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Singapore Employment Pass Requirements Guide 2022: Assessment Tool, Eligibility & Documents

10 min read|Last Updated: July 5, 2022|
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As the job market grows steadily in Asian cities, Singapore has become one of the most sought-after places for foreign workers because of its liveable environment and competitive economy.

To control the foreign talent pool, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has put measures to tighten the requirements for various work visas, with the most recent being the Singapore employment pass. The first of the two new changes will take effect from September 2022 and the next the following year in September 2023.

What is an Employment Pass (EP)?

A Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is one of the many preferred work visas available in Singapore. The employment pass allows foreign expatriates to live and work in Singapore with a starting salary of S$4,500*. Beyond working in Singapore, it also allows EP holders to start their own business in the country.

Other that Employment Pass (EP), there are several types of work visas offered by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) which are tailored to suit certain skills, level, salary requirement, and employment background.

An Employment Pass (EP) is usually valid for 1 year and can subsequently be renewed for 2 to 3 years at a time. There is no levies or quotas for Employment Pass employees.

Why use the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)?

The Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) is a tool run by MOM to assist potential candidates to check their eligibility before applying for a work pass. This tool is normally used for S Pass and Employment Pass candidates to check their qualifying salary.

The information needed to attempt in using this tool will be:

  • Position details – sectors & occupation

  • Fixed monthly salary

  • Nationality/Citizenship

  • Date of birth

  • Work experiences

  • Education background

If the SAT indicates a certain salary will not qualify you to hold an Employment Pass (EP), we highly advise to increase the salary until the result qualifies you to apply for the pass. This is because, MOM will auto reject any application made if the salary does not qualify for the candidate to hold an EP.

We strongly recommend for every applicant to check their EP eligibility through the SAT checker. Alternatively, we also conduct our own in-house detailed assessment to determine the best route for you using our 14 years of experience.

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Requirements for Securing Employment Pass in 2022

Before you can consider applying for an employment pass, you will need to have a job offer in a Singapore-registered business. The alternative route if you do not have a job or a sponsor, it is to register your own company and work under your newly-formed Singapore company with an EP.

Aside from that, the other requirements for employment pass are also detailed below:

1. Salary
From September 2022, MOM has revised the qualifying salary for every Employment Pass holder to S$5,000. This is raised from S$4,500 in 2020.
The strict policy imposed is aimed at moderating the number of foreign talents in Singapore. Also, this regular updating of the Employment Pass qualifying salary is part of MOM’s effort to keep pace with rising local wages, to maintain the quality of foreign workforce and enhance their contribution to the local workforce.

In many forums or rumours in website, in order for an Employment Pass application to be approved is by being offered a high salary. However, based on our professional experiences, this is a double sword edge situation.
For instance, if the employing company does not have sufficient fund to pay the offered salary, MOM may also reject the application.

2. Educational Qualification
One of the requirements to apply for an Employment Pass is having an acceptable qualification from accredited institution, professional qualification or hold specialised skills.

Those who wish to apply an Employment Pass, but their qualification is from unaccredited institutions will need to obtain a report from 3rd party global verification agencies such as Dataflow or Risk Management Intelligence (RMI).

This report is needed for the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to begin assessing the candidate application. Without it, MOM will not initiate the assessment and leads to an auto rejection.

For those applying the employment pass using their professional certificate will be scrutinize by the Ministry of Manpower. These types of applicants will usually need to compile supporting such as letter of recommendation and past work experience portfolio to boost the approval chance.

3. Employment Background
Besides your educational qualification, one of the overriding criteria is your employment background. Those with exceptional professional skills and expertise with a proven track record of relevant experiences will outshine the other applicants.

One of the reasons why this criterion is highly favoured it will impact the social and economic development of the republic and its citizens. Note that your skills should also match your previous job profile as this will determine your expertise in your respective field.

In some cases, let say if you lack notable education, this is where you can compensate it with a strong work experiences and background.

The requirements for Singapore employment pass will be changed into a point-based system called COMPASS in September 2023. You can find more about this new scheme in our article here.

Employment Pass Eligibility Requirements for Employers

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also assessed the background of each employing company who wishes to employ foreign candidates. Some of the key factors evaluated are:

1. Job advertisement to consider local candidates equally like the foreign candidates
MOM website mentioning for all Singapore-registered Companies to consider all candidates fairly. To do this, they are encouraged to put up a job advertisement in MyCareersFuture to give Singaporeans the same consideration as the foreign candidates for at least 28 days.

This job advertisement can be served as supporting document to MOM as proof that the company has indeed fulfil the criteria needed.

Although there is no quota for a Company to employ EP holders, but any companies with a disproportionately large numbers of foreigners will ultimately be scrutinized by MOM and a higher chance for them to reject an application made.

Beyond the number of foreign talents employed, MOM is also very thorough in assessing the employing Company information and background. If a Company employ local candidates and pay out their CPF contribution accordingly, it might boost their chance of approval in hiring foreign expats as well.

2. Company Capabilities
In recent months, MOM has been rigid in ensuring the Company is well-equipped to hire a foreign employee via work visa and the candidate of choice is well deserving of the position offered.

Some of the items that MOM will likely assess are:

  • Company bank account is opened and have sufficient fund to cover the candidate and existing employees’ salaries for the next 12 months’ and still able to cover business operation expenses

  • Have tenancy agreement of the workplace

  • Prepare business plan in detail

  • Engagements with potential clients and summarise them in the form of Letter of Intent or contracts signed. (It is better if the potential clients are Singaporean)

  • If the business has started operating, ensure all invoices issued are neatly kept and can be tallied with the proof of payment made by clients in the company bank account

  • Ensure the company complied with the annual filing (tax filing with IRAS, financial statement preparation, and annual return filing with ACRA)

If any of the items above are not fulfilled, there is a possibility for MOM to use it as a reason to reject the application made.

Documents Required for The Application

For the applicant:

  • Previous work pass (EP / S Pass / DP / WP – if any)

  • Latest passport copy

  • Education certificate (If it’s not in English, kindly furnish the official translated copy together with the original copy)

  • Membership card (if any)

  • Accreditation Agency support letter (if any)

For the employing company:

  • Business plan

  • Contracts secured or letter of intents with potential clients

  • Tenancy agreement (if any)

  • Bank statement – showing sufficient fund

Our thoughts

As the competition between the locals and foreigners are getting tough, as well as strict regulations from the Singapore authorities, it is quite a daunting task to make sure you meet all the requirements for Singapore employment pass.

Although it is a difficult market for foreigners to become an EP holder, just remember that Singapore’s main aim is to fulfil their national/economic development policies and that will be your steer to obtaining your EP.

93% SUCCESS RATE FOR SINGAPORE EMPLOYMENT PASS APPLICATIONS

Come down to our office or get in touch virtually for a work visa assessment to determine your best chance to move to Singapore today.

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I am an EntrePass holder. Can I register a business?2020-06-23T11:56:24+08:00

Yes.

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?2020-06-23T11:55:57+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?2020-06-23T11:55:36+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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