Need an Employment Pass in Singapore

You have decided to establish a business or company in Singapore, and you may be wondering what is needed in order to be legally set there. First thing, you will need to understand the many facet of business, and if you are in the radar of the business community, your main contributing element in building up your business is the hiring of employees. Singapore is a place where foreign talents are welcomed and if you have landed your business, the next thing you need is to find suitable fit of skills to match your business needs.

The rules are quite varied in the hiring process, but the main requirement is obtaining an Employment Pass (EP). As a business owner who plans to incorporate your organisation here, it is your main responsibility to understand and perceive the fundamental precedents and rules of an Employment Pass. One good thing is that, if you can really comprehend and navigate the process, from establishing a business to running it with well qualified employees, it can be worthwhile.



What is a Singapore Employment Pass?

Be it a foreign entrepreneur or investor, you must obtain a valid work pass which will allow you to work and live in Singapore. There are different work passes offered by the Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and note that these passes have different rights, benefits and restriction. As there are myriad of requirements for employees working in the country, these passes are categorised by the type of work they will do.

If you are a business owner, and intend to hire non-resident employees, it is crucial to ensure that they have a valid Employment Pass. Employment Pass (EP) is necessary for any foreign professionals, managers or executives that will earn $4,500 a month or more and has acceptable and outstanding qualifications.  For more details on the employment pass application and eligibility, you can head to our guide  All You Need to Know About Singapore Employment Pass.  

On the contrary, if you are a new business owner, then the Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is more suitable for you as it is intended for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish and operate business in Singapore. The EntrePass has more stringent requirements than the Employment Pass. The EntrePass requires you to produce your proof of solvency. To qualify for this pass, you will need a strong business incubator support, a government grant or solid track record of your previous successful businesses whereas for Employment Pass, all you need to do is prove that you are the type of person your business needs to employ.


Employment Pass Vs Entrepreneur Pass

Let us have a brief comparison between an Employment Pass (EP) and Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass).


  • Both the Employment Pass and EntrePass act as a temporary resident scheme for foreign nationals who wish to relocate themselves to work and stay in Singapore.
  • Both the passes have the same application process and subject to processing and approval by the Singapore government authority, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
  • Both the passes have temporary validity and requires renewal. (renewal is subject to approval)
  • Holders of both these passes are eligible to relocate their immediate family members, spouse and children (below 21 years)
  • Holders of either these passes are subjected to the Singapore Income Tax System upon approval.
  • Both the passes serve as a pathway to permanent residency in due course, and subject to approval by authorities.



1. Application Approval

  • For Employment Pass, only Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Singapore can approve the applications whereas for EntrePass, apart from MOM, Spring Singapore also has a part in the approval of the applications.

2.Who can apply?

  • Employment Pass is intended for company staffs and executives whereas EntrePass is intended for business owners or founders of a newly set up company who holds at least 30% shares of the company.

3.   When to apply?

  • For EP, it can be applied only after a company is incorporated while for EntrePass, you may apply either before the company is set up or 6 months within the incorporation.

4.Main evaluation criteria

  • For Employment Pass, your recognized and relevant qualification (to job) and your company’s background/credentials are mainly considered while for EntrePass, the qualifying criteria is to have at least a 10-page innovative business plan, future hiring plan, meeting the spending requirements, and a proven track record.
  • Note that for the educational qualification, is more crucial for Employment Pass and is less significant for EntrePass because as the name states, the personal entrepreneurial background is more looked upon.


  • The minimum salary qualification is $4,500 for Employment Pass application while there is no salary requirement for EntrePass as it focuses more on specific entrepreneur criteria.


  • The EP is valid for up to 2 years and is renewable thereafter subject to approval. EntrePass is only valid for 1 year but is subject to renewal on a yearly basis depending on certain criteria.

7.Processing time

  • It takes about 2-4 weeks for an Employment Pass to be approved while it takes around 5-8 weeks for EntrePass. However, these timelines are not fixed and can vary in different situations.
  • Both Employment Pass and Entrepreneur Pass have their own intrinsic benefit and it is only practical to understand what they are useful for and why you are applying it. Even though the purpose these 2 passes serve is more or less similar, there are certain underlying factors that are better tailored to your requirements and needs.


