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Some applications for a Singapore Employment Pass (EP) will be met with rejection. Those who have neither fulfilled the minimum salary requirements of S$4,500 nor possessed the requisite academic or work qualifications will have their applications rejected.

In Singapore, Employment Passes (EPs) are issued based on an applicant’s qualifications, salary, and work experiences. They are subject to clear but strict rules, so not every application will be approved. Every application will be scrutinized by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), which is the authority responsible for the approval of EPs.

Employment Pass holders are allowed to legally live and work in Singapore if they fulfill certain criteria. However, some may be rejected. Those who have experienced rejection would be best advised to understand the reasons behind the rejection of their EP application.

We at Paul Hype Page & Co manage many Employment Pass applications so that the applicants might receive approval from MOM. In this article, we will explain why an Employment Pass application might be rejected.   

Before you proceed with reading this article, please browse these links to other pages on our website related to the EP:


Reasons for Rejection

MOM has been refining the criteria for work visa application for many years. It does so to control the influx of foreigners in Singapore. However, in most cases, MOM does not reveal the reasons behind an application rejection. Nevertheless, there are certain common causes of EP application rejection. The following paragraphs will provide details on some of them.

Job Scope and Qualifications Do Not Match

Educational background, working experience, salary demands, and market demand for certain jobs and skills are considered by MOM before it decides on approving or rejecting an application. Thus, those whose education and experience are not commensurate with the job requirements will be rejected. Just as is the case with all employers, MOM will only approve those who possess skills corresponding to the job which they plan to take. Such is also true of degree holders whose degree is unrelated to their job. Such EP applicants will also experience rejection. 

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Employer Hired Too Many Foreigners in Proportion to Locals

It is mandatory for all companies and employers to prioritize the hiring of locals before attempting to hiring any foreigners. The government of Singapore believes that doing so will protect the Singaporeans in the workforce. For this reason, the government requires a genuine reason from the employer for the hiring of any foreigners. Not only does MOM insist on an acceptable justification from the employer on why they hired a foreigner, it also demands proof that locals have indeed been considered and interviewed as well as information on why their skills did not match the job profile. Employers whose reasons do not satisfy MOM will have their employees’ EP applications rejected.

MOM stands firmly against companies with unfair hiring practices. It only accepts employees of companies with balanced foreigner-to-local employee ratios when it reviews any Employment Pass application. Companies with disproportionate numbers of foreign employees who are also uninterested in hiring and promoting the growth and welfare of the local labor force are less likely to obtain Employment Passes for their foreign employees.

This policy which is promoted by MOM is aligned with the principles of the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF). The FCF is a guideline introduced by MOM which requires all companies to fairly consider Singaporeans in their hiring process. Its rules mandate that employers are obliged to advertise a vacant role in the Jobs Bank for at least 14 days before the position can be filled. MOM will closely track if employers did indeed review and consider all the applications that were submitted in response to the job advertisement. Those who did not do so will make it less likely that their employees will receive an EP. MOM believes that these regulations guarantee the competence of the company or employer. It also considers those which have not hired any locals to be a detriment to the country instead of an asset because they are seen as having actively weakened the country’s labor force and economy.

MOM also considers if other job channels or recruitment portals other than the Jobs Bank were utilized in the hiring process as well as the number and nationality of the candidates who have applied for the job. MOM divides people by three broad groups of nationality: Singapore citizens, Singapore permanent residents, and foreigners.

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The Position Can be Easily Replaced by a Singaporean

One primary reason why the government encourages the contributions foreign talents is to create a positive impact upon Singapore’s economic growth. This means that they are only looking for those who will contribute to the country on a long-term basis; if there are already enough locals who can do the same job, there will therefore be no reason to grant an EP to a foreigner during that situation. Thus, foreigners who have skills or abilities which are generally not available in Singapore are likely to have their EP application approved. Of course, the specific skill in question ought to be related to the business entity.

Applicant Did Not Fulfill the Eligibility Criteria

In certain situations, an application might be rejected because the applicant failed to fulfill the eligibility criteria. This is the most common reason for rejection. The primary areas in which applicants prove themselves to be ineligible relate to salary demands and academic qualifications. The current fixed monthly salary requirement is S$4,500. However, it ought to be noted that salary demands and academic qualifications are not the only reasons which may lead to an EP application rejection

Time Spent Working at Previous Jobs

MOM considers it important that an applicant has remained in all previous jobs for an amount of time deemed to be satisfactory. Applicants who have failed to do so will be rejected.

Discrepancies in Applicant’s Personal Information

Every EP applicant is required to provide sufficient information about personal details, academic qualifications, work experience, awards, and achievements. Those who either provide insufficient or incorrect information will find that their application will be rejected. Every EP application goes through a vetting process so as to determine the accuracy and authenticity of each application.

No Increase in Level of Responsibilities or Salary

When an applicant’s resume does not exhibit an increasing level of responsibilities and increasing salary cumulatively, MOM will believe that the employee has not been making any personal progress and will thus be unable to adequately contribute to the country. Such applications will be rejected.


MOM only grants EPs to those whose applications are devoid of mistakes and have proven themselves deserving of one. Even a minor error in the application can lead to rejection. This is because Singapore’s main concern with regard to the EP is the adherence to the national and economic development policies. Thus, MOM only approves Employment Pass applications based on the current skill needs of companies as well as the country as a whole.

One way to ensure that your application is not rejected is by using professional help. Fortunately for you, we at Paul Hype Page & Co are more than willing to provide such services. We are a professional service provider equipped with much understanding about the current issues related to immigration policies. By engaging with us, we will ensure that the process of EP application is greatly simplified. We will also see to it that you do not make any common Employment Pass mistakes that will lead to rejection.


Singapore Employment Pass Rejected FAQs

Can those who have had their EP application rejected apply for any other work visas of Singapore?2020-07-02T10:29:34+08:00

There are no laws that bar one who has experienced an EP application rejection from applying for other work visas. EP application rejections pertain specifically to the EP. Thus, one who has had an EP application rejected but fulfills the criteria for other work visas may apply for those. 

Are there any work visas in Singapore other than the EP?2020-07-02T10:28:40+08:00

The Singaporean government considers it important that all foreigners who work in the country do so with a valid work visa. Thus, it offers a variety of work visas for those who plan to work there. Such work visas besides the EP include the S Pass, Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass), and Personalized Employment Pass (PEP).

2021-01-29T11:35:13+08:00October 26, 2016|Comments Off on Why Is Your Singapore Employment Pass Rejected