Quota system restricts employers from hiring more than the permitted number of foreign workers. This quota varies depending on the industry and aims to control the inflow of foreign workers. For this article, we will discuss the Singapore Employment Pass quota.
For the Employment Pass, there is no foreign worker levy or quota associated with this type of pass. Such quotas only apply to S Pass and Work Permit (WP). It should be noted that these work passes are also considered long-term visit passes (LTVP) in Singapore.
Theoretically, any Singapore-registered Companies can hire an unlimited number of foreign professionals via an Employment Pass. Despite this, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has imposed strict regulations and assessments before approving the applications.
MOM has started tightening the requirements for a EP candidate to qualify and, at the same time, decreasing the quota for foreign expatriates to reside and work in Singapore.
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 to build and retain a core of Singapore employees and further support locals’ employment opportunities in Singapore.
For those who have the intention to be self-employed, you may also opt to set up your own Singapore company setup with EP.
If there is no quota, will it be difficult to attain an Employment Pass?
As we reach the endemic stage, approvals are aplenty. The influx of approvals indicates the government’s plan to replenish the talents who left during the pandemic.
Undoubtedly, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still allows employers to apply for an Employment Pass for foreign candidates. However, they will strictly filter each application based on their qualifications, salary offered, and work experiences.
In the latest developments, the minimum qualifying monthly salary for EP application will be raised from S$4,500 to S$5,000. Aside from this, a point-based system will be introduced under the COMPASS framework that guides every EP application from September 2023 onwards.
The new framework outlines the key criteria for both the applicant and employer from salary benchmarks, work experiences, diversity, and company size, to innovation.
Employment Pass Quota on Nationalities
Under the new COMPASS framework which will be launched on 1 September, there is an unspoken EP quota on nationalities. This falls under the Employer’s criteria of diversity.
While this is not a hard quota on any specific nationalities, companies who wish to employ foreign talents via the employment pass needs to plan their manpower resource carefully.
The number of foreign and local employees in the same company must be fair and diversified. For instance, if the company has 4 Malaysian employees on record on the EP, the chances of securing another Malaysian employee with EP would generally be difficult as no points will be awarded under the ‘Diversity’ criteria.
However, if both the company and candidate score well in other categories, the issue of EP quota on nationalities and diversities will not be an issue if 40 points can be attained.
Overall, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) did not restrict any nationality to apply for an Employment Pass or have a quota for Singapore Employment Pass. All the talents that are able to enhance the Singapore economy are welcome to work in Singapore.
However, the critical deciding factor is whether such talents are scarce and not available locally. All in all, it comes down to MOM whether or not you are a suitable fit to contribute to the country.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
If I am holding a valid EntrePass for the company that currently employs me but wish to leave the current post to start my own business venture, must I cancel my existing EP before applying for AIP EP?
Yes, you will need to cancel your existing EntrePass before applying for AIP EP.
If I am holding a valid EntrePass (EP) for the company that currently employs me and at the same time, wish to start my own business without resigning from my present job, must I cancel my existing EP before applying for AIP EP?
No, you need not cancel your existing EP. Rather, you should apply for AIP EP along with a letter of no objection from your current employer. Your AIP EP will be treated as an application for an additional EntrePass to work for another company.
I am staying in India right now, I had worked in Singapore from 2012 to 2018, with few months GAP in between on Dependant pass. In the beginning of 2019 we shifted to India due to my mothers health condition.
My earlier employer is willing to take me on EP now as Accounts/ Finance Manager. I am aged 61 with graduation and accounting technician certification from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India with vast experience in the relevant field.
How are my chances of getting my EP?
My employer is a renowned SME engaged in trading business in Singapore. My employer is ready to give me S$ 6000/ month. Will I get EP and DP for my wife too, who incidentally worked with a multinational bank in Singapore.
Kindly guide me
It is possible for you to secure an Employment Pass for yourself based on the information provided.
Using your employment pass, your wife will be able to get a Dependant Pass. If she requires an EP, she will need to secure a job in Singapore or alternatively, we can assist her in incorporating a company and securing and EP through the company.
If you have further inquiries, or you would like our advice on your EP, please contact us at Paul Hype Page so we can further discuss this with you.
Thank you for your comment.
How much would it cost for you to apply for an EP for one of our staff? Her salary is 4.2k SGD, Malaysian.
As long as your staff member fulfills all the necessary criteria, we will be able to apply for an EP for her.
It costs S$800 to apply for an EP, according to our fee structures.
If you would like to know more about the Singapore EP, contact us and we will provide you with all the information you may need.