Can I Start Work With MOM Notification Letter?

4 min read|Last Updated: December 6, 2023|

With effect from 16 March 2015, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has concluded that all employment pass holders require a Notification Letter (NL) to start working in Singapore. The In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter no longer allows them to commence their work with the employing company.

Difference between an In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter and Notification Letter (NL)?

Type of letter In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter Notification Letter (NL)
When is it issued? Once a work pass is approved Once a work pass is issued
Validity? 6 months – For new work pass

3 months – For work pass renewal

1 month – For new work pass

Not applicable – For work pass renewal

What is the function? New work pass – To give candidate access to enter Singapore for work purpose. To give candidate time to plan their resignation and to carry out their notice of period without hassle

Renewal work pass – To inform candidate that the work pass has been successfully renewed

New work pass – To inform candidate the next step to complete card issuance registration and gives them authorisation to start working in Singapore

Renewal work pass – To inform candidate that the card expiry information has been updated and can be seen in their SGWorkPass app

What happens if no action taken? Approval will be withdrawn by Ministry of Manpower (MOM) The issued work pass will be revoked by Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and candidate must be sent back home

Why is an In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter important?

An employment pass application can be done while the candidate is not physically present in Singapore. However, for those who are already present in Singapore via a work visa, an IPA letter will grant you time to tender your resignation and undergo the notice of period without hassle.

The IPA letter also indicates the pass holder personal information, occupation as well as the agreed salary.

Wan Yi

Why is having the Notification Letter (NL) important?

The MOM notification letter indicates which Company you will be employed to and when you can start commencing your new role.

This letter is also proof that the employing Company has issued the work pass and is liable to start paying the candidate monthly salary indicated in the In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter.

Does the Notification Letter have an impact towards Employment Pass renewal?

Yes, the Employment Pass notification letter does have an impact towards EP renewal. As mentioned, all employment pass related will be given an In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter once the application is approved, regardless it being a new or renewal application.

However, for a person to start working or continue working in Singapore, they will need to proceed and issue their employment pass.

Once issued, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will then issue a Notification Letter (NL) as proof that they can now start working or continue working in their position.

If no action was taken to issue the pass, then the In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter will be revoked, and the pass holder will need to be sent home or is unable to continue working in Singapore.

Will I lose the remaining days of the current pass?

No, you will not. For employment pass renewal, the IPA letter will grant you three (3) months to submit the card issuance online.

Once submitted, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will then issue the Notification Letter (NL) as proof that the pass has been renewed and the new expiry date will be updated in the SGWorkPass app.

This, however, does not mean you will lose the remaining days of your current pass.

Our thoughts

Regardless your Employment Pass is a new application or was just being renewed, issuing the card is the last step to be completed by all pass holders.

The issuance of the card means that the pass holder can now start working or continue working in Singapore with their information, updated in Ministry of Manpower (MOM) database.

Hence, optimising the validity given in each In-Principal Approval (IPA) letter to plan your trip to Singapore to ensure the card is being issued is very important. Again, the MOM notification letter is the only letter that grants you the rights to commence work in Singapore.

If you like to know more about living in Singapore as an expat, you can check out our guides here.


Come down to our office or get in touch virtually for a work visa assessment to determine your best chance to move to Singapore today.


Where can i get the Employment Pass Application Form?2022-07-18T11:54:27+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?2022-07-18T11:54:50+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?2022-07-18T11:54:58+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)2022-07-18T11:55:30+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.

Why does the Singaporean government offer various Visa Types?2020-06-23T09:58:23+08:00

People of various educational levels, skill levels, and salaries are interested in moving to, living in, and working in Singapore. These differences prevent the same visa from being used for every foreigner who plans to work in Singapore. Thus, to overcome this potential problem, the Singaporean government must offer different types of visa to cater to the needs of as many foreign workers as possible.

Can anyone from any country receive an Employment Pass?2020-06-23T09:55:25+08:00

The current regulations regarding the Employment Pass do not bar anyone from receiving one on the basis of nationality. Anyone who meets all of the relevant criteria may receive it. Therefore, any eligible person from any country may receive an Employment Pass. 

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  1. Profile Picture For admin
    Steve March 2, 2021 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    6 month for EP applicant, how about S pass applicant? also 6 month?

  2. Profile Picture For admin
    Pankaj Kapoor August 31, 2019 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    What happens if the employee turns the offer and does not come to Singapore. What happens to the IPA and EP.
    Does this incident affects the future visas or EP applications

    • Profile Picture For admin
      Kumaran Tiwiyah September 3, 2019 at 8:44 am - Reply

      Hello Pankaj,

      If you are interested in learning of your EP application status, you may use the Self-Assessment Tool to find out more. The Self-Assessment Tool exists on the Ministry of Manpower’s website and is used to check if one is likely to have an EP application approved.
      Feel free to contact us at any time if you would like to know more about the EP

      Thank you.

  3. Profile Picture For admin
    sandip May 16, 2019 at 6:54 am - Reply

    “EP holders should then proceed for work pass card registration(with notification letter) as soon as possible, as the Notification Letter is only valid for one month.”

    Who will receive notification letter? Employee or Employer ? And via which medium – post or online ?


    • Profile Picture For admin
      eric eric May 29, 2019 at 1:28 am - Reply

      Dear Sandip,

      The employer would receive the notification letter both by post and E-mail.

      Thank you and regards,

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