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Singapore Employment Pass Quota Guide 2022

7 min read|Last Updated: July 13, 2022|
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A quota system is a restriction for employers to hire no more than the permitted number of foreign workers. This quota varies depending on the industry and is to control the inflow foreign workers. For this article, we will discuss the Singapore Employment Pass quota.

Is there any quota for the Singapore Employment Pass?

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 in Singapore.

Theoretically, any Singapore registered Companies are able to hire an unlimited number of foreign professionals via an Employment Pass. However, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still imposes strict regulations and assessment before approving the applications.

MOM has started tightening the requirement for a candidate to qualify holding an Employment Pass and at the same time, decreasing the quota for foreign expatriates to be 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 to further support employment opportunities of locals in Singapore.

For those who are unable to secure a job or have a company to sponsor your Employment Pass application, we recommend that you apply it on your own through a new Singapore company setup with EP.


If there is no quota, will it be difficult to attain an Employment Pass?

Based on recent events, even though there is no quota for a Singapore registered Company to hire an Employment Pass holder, it can be said the Covid-19 pandemic did hinder the Employment Pass application process.

However, as we reach towards the endemic stage, approvals are aplenty. The influx of approvals indicate the government’s plan to replenish the talents who left during the pandemic.

While the approvals are streaming in, we have noticed a longer processing time for applications.

Without a doubt, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) still allows employers to apply for an Employment Pass for the 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, company size, to innovation.

You can read more about it here.

What are the requirements to apply for an Employment Pass in Singapore?

While there is no quota on the Singapore Employment Pass, there are a few factors that determine the success rate of application, be it a new application or an EP renewal. This includes:

  • Position

  • Salary offered

  • Academic qualifications

  • Years of experience

Even getting a job in certain industries in Singapore is quite tough due to the current state of the employment market. Depending on your industry, you must take into consideration all the essential factors.

For potential candidate:

  • Salary offered must be at par with the position, age, qualification, and year of experiences of the potential candidate. This can be checked via the MOM Self-Assessment Tool (SAT). Any salary offered lower than the minimum stated in SAT, will be auto rejected by MOM

  • Education qualification obtained from accredited institution.

  • Professional certificate obtained that relates to the position applied is an added advantage

  • Long acquire experiences towards the field of choice will also be an added advantage in an Employment Pass application

For employing Company:

  • Ensure all Government related filings are done annually without failed
  • Ensure to maintain good relationship with clients and ensure contracts are long term

  • Maintain and well-keep invoices issued to clients and payments records are recorded nicely

  • Hire local employees and pay out CPF contribution as MOM will review if the employing Companies also gives fair treatment to local candidates

  • Ensure Company bank have sufficient fund to cover the potential foreign candidate salary for the next 12 months and cover the business operation expenses

You may look into the article about Employment Pass procedure to know the in-depth procedure and the potential additional/supporting documents Ministry of Manpower (MOM) might request for.

Our thoughts

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.


Drop us a message through our contact form.

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Where can i get the Employment Pass Application Form?2022-07-18T11:54:27+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 rejected2022-07-18T11:54:49+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?2022-07-18T11:54:50+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?2022-07-18T11:54:58+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?2022-07-18T11:55:05+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?2022-07-18T11:55:07+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)2022-07-18T11:55:30+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.

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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Join the discussions

  1. K E Sridharan June 21, 2020 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    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

    • Tiwi July 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      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.
      Warm regards

  2. Harvey Yew August 22, 2019 at 7:32 am - Reply


    How much would it cost for you to apply for an EP for one of our staff? Her salary is 4.2k SGD, Malaysian.

    • Kumaran Tiwiyah August 26, 2019 at 3:49 am - Reply

      Hello Harvey,

      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.

      Thank you.

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