As a business owner in Singapore, expanding your team and hiring foreign talents can be a game-changer for your business. However, before starting the hiring process, it is important to understand the differences between the Singapore Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass.

These visas, issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), serve as legal permits for foreign nationals to work in Singapore under a locally incorporated company.

What is S Pass & EPass?

The S Pass is meant for mid-level skilled PMETs who have relevant qualifications and work experience, while the EP is meant for highly skilled PMETs who hold a degree from a reputable university or possess relevant work experience in their field. While both passes are intended for foreign PMETs, they encompass different eligibility criteria, minimum salary benchmarks, and validity durations.

Learning the difference between the two can help you determine which pass is suitable for your organisation’s needs and ensure that you are in compliance with MOM’s regulations. Let’s explore the key differences between these two passes.

Who Is the EP and S Pass For Based On MOM’s Standard Occupation List?

The Ministry Of Manpower’s (MOM’s) standard occupation list provides a guide on the types of jobs that are eligible for each Singapore work visa. Typically, employers intend the S Pass for mid-level skilled PMETs with qualifications like diplomas or technical certificates and relevant work experience in their field. These foreign workers typically hold roles such as technicians, supervisors, and executives in sectors like construction, manufacturing, services, and marine.

Employment Pass (EP), on the other hand, is reserved for highly skilled PMETs who possess a degree from a reputable university or have relevant work experience in their field. The EP in Singapore is not restricted to any particular sector and is open to all types of jobs in Singapore including industries such as finance, technology, healthcare, and many others.

Note that MOM’s standard occupation list does not cover all jobs, and some unlisted positions may still qualify for either the S Pass or EP, depending on the individual’s qualifications and experience.

Eligibility Criteria For Each Pass

MOM sets the eligibility criteria for the S Pass and EP to ensure that foreign workers meet specific requirements before working in Singapore.

S Pass Employment Pass
Minimun Salary Must have a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 3,150. Must have a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD 5,000.

From 1 September 2023, new Employment Pass (EP) candidates need to pass the points-based COMPASS in addition to meeting the EP qualifying salary.

Education or Work Experience Must possess a degree or diploma qualification, or have relevant work experience. The education or work experience must be relevant to the job that the candidate is applying for. Must hold a degree from a reputable university or have relevant work experience. The education or work experience must be relevant to the job that the candidate is applying for.
Skills and Past Experience Must possess the necessary skills and experience for the job. MOM assesses this by considering factors such as the candidate’s job responsibilities, work experience, and industry knowledge.

You should also know that meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that the candidate will be granted the pass. MOM considers a variety of factors when assessing work pass applications, including the candidate’s age, experience, and qualifications, as well as the employer’s track record and compliance with MOM regulations.

Who Can Apply For These Passes?

When it comes to who can apply for these Singapore work visas, there are different requirements that need to be fulfilled by the employer.

For the S Pass, any employer can apply for their foreign employee as long as the employee meets the eligibility criteria. The employer must register for an S Pass account with MOM and submit the relevant application documents. Authorities will assess the application to determine if the candidate meets eligibility criteria and if the employer has complied with relevant regulations.

For the Employment Pass, the employer must be a registered company in Singapore and submit a job advertisement on the national job board,, for at least 28 days.

This is to show that they have tried to hire a local candidate for the position before moving on to hiring a foreign employee. The advertisement must demonstrate efforts to hire locally before considering foreign candidates, meeting specific requirements including job details and salary information. After 28 days, the employer can then submit the EP application for their foreign employee.

Validity Duration

The validity duration of the S Pass and EP is an important consideration for employers and employees alike.

An S Pass typically remains valid for up to two years, with the possibility of renewal for an additional three years. The renewal of the S Pass is subject to the candidate meeting the eligibility criteria at the time of renewal. During the renewal process, MOM will reassess the candidate’s salary, qualifications, and work experience. The employer must then provide updated employment contracts and other relevant documents.

The validity duration for the EP is also generally up to two years for first-time applicants, with the option to renew for up to three years. However, candidates must also pass a point-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) set by MOM for any EP renewals from 1 September 2024.

Required Documents

When applying for an S Pass or EP, you must submit a set of required documents to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). While the documents needed for each work visa may vary slightly, they generally include the following:

  • Completed application form
  • Candidate’s passport details and educational qualifications
  • Job offer letter which includes details of the job scope, salary, and benefits offered to the candidate as well as the duration of the employment contract.
  • Candidate’s resume and work experience documents
  • Education Certificate Verification by Background Screening Agency (MUST)
  • Company’s business profile and financial statements

Follow MOM’s guidelines, assess candidates thoroughly, and submit required documentation to obtain S Pass or EP for foreign talent.


With the right preparation and guidance, navigating the complexities of work visa applications and regulatory compliance can be simplified.

Paul Hype Page & Co. provides tailored solutions for compliance with current regulations. Whether you need assistance with EP applications, bank account opening, company secretary services, or tax filing or even company relocation and incorporation, we’re here to provide expert support and guidance. Trust us to streamline your immigration and corporate compliance needs, empowering your business to thrive in Singapore’s dynamic environment.


Come down to our office or get in touch virtually for a free work visa assessment (worth $288) to determine your best chance to move to Singapore today.

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