• Employment Pass in Singapore

The employment pass allows foreign expatriates to live and work in Singapore.

Employment Pass Eligibility Criteria

  • Work in managerial, executive, and specialised job
  • At least a fixed monthly salary of S$4,500 (minimum eligibility)
  • Generally, a recognized diploma or degree from a reputed university is expected
  • Professional qualifications, specialist skills, and work-related experience are also considered
Wan Yi
Tip: Instead of waiting for a job offer, you can incorporate your own company and apply an Employment Pass via an appointed agent.

Who should I engage to apply an Employment Pass?

The employment pass can be applied by an employer or an appointed agent. An appointed agent works closely with MOM to understand your case better.

Wan Yi
Tips: MOM officers prioritise speaking to employment agents instead of individuals. They have such high traffic, speaking with experienced agents moves their cases along faster.

That being said, Paul Hype Page offers a group of expertise that is able to advise you on what are the potential documents MOM will high likely request and guide you on how to well prepare the documents based on MOM guideline.

If MOM were to reject the application, we will discuss with MOM to understand further on the reason behind it and prepare the expected documentations to boost up the approval chance.

What is required for successful EP applications?

The documents needed are mostly basic information of yourself as well as the employing Company. We outline the possible additional documents that MOM might request and cover the potential red flags MOM might point out.

Employing company to prepare:

  • Post job advertisement to abide with MOM’s Fair Consideration Framework and gives the same consideration to local candidates (this can be served as supporting if MOM were to request it)
  • Ensure Company bank account is opened and have sufficient fund to cover the candidate 12 months’ salary payable and still able to cover business operation expenses
  • Have tenancy agreement of the workplace
  • Prepare business plan in detail (what is the product/service offered, why must operate in Singapore, what is the manpower projection, who are the potential clients etc.)
  • Engage with potential client and summarise them in the form of Letter of Intent or contracts signed. (It is better if the potential clients are Singaporean)
  • If the business has start operating, ensure all invoices issued are neatly kept and can be tallied with the proof of payment made by clients in the Company bank account
  • Ensure the Company complied with the annual filing (tax filing with IRAS, financial statement preparation and annual return filing with ACRA)

Candidate to prepare:

  • Get a signed employment contract with the employing Company (ensure position and salary are tallied with EP application)
  • Secure letter of recommendation from past employers as well as potential clients
  • Ensure the job description is suitable with the position applied and candidate had past experiences in it
  • Resume must be up to date and entail all the achievements throughout the years (mention good education background and achievement in career is a must)
  • Ensure the salary offered for EP is similar to the current salary received (not a huge difference between the two)
  • View Infographic

Company Set up
Singapore EP
Tax
Open Bank Acc
Employment Pass Procedures in Singapore
Setting up a Singapore Company
stay in Singapore after My Employment Pass is Cancelled
Incorporation with Entrepass
View all

Why the Employment Pass is superior to other working visas

There are at least three (3) professional working visas available for foreign expatriate to choose from which are:

  • Employment Pass
  • EntrePass
  • Personalised Employment Pass

The table below will indicate the differences of each pass:

Pass TypeEmployment PassEntrePassPersonalised Employment Pass
Who is it for?Foreign professionals, managers, and executives to work in Singapore registered CompanyForeign entrepreneurs to start and operate business that is venture-backed or possesses innovative technologiesHigh-earning EP holders or overseas foreign professionals that is not tied to an employer
Who can apply?Employer or appointed agentCandidate may apply directlyCandidate may apply directly
Duration of the pass?1 to 3 years1 to 2 yearsOnly up to 3 years
Salary range?SGD$ 4,500 aboveNo specific salary requirementSGD$ 18,000 above
Renewable?YesYesNo
Can bring in family members?YesYesYes
Foreign worker levy or quota?NoneNoneNone

Based on the table above, for starters who wish to start a business with minimum capital injection will definitely opt for Employment Pass. The eligibility criteria are easier to meet compared to the other two options available.

Employment Pass (EP) VS EntrePass

1. EP has easier requirements to relocate family members

EP holders earning at least SGD$ 6,000 can bring in their spouse and children. They can also bring in their parents if they earn a minimum of SGD$ 12,000 per month.

EntrePass holders are not allowed to bring in your family members during the first year the visa was approved. During the second year, there are certain requirements as below:

To bring yourYour total annual business spending must be at leastYou must employ at least
Spouse (common-law or legally married)

Children

$100,0003 LQS
(full-time employees, formerly known as FTE)OR1 local PME (professional, manager or executive)
Parents$200,0006 LQS

OR

2 local PMEs

2. EP has easier requirements for renewal

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) did not highlight any specific requirements for an Employment Pass holder to meet before proceeding for renewal compared to an EntrePass holder. So long as the EP holder is able to furnish the supporting documents that MOM requested to support its renewal application, it should be a smooth journey from thereon.

However, an Entrepass must meet a specific set of criteria in order for them to opt for renewal.

Employment Pass VS Personalised Employment Pass

1. EP Has lower minimum salary

The qualifying salary to hold an Employment Pass starts from SGD$ 4,500 whereas a Personalised Employment Pass, it starts from at least SGD$ 12,000 for existing EP holder or SGD$ 18,000 for overseas foreign professionals.

2. EP is renewable

An Employment Pass is renewable for at least the next 3 consecutive years whilst a Personalised Employment Pass is only granted for an exact 3 years (non-renewable).

How Employment Pass holders achieve personal and financial freedom

Traditionally, EP’s are presented in a way that foreign professionals should have a job offer in Singapore. Instead, reframe and consider setting up a company. This way, you will be considered as the business owner as well as an employee of your own Company. You may provide your services to more clients and do not need to seek for a new job again.

