The Singapore Personalized Employment Pass is not tied to the employer and is granted on the strength of the applicant’s merit. As this pass comes with many benefits, make sure to understand the limitations as the Ministry of Manpower has refined the requirements to only select the best to be in the country.

Singapore Personalised Employment Pass EP

It is without doubt that seeking for an employment in Singapore is a highly challenging venture as the region continuously becomes a top draw for foreigners all over to work and live here. Owing to its top-notch prominence in economy, many expats are drawn to the prospect of job opportunities here.

But there is just one thing you need before deciding to start working and living here. As mandated by the Ministry of Manpower of Singapore or commonly known as MOM, any foreigners who intend to do so, will need to secure a valid work visa.

 

If you cannot find a job or a company to sponsor for your Employment pass application , you can always do it on your ownIncorporation with Employment Pass

 

What is a Singapore Personalised Employment Pass?

One of the many types of work visas offered by the MOM is the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). This pass falls under the professional tier of the work pass group. The other 2 work pass under the professional tier is the Employment Pass (EP) and Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass).

The PEP is catered to those top-tier foreign professionals and managers, often highly skilled and is chosen on the applicant’s individual merits. This means that the holder of this pass is not bounded to an employer and possess the flexibility and mobility within the employment market in Singapore.

As PEP is not exclusive to only one employer, the key purpose of MOM offering this pass is to galvanise foreign talents and encourage global talents and resources to benefit the republic.

Benefits of Personalised Employment Pass

Having a PEP comes with many benefits. Unlike other passes where you are bound by the employer, holding this PEP will give you the freedom to explore and pursue your desired employment opportunity. Since the pass holder is not bound under any specific employer, the additional perk here is that the holder is able to switch jobs without the need of applying new work passes. They can simply notify the authority by submitting a PEP notification form to MOM for any change of jobs.

Compared to other work visas where you need to secure a job first, for PEP you might not necessarily have a job offer in Singapore, as this pass allows you to stay in Singapore for 6 months continuously while being unemployed to seek for potential job opportunity.

The PEP also grants the holder to take up jobs in any sector as long as it is a professional job but with exception for some sectors such as the media, health, security officers where a special permission is required prior application.

With PEP, you are qualified for dependants’ privilege. You are able bring your spouse and children below 21 years, and your parents too but they will need to apply for passes like the Dependant’s Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass.

Also, holding the PEP opens pathway to a Singapore permanent residency. Given that if you wish to continue working and living here, this pass will make way for it but provided that you pass their assessment criteria.

 

Limitations of Personalised Employment Pass

The PEP may grant you many privileges, however, the setback is it also comes with its own limitation.

One major limitation is that if you are an Employment Pass holder under a sponsorship scheme, freelancers or foreigner who is working on a freelance basis, you are not eligible to apply for the Personalised Employment Pass.

Those who are not qualified to apply for Personalised Employment Pass includes journalists, editors, sub-editors, producers, or anyone who serves as a sole proprietor, partner or director who holds share in a company that is registered under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) of Singapore.

Additionally, although the PEP comes as a highly flexible pass, the downside here is that this pass is only issued once and is non-renewable. This pass offers a validity of 3 years, after which you will need to apply for an Employment Pass (EP) or Permanent Resident (PR) status. This means after the period of 3 years, if you still wish to stay and work in Singapore, you can only apply those 2 alternative passes and the catch here is, you must make sure you fit the requirements and eligibility criteria for the Employment Pass or to be a PR. Hence, in a situation where you are unable to secure a job within the given 6 months, your PEP will be cancelled, and you will be given the 30-day short term visit pass instead.

When you hold the PEP, the maximum unemployment time frame given to you is limited to 6 months. So, it follows that somehow you are required to seek and land for a job in that 6-months period, failing which, you will have your PEP visa recinded.

Additionally, you are required to earn a minimum annual salary of SG$144,000 for each year spent working here in Singapore and you will also need to declare the salary you earn within 30 days of the end of the calendar year, in  which failing to do so will only lead to complications and your pass may be held for this reason.

In any case where you are about to change jobs, as flexible as this pass is, it is mandatory that you inform MOM on any changes pertaining to your employment matter or status. The changes include your switch of job title, travel documents or any cessation of employment.

Another important limitation of this pass is that although this pass is given to the person itself and not attached to any company, unfortunately PEP forbids you to own your own business or company in Singapore hence making this pass not desirable for entrepreneurs. For entrepreneurs, the Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) will be a better option.

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Who is Eligible for the Personalised Employment Pass?

The PEP is meant for top management and professionals, and the eligibility depends on the previous monthly salary draws.

To be eligible for a PEP, you will need to either be:  

  • An existing Employment Pass who earns at least a fixed monthly salary of SG$12,000
  • An overseas-based foreign professional with a last drawn monthly salary of at least SG$18,000. This last drawn salary should be within the past 6 months in order to apply.

 

Other criteria include: 

  • You must not be a freelancer who intends to work without any direct Singapore employers
  • If you are an existing Employment Pass holder, your Employment Pass should not be issued through any sponsorship scheme
  • You must not be a share-holding sole proprietors, partners, or directors of any companies registered with ACRA

 

Difference between Personalised Employment Pass and Employment Pass

Employment Pass (EP) is a pass directed to foreign professionals working in a managerial or executive position or in any specialised fields.

Both the Employment Pass and Personalised Employment Pass share some similarities such as dependents privileges (able to bring family members under Dependant’s Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass), mobility to travel in and out of Singapore without entry visas and ability to apply for Permanent Resident status under certain criteria.

Along with these common features, these 2 passes have some significant differences as well. The differences include:

  1. The PEP is not job or employer specific whereas the Employment Pass holder is bound to one employer.
  2. PEP is valid for 3 years and is not renewable whereas Employment Pass is valid up to 2 years and is renewable thereafter.
  3. Salary criterion. For PEP, holders must earn at least SG$18,000 and for Employment Pass, minimum salary qualification is SG$4,500.
  4. For PEP application, it can be done by the applicant unlike the employment pass application, where the employer is obligated to apply on behalf of applicant.
  5. For PEP, it is not necessary you have a job secured in Singapore prior to the application, but for Employment Pass you must have a job offer in Singapore with detailed offer letter which you have accepted, only then you will be able to apply for an Employment Pass.
  6. Approval of the PEP is granted on the strength of individual merits whereas for Employment Pass, the approval is tied to the individuals personal and educational qualifications, specialised skills, relevant work experiences and salary.

 

Summary

To summarise, Personalised Employment Pass holders are basically an effective self-sponsored Employment Pass holder, and in any case of after the cessation of employment, Personalised Employment Pass holders can stay in Singapore for up to 6 months.

But what happens after the validity of 3 years?

As the PEP is good for only 3 years and only maximum of one PEP per lifetime, at the end you are tied down on few options:

a)    Drop down to an Employment Pass

b)    Rise up to PR

c)    Leave Singapore

 

Hence, if your end goal is to work and stay in Singapore for at least another 5 to 7 years, it is rationale that you secure a pass that will benefit you in the long run.

The Singapore Personalised Employment Pass is a desirable choice if you are a qualified top professional and is an ideal visa choice for high-calibre executives as it allows more freedom and mobility within the employment market and thereafter, allows you to apply for Permanent Resident status and secure your goal of staying in the country.

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