Want to Start business in Singapore
Want to Start business in Singapore

Employment Pass Vs Personalised Employment Pass

The Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) can be known as the VIP version of the Employment Pass. Although both the Employment Pass and PEP have profound similarities, the PEP holds a greater flexibilities and opportunities. The PEP is directed at higher-paid professionals and executives who can demonstrate a minimum monthly salary of SGD 18,000, but if you are currently holding the Employment Pass, then the minimum qualification is SGD 12,000. As this pass is aimed at top-tier professionals, the eligibility is based on their previously earned monthly salary.

The PEP acts as a self-sponsored visa and gives you the luxury of coming to Singapore without having a job, so you may start your job hunting once you are here. Application for the PEP can be done yourself unlike the Employment Pass, where only your employer can submit on behalf of you.

On top of that, the PEP grants you mobility within the Singapore’s employment market and since you will not be subjected to any employment bond, you may be employed in any business niche of your preference. With the PEP, you will not be required to re-apply for the visa each time you change your job. This gives you an added benefit of venturing different employers or even sector. Similar to Employment Pass and EntrePass, with PEP, you are allowed to bring in your immediate family members.

The only drawback for PEP is that it is only granted for 3 years, and since it is not renewable, within that 3 years PEP holders may try to apply for a PR status and if not, switch to different work visa which is most cases, the Employment Pass.

Besides that, if you are holding the PEP, you will not be able to register a company here or act as shareholder. A PEP holder is forbidden from starting a business and managing any entrepreneurial activity therefore in this case, EntrePass would be a best fit.


Why Employment Pass is a Better Choice?

If you come under the dilemma of whether do you need the Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass, and with the rule that you will need to be tied up to a working visa which gives you benefit in the long run, then YES, the Employment Pass is an ideal choice which also have a slight edge over the EntrePass.

After going through the significant similarities and differences of the Employment Pass and EntrePass, it is only rational that if you want to be successful, always opt for a method that will not restrict you to certain areas.

For instance, although both the Employment Pass and EntrePass grant you the ability to bring in dependants, do note that for EntrePass however, as the validity is only a year but is renewable thereafter, holder of EntrePass will not be able to bring in dependants on the first year. Only after renewing the pass they will be able enjoy the dependant privileges. Take notice that this renewability is also subjected to certain criteria.

This comes as a constraint because to thrive in something you do, we certainly need our family by our side. Family members do have a role to play in your continued growth and will definitely serve a purpose in your work and life in Singapore. With an Employment Pass, as long as you fit the requirements, you are given the dependants privilege alongside other benefits.

If you apply for the EntrePass, one strict criterion is that you will be required to hold at least 30% of the company shares that you have or intend to start. As a foreigner, it is not an easy task to be outstanding among the locals and you will need to really convince the authority that you are indeed eligible in all ways to work and live here.

Amidst all of this, a question to ponder is, why do you want to go via the EntrePass route when applying for an EP is a better way to kickstart your new life here? Regardless if you are foreigner who wants to set up a business or company here, you can get a local nominee director to do the business set up for you, then apply for an EP for you through the company. So, if you already have an established business overseas, it is easier if you establish a branch office or the subsidiary here and go with the Employment Pass route instead which will promise you long-term benefits and minimal constraints.

With Paul Hype Page being a professional service provider, it is in our best interest that we always provide excellence in our consultancy hence we continuously aim to seek financially prudent choices to fulfil your immigration needs. As we deal with the application of employment passes daily, we provide services with added value and by looking at the trail of applications and approval rate, we suggest that applying for Employment Pass is the optimal way for a step forward.


What If You Are Just Registering in the Singapore?

If you are a foreign business owner and if you are just looking out to register your company in Singapore and want to run your company but not live within the region, you do not need any work permit. However, if you want to operate your company elsewhere, you are required to hire someone as your local nominee director. Also, if you intend to visit the country on a short-term basis, you will need an entry visa or visitor visa.

On the other hand, if you want to operate locally, you will need to apply for either an Employment Pass or the Entrepreneur Pass.


Are You in Need for Employees?

Employees are the powerhouse of any business and as an employer, if you decide to bring in talented and skilful foreign workers to work in your company in Singapore, you will need to select the right type of pass depending on the earning power and skills of the potential individual. It may sound tedious to move your business to a new country and subsequently managing the operation, which includes handling of employment related matters. Afraid not, as there are bunch of service providers like us at Paul Hype Page who can help you with that process. All you need to do is work hand-in-hand with us to ensure a smooth sailing process.