Can Company Shareholders Obtain an Employment Pass?

3 min read|Last Updated: June 10, 2024|

An Employment Pass (EP) is one of the many preferred working visas available in Singapore. Can Company Shareholders Obtain an Employment Pass? Since the EP is for working in Singapore, being just a shareholder in a local company does not qualify you. Learn more about the requirements for a Singapore Employment Pass for Company Shareholders.

To obtain an EP as a company shareholder, consider the two routes discussed below:

  1. Secure an active role in the company you are a shareholder of – this could be in the form of a director
  2. Set up a new company under your name and apply for an EP as the shareholder and director.

These options are discussed in detail below.

Options for Company Shareholders When Applying for Employment Pass

As a company shareholder, you typically only invest your money into the company and expect returns in terms of dividends. The company does not normally employ their shareholders to work in the company.

However, in most cases, the company appoints the shareholder as the director.

If you are the company shareholder and wish to work and live in Singapore, then having an Employment Pass is a way to go.

In this case, the Company is liable to:

  • Pay monthly salary to the 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

If you have no active role other than a company shareholder for a Singapore company, you can opt to set up your own company and apply for an EP under your newly formed company. It is easy to setup and maintain a company in Singapore.

You can find out more about the requirements of the Singapore EP here – including the current and new qualifying criteria (for applications from 1 September 2023).

With your new company, you can be the director and company shareholder applying for the EP. As the director of the company, you will need to be paid a monthly salary – this will be crucial in determining your success for application.

When can a Company Shareholder Apply for EP?

A shareholder can apply for an EP, should the company agree to employ him/her. The application will be filed by the company, and the outcome will be decided based on the merits of each case. The shareholder’s background, work experience, and monthly wage.

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 on EP Process

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.

The company must prepare the necessary documents for employing an Employment Pass holder. Shareholders and directors should ensure the company operates for at least 6 to 12 months before applying for an Employment Pass.

This allows the company to prepare MOM-required documents and have sufficient funds to hire foreign expats via the Employment Pass.


Drop us a message through our contact form.


Where can i get the Employment Pass Application Form?2024-05-20T15:08:41+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 rejected2022-07-18T11:54:49+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?2024-05-20T15:09:51+08:00

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

How to Check Employment Pass Application Status

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?2024-05-20T15:15:58+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?2022-07-18T11:55:05+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?2022-07-18T11:55:07+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)2024-05-20T15:13:08+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?2022-07-18T11:53:26+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?2022-07-18T11:53:50+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?2022-07-18T11:53:39+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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Join the discussions

  1. Profile Picture For admin
    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. Profile Picture For admin
    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. Profile Picture For admin
    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

    • Profile Picture For admin
      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. Profile Picture For admin
    Hossan delowar March 12, 2020 at 1:46 am - Reply

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

    • Profile Picture For admin
      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. Profile Picture For admin
    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.

    • Profile Picture For admin
      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. Profile Picture For admin
    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 ?

    • Profile Picture For admin
      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. Profile Picture For admin
    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

    • Profile Picture For admin
      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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