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Singapore Employment Pass (EP) Rejection Reasons & Rejection Rate

11 min read|Last Updated: July 20, 2022|
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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 a Singapore Employment Pass rejection. Nevertheless, there are certain common causes of EP application rejection. The following paragraphs will provide details on some of them.

With all 13 years of our EP application experience, here are 8 very real reasons why your EP is rejected.

  • Tightening of regulations by MOM
  • No efforts in hiring local
  • Company does not have sufficient fund
  • A leap of candidate’s salary
  • Job Scope and Qualifications Do Not Match
  • The Position Can be Easily Replaced by a Singaporean
  • Applicant Did Not Fulfil the Eligibility Criteria
  • Discrepancies in Applicant’s Personal Information

“ I will highly recommend Paul Hype Page & Co for your company incorporation and Employment Pass (EP) application. It had been a hassle free process for me to apply for an Employment Pass, done and followed up by professional Corporate Specialists from PHP whom keep me in the loop all the time about the application’s status. ”

Tightening of regulations by MOM

As of late, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has laid out an increased requirements and decreased the quota for foreign expatriates to acquire Employment Pass (EP). The changes were made discreetly via the amendments to the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).

In the recent amendment made in EFMA, it was highlighted that the Singapore Government wishes to create sustainable and inclusive growth and ensure Singaporeans remain at the core of the country’s workforce. The aim to this is to shift from labour-driven to productivity-driven growth.

One of the key factors that lead to this change is of course the pandemic – Covid-19 that hits globally. The Ministry has emphasised that in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, they encourage employers 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.

We, at Paul Hype Page has been assisting with many Employment Pass applications for the past 10 years. With our group of experts, we advise client to the best of our knowledge and ensure that most of the potential red flags are covered before MOM point them out. We aim to secure approval from MOM for each of the EP applications made with a high success rate of 93%. That makes our Singapore Employment Pass rejection rate at 7%.

No efforts in hiring local


MOM has been implicit in ensuring Companies post job advertisements as an effort to employ locals before employing foreign professionals via Employment pass even though the Company is exempted from job advertisement. If the company did not show that they have made efforts in hiring locals, the Singapore Employment Pass rejection rate will be higher.


To curb the problem, it is advisable that the Company proceed with a job advertisement to serve as supporting document to MOM as proof that it has indeed fulfil the criteria needed.


Company does not have sufficient fund


MOM foresees that it is not financially feasible for the Company to hire a work pass holder. MOM uses a period of 12 months of employment and should see adequate funds in the company bank account. If not, they will deliberately reject the EP application and advise for the Company to hire locals instead.


To curb the problem, it is advisable for the Company’s bank account to always have sufficient funds to cover the candidate’s 12 months’ salary payable together with their business operation expenses.

For example:

Declared salary of EP holder per month: $5,000

Estimate overheads of business operations per year: $100,000

Funds in company bank account should cover:

  • 12 months of salary payable: $60,000
  • Estimate 10% of overheads: $1,000

Total: minimum $61,000 in company bank account


A leap of candidate’s salary


One of the famous rejection reasons is MOM noticed a significant change in the candidate’s salary compared to their previous employment. It is not advisable for an EP candidate to put in a salary that cause a huge gap compared to his previous employment.


To overcome this, always put a salary range in between the previous salary received, a recommended leeway of 30%. They can also check their eligibility via the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) with the intended salary.

Job Scope and Qualifications Do Not Match


MOM examine a candidate’s educational background, work experiences, the salary offered, and market demands for certain occupation before deciding the outcome of the application. Hence, your profile should be commensurate with the job scope. To put simply, a junior executive should not be hired for a senior associate position.


It is always advantageous for a candidate to possess skills and knowledge related to the occupation applied as an EP holder. It will also be helpful if some letter of recommendations, be it from the past employers or potential clients are presented to support the application. The supporting documents will boost the chance of success in an application.

The Position Can be Easily Replaced by a Singaporean


As mentioned above, the Government wishes to create sustainable and inclusive growth for Singaporeans to remain at the core of the country’s workforce. Hence, any positions applied for foreign expats that can be easily replaced by a Singaporean will have a higher chance of the Singapore Employment Pass rejection.


The country is looking out for foreign talent who can contribute in the long run. Having skills or abilities that are rare within the country and directly relates to the business entity will likely have their EP approved. For example, a foreign professional from Korean background advising on Korean products is in a niche. It is difficult for Singaporeans to fulfil this position.

Applicant Did Not Fulfil the Eligibility Criteria


In certain situations, the candidate opts to put in the application without first checking their eligibility via the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) which leads to rejection. One of the reasons for it is the salary demand. Even though the current minimum qualifying salary for one to hold an Employment Pass is SGD$ 4,500, it does not apply to every candidate.


Checking their eligibility via the SAT is definitely helpful before proceeding to submit the EP application. Also speak to a consultant that can gauge if your salary is in proportion to your age, experience, skills and the job scope.

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 to determine the accuracy and authenticity of each application.

A common example is how educational certifications are commonly misplaced and consequently not uploaded as a supporting document. Or how many declare they have completed courses but in actual fact have only attended partially.

Educational certifications from China and India also require further verification. If not done properly, it delays the process or results in rejection.


Declare only what you can prove with supporting documents and complete the entire verification process before your submissions. All these are in due planning and organisation. The paperwork can be too much to handle, or you just may not have the right avenues to complete verification processes. If so, approach a consultant like Paul Hype Page.

Our thoughts

The Government’s criteria for approving work passes have been regularly updated to enable business to grow as well as to support employment opportunities for local. That being said, MOM will only approve of Employment Pass applications who are able to meet the requirement and can directly contribute to the local economy. If that is not met, the Singapore Employment Pass rejection may be on the cards.

One of the ways to ensure the Employment Pass application is a smooth one is by hiring a professional agency to do so on your behalf. Fortunately, Paul Hype Page is one of the pioneers in doing work visa application, mainly Employment Pass.

Our group of experts not only assist to review the documentation before we proceed with submission but also offers professional advice where necessary. We also work closely with MOM to understand better on the reason behind every rejection and how we can counterpart them via appeal.

We ensure to cover up as many red flags MOM might point out so the application can be assessed smoothly by the Ministry of Manpower.



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).

I am an EntrePass holder. Can I register a business?2022-07-18T11:53:26+08:00


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?2022-07-18T11:53:50+08:00

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?2022-07-18T11:53:39+08:00

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.

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