Your EP is your asset, we illustrate this with two scenarios as below:

A job seeker vs a business owner at the same starting pointScenario A: John undergoes a job hunt.

John is employed by a Singapore company.

Scenario B: Adam undergoes a job hunt.

Adam sets up a company and contracts his services to a Singapore company.

In a downturnIf John is retrenched, his employer cancels his EP and returns to his home country.If Adam loses a contract, he still owns his EP so he continues looking for other contracts in Singapore with a higher rate of success since he can physically be in Singapore.
GrowthFor growth, John will look for the next employer to work for.For growth, Adam expands by working with multiple companies.
Achieving financial and personal freedomIf all goes well, John’s employer will pay a high salary for the work he does.

John can be promoted for as much as his employer can offer.

 

If all goes well, Adam earns a lot from multiple companies. He can hire employees to help him and has more time on his hands.

Adam can scale his business and there are no limits to his expansion.

What is the Employment Pass procedure?

Read this article for a step-by-step on Employment Pass procedures. By engaging with Paul Hype Page, the workflow will be as below:

Traditional EP applicationCompany set up with EP
NADay 1) Register an account on our patented platform. Fill up our incorporation and/or employment pass form.

Day 5) After compliance team approval, Incorporate the company with our nominee services

GrowthFor growth, John will look for the next employer to work for.

2 to 3 months Employment Pass application

Day 1) Review client’s Employment pass application and advise on the additional documents that might be needed such as Business Plan, Tenancy Agreement and etc

Day 3) Submit Application to MOM and open company’s bank account. The company’s bank account should have capital of 12 months of the EP applicant’s declared salary.

Day 20) MOM may approve or request for additional documents

Day 30) Submit document after communication with MOM officer and working with client on the needed documents

Day 35 to 60 days) MOM will approve the application and once client secure employment pass, you are considered a local resident director. Hence, no longer needing the nominee director service

The company should have a minimum 12 months of the applicant’s salary in the company bank account.

E.g. 12 months of $6,000 is $72,000 capital required

If you engage with our incorporation service, we are able to fund the company with up to $300,000 to secure a higher approval rate.
In a downturn
EP is cancelled and issued 30 days short term visit pass (STVP) to leave the countryEP has 1 year validity and can renew before expiry

Is it difficult to secure an Employment Pass now?

Based on recent events, it can be said the Covid-19 pandemic did hinder the Employment Pass application process. The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) first begin tightening the requirement for a candidate to qualify holding an Employment Pass and at the same time, decreasing the quota for foreign expatriates. Recently, they have also made amendments to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) which result to foreign expatriate applying for Employment Pass nearly impossible.

The Singapore government goal is to build and retain a core of Singapore employees and to further support employment opportunities of locals in Singapore. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has taken seriously on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) they set out which require all employers in Singapore to consider local candidates fairly for the job opportunities before hiring foreign expatriates. All employers in Singapore are expected to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices. This is to promote fair employment practices and improve labour market transparency.

Without a doubt, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still allows for employer to apply work visa for the foreign candidates. However, they will strictly filter each application based on their qualifications, salary offered and work experiences.

Is it still possible to get an Employment Pass in the current situation?

Yes, definitely. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still allows employers to apply Employment Pass. However, compare to how it used to be, each application now goes through many barriers and is scrutinize before an outcome is concluded.

Hence, applying an Employment Pass without engaging an agency without knowledge or experiences will definitely make the application nearly impossible to be approved. By engaging with Paul Hype Page, we will advise you on the best approach to overcome those barriers depending on your situation.

You may go through the in-depth procedure via this link

Our thoughts

Applying for Employment Passes used to be just a matter of paperwork and doing the minimum. Things are different now. The government has released official statements declaring the tightening of foreign worker regulations. If your Employment Pass matters to you, you should seek the right advice and experience. It is, of course, timely to mention that Paul Hype Page has been servicing foreigners for 13 years now with our in-house immigration agency.

It is also worthwhile to consider setting up your own company instead of seeking employment for your employment pass. We are avid promoters of financial and personal freedom. It just makes sense that while all the chess pieces are lined up, your next move should be the most strategic one. That would be the move to Singapore, as your own boss.

FAQs

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.

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484 Discussions

  1. Bhupender Singh February 22, 2021 at 10:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Dear,

    Can you please let me know procedure to get EP/ WP for same organization transfer from one place to another, like I am residing in India and working in a MNC whose offices are across the globe. I wanted to take a open position internally in my organization in Singapore. How should I proceed and what are chances to get pass approval.
    Regards,

  2. benirene November 10, 2020 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    hi. 3rd time to renew an EP, but first time to see this status: “we need inputs from other agencies to process this application”. any idea why MOM is doing this process? Is there any chance that the application will be rejected?

    • Tiwi November 13, 2020 at 3:38 pm - Reply

      Hi Benirene, thanks for turning to us for advice. We can’t speak on behalf of MOM and we are unsure about the details of your application and thus cant advise you correctly.
      We have situations where MOM requests for statements or testimonies of a candidates performance. In such cases, we do our best to oblige as MOM is a reasonable body.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards
      Paul

  3. Finns September 8, 2020 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Hi,
    Need your help. I am currently working here in sg holding wp. But then I didnt renew my contract and it eill expire on sept 17. 2020
    My problem is:
    I get a,new employer working on my transfer for wp. And the hr said my wp transfer process is already okied.
    And today I just received a message that another company already applied for me for Epass, and as I check my status its on Pending.
    Can my transfer process can affect the result of my pending status
    Does MOm already have record for transfer of my work permit to possibly reject my epass application ?

    • Tiwi September 18, 2020 at 2:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Fina,
      Please be informed that it won’t be affecting the process of the employment pass application.
      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.

      Thank you for your question.
      Warm regards
      Paul

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