it is a new company, this should not be a problem.

      The requirements for employment pass are:

      Diploma/Degree from a reputed university
      Professional qualifications
      Specialist skills
      Work related experience

      Thank you and Regards,

      Paul Hype Page

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