Singapore Employment Pass Guide Part 1
You have decided to work to Singapore, and planning to open a business here or maybe you already have a business or maybe a job placement and want to move there.
However, before you proceed with all that, it is vital that you understand the legal proceeding and requirements of the Republic.
One of the most important relocation needs is obtaining a work visa. As any global citizen should know, non-residents in Singapore will have to navigate through the country’s different visa, employment and legal entry requirements first. In other words, just like any other country, you will need to apply for a work visa/pass in order to work legally in Singapore. Here’s a breakdown on the different type of working visas to help you get started.
There are several types of visas offered by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) depending on your job specifications.
The 3 types of Work Passes for foreign professionals in Singapore are Employment Pass, EntrePass and Personalized Employment Pass.
Besides these 3 visas, there are also other types of visa offered to individuals who fall under these categories:
- Skilled and Semi-skilled Workers
- Trainees and Students
- Family Members
- Exemptions and working while on a visit pass
Visit the MOM website for more information on these passes.
In this article, we will find out about the Employment Pass, what it takes and how easy it is in our simple guide.
What is an Employment Pass (EP)?
An Employment Pass or EP is a Singapore work visa issued by Ministry of Manpower and is one of the most common work visas here. EP allows foreign professionals who have job offer in Singapore to relocate there and work. Specifically, this EP is geared towards directors, managers, executive or those in a specialist role. This pass is valid for 2 years and to be renewed thereafter.
Typically, this pass is applied online, and the approval depends on many factors, provided you meet the criteria of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
It is prohibited for a foreigner to obtain the EP by themselves, because to start off, every application done via Singapore government portal will need to be done via a SingPass ID. Therefore, it is advisable that all foreigners obtain this service from a license service provider, and what better place to get this service from other than Singapore’s No. 1 incorporation specialist, Paul Hype Page & Co.
Advantages of being an Employment Pass holder:
- EP is valid for 2 years and can be renewed for an additional 3 years whereas for Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass), it can be renewed as well but only up to 1 year. As for the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP), it is a one-time issue only and can be renewed up to 3 years.
- Having an EP makes it easier for you to apply for a Permanent Resident (PR) status and once you become a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR), it is possible for you to become a citizen.
- Allows you to open bank account, apply for credit card, rent an apartment, and telco services/cable contract.
- Having an EP automatically places you on an integrated system where it lets you to pay taxes and resolve immigration issues promptly.
- You can bring in your immediate family members (parents, spouse, children) to Singapore but you need to earn a minimum of $6000 per month. And for the family members, they will be required to submit other visas for each member; the Long-Term pass for parents and Dependent Pass for children. These additional passes applications should be submitted along with your EP application.
Eligibility for Employment Pass
The first step towards obtaining your EP is to make sure if you are eligible. Below are the basic requirements required by MOM:
- Must have at least a minimum income of S$3,600
- A graduate/postgraduate degree/diploma from a top university
- The professional qualifications needed for the job
- Work experiences relevant to the job
Documents Required for the Application
You will be required to submit necessary documents to substantiate the application. Also, do note that all documents are required to be in English.
- A complete and verified application form (EP form)
- Detailed CV or resume of your professional and academic qualifications.
- Photocopies of your educational certificates that are relevant along with your previous employers’ testimonials
- Photocopy of your passport personal particulars’ page.
- One recent passport size photo.
Employment Pass Application Process
Application of the EP is done online via EPOL (MOM’s application website). Do take note that only your employer or a government-licensed immigration agency can apply on behalf of you. They will be able to guide you on filing up the EP form.
As stated on the MOM’s website, the standard application process takes 3 weeks but might vary for each applicant if they have not completely fulfilled the requirements.
- Initial application: at least 3 weeks
- Additional documents: 3 weeks
- If rejected, and request for appeal: 3 weeks
With the current system, the possible statuses for your EP application are:
- Pending inputs from vetting agencies. Expected outcome is 2 months from the Date of Application.
- We need inputs from other agencies to process this application. In most instances, the outcome will be available in 4 weeks’ time. Some cases may take longer.
The above-mentioned timeline is very random and varies by cases. Also, there is no definite time on each status.
Why will an EP application get rejected?
- Your job scope is totally different from your qualification – If your education and experience do not align with your job requirements, your application will be rejected.
- Your company/employer is not competent enough – They did not hire locals hence not a good contribution to Singapore.
- Your position can be easily replaced by a Singaporean – there are sufficient locals that can do the same job
- You did not fulfill the criteria – From April 2016, MOM has introduced a more stringent rules especially for salary and academic qualifications, and they do not grant EP easily.
- Your employer did not meet the criteria of having a balanced a ratio of locals to foreign employees.
- Your duration of previous job is less than 2 years and changed job without acceptable reason – MOM do not prefer job-hoppers or spotty work records
- There are discrepancies in your personal information – there are inadequate information to substantiate your credentials, or incorrect information.
- If your resume or CV does not portray an increasing level of responsibilities and increasing salary, it means you are not progressing and staying at the same level, chances are your EP will be rejected as there is no value-added benefit to contribute.