Singapore Work Visas Guide 2024

14 min read|Last Updated: April 17, 2024|

Singapore has consistently been a favored choice for foreign professionals and entrepreneurs, evident from the statistics. Over 1.2 million foreigners have chosen Singapore as their preferred work destination as of 2024.

Why Are Singapore Work Visas So Popular?

Singapore work visas are highly popular among international professionals due to the country’s strong economy, stable political environment, strategic location in Asia, and attractive remuneration packages. With efficient infrastructure and a transparent legal system, Singapore offers opportunities for career advancement and a high quality of life, making it an enticing destination for foreign workers seeking employment opportunities abroad.

Types of Work Visas in Singapore in 2023

All foreigners who intend to work in Singapore must have a valid pass (commonly known as a work visa) before they start work. If you are engaging foreigners to work in Singapore, you must ensure that they hold a valid pass.

For Professionals

1. Employment Pass

For foreign professionals, managers and executives. Candidates need to earn at least $5,000 a month and pass the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).


To qualify for EP applications, candidates will need to pass a 2-stage eligibility framework:

  • Stage 1 – Earn at least the EP qualifying salary, which is min $5,000 for all sectors and min $5,500 for financial sectors.
  • Stage 2 – Unless exempted, pass the points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).

2. EntrePass

For foreign entrepreneurs who are keen to start and operate a business in Singapore that is venture-backed or possesses innovative technologies.


You can apply for an EntrePass if you meet both conditions:

  • Have started, or intend to start, a private limited company registered with ACRA that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies.
  • Meet any of the following innovative criteria as an entrepreneur, innovator or investor listed below. You do not need to meet all of the criteria for each respective profile, but having more qualifications would help your application

3. Personalized Employment Pass

For high-earning existing Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals. The PEP offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.


You can apply for a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) if you are earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $22,500. This is benchmarked to the top 10% of EP holders. For overseas foreign professionals, your last drawn salary should have been within the past 6 months of your application.

4. Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass

For top talent in business, arts and culture, sports, as well as academia and research.


You may apply if you meet at least one of the criteria below:

  • Earned a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000, or its equivalent in foreign currency, for the last 12 consecutive months. If you are an overseas candidate, you must also show that you have been working for an established company overseas for at least 1 year.
  • Will earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 under an established company that is based in Singapore.

For Skilled Aand Semi-Skilled Workers

1. S Pass

For skilled workers. Candidates need to earn at least $3,150 a month.


S Pass is for foreign employees across all nationalities or citizenships who:

  • Have a job offer in Singapore.
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary which is min $3,150 for all sectors and min $3,650 for financial sectors.

2. Work Permit

  • Work Permit for migrant worker
    – For skilled and semi-skilled migrant workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sector.
  • Work Permit for migrant domestic worker
    – For migrant domestic workers (MDWs) to work in Singapore.
  • Work Permit for confinement nanny
    – For Malaysian confinement nannies to work in Singapore for up to 16 weeks starting from the birth of the employer’s child.
  • Work Permit for performing artiste
    – For foreign performers working in public entertainment outlets such as bars, hotels and nightclubs.

For Trainees and Students

1. Training Employment Pass

For foreign professionals undergoing practical training. Candidates must earn at least $3,000 a month.


You can apply for a Training Employment Pass if you are a foreign student or a trainee from a foreign office or subsidiary.

  • If you are a foreign student:
    – The training attachment in Singapore must be part of your course of study. You must be studying at an acceptable institution or earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,000.
  • If you are a trainee from a foreign office or subsidiary:
    – You must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,000.

2. Work Holiday Pass (under Work Holiday Programme)

For students and graduates aged 18 to 25 who want to work and holiday in Singapore for 6 months.


You can apply for a Work Holiday Pass under the Work Holiday Programme if you meet these requirements:

  • You are aged 18 to 25 at the time of application.
  • You are an undergraduate or graduate of a university in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland, United Kingdom or United States.
  • Your university is recognised by the government of the respective ten countries or regions.
  • For undergraduates: you have been a resident and a full-time student of the university for at least 3 months before applying for the pass.
  • For graduates: you were a resident and a full-time student of the university.

3. Work Holiday Pass (under Work and Holiday Visa Programme)

For Australian and New Zealander students and graduates aged 18 to 30 who want to work and holiday in Singapore for 12 months.


You can apply for a Work Holiday Pass under the respective Work and Holiday Visa Programmes if you meet these requirements:

  • You are a citizen of Australia or New Zealand.
  • You are aged 18 to 30 at the time of application.
  • You hold a university degree, or have completed the equivalent of two years of full-time undergraduate university study.

4. Training Work Permit

For semi-skilled foreign trainees or students undergoing practical training in Singapore for up to 6 months.


As an employer, you can apply for a Training Work Permit (TWP) for:

  • Semi-skilled or unskilled employees from related overseas companies to undergo training in Singapore.
  • Foreign students studying in educational institutions in Singapore. The training must be part of their course requirements. All Training Work Permits are valid for up to 6 months.

For Family Members

1. Dependant’s Pass

For spouses and children of eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders.


You can apply for a Dependant’s Pass for your family if you meet all these requirements:

  • Hold an Employment Pass or S Pass.
  • Earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of $6,000. This is based on your salary, and not based on your combined household income.
  • Are sponsored by an established, Singapore-registered company (usually your employer).

2. Long-Term Visit Pass

For spouses and children of eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders.


You can apply for a Dependant’s Pass for your family if you meet all these requirements:

  • Hold an Employment Pass or S Pass.
  • Earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of $6,000. This is based on your salary, and not based on your combined household income.
  • Are sponsored by an established, Singapore-registered company (usually your employer).

You can get a pass for the following family members:

  • Legally married spouse.
  • Unmarried children under 21 years old, including legally adopted children.

3. Letter of Consent

  • Pre-approved Letter of Consent
    For eligible spouses or children of Singapore citizens or PRs holding an LTVP/LTVP+ issued by ICA. The holder is pre-approved to work in Singapore. They can only apply for a PLOC when applying for, or renewing the LTVP/LTVP+.
  • Letter of Consent for ICA-issued LTVP/LTVP+ holders
    For eligible spouses or children of Singapore citizens or PRs holding an LTVP/LTVP+ issued by ICA. The LOC allows the holder to work in Singapore. The employer must apply for the LOC.
  • Letter of Consent for Dependant’s Pass holders who are business owners
    For eligible Dependant’s Pass holders who wish to operate a business.

For Exemptions and Working while on a Visit Pass

1. Miscellaneous Work Pass

For foreign speakers, religious workers and journalists taking on a short-term work assignment of up to 60 days in Singapore.


You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • A foreigner directly involved in, but not limited to, organising or conducting any seminar, conference, workshop or gathering that: Relates directly or indirectly to any religious belief, or to religion generally.Relates directly or indirectly to any race or community generally.Is cause-related or directed towards a political end, including involvement as a speaker, moderator, facilitator or trainer.
  • A foreign religious worker giving talks directly or indirectly related to any religion.
  • A foreign journalist, reporter, or accompanying crew member not supported or sponsored by any Singapore Government agency to cover an event or write a story in Singapore.

(Tips: You must also be sponsored by a Singapore-based organization or society.)

2. Work Pass Exempt Activities

For performing eligible short-term activities without a work pass. Candidates must still notify MOM of their activities.


You are eligible if you are getting a work pass exemption for these activities:

  • Arbitration and mediation services
  • Exhibitions
  • Journalism
  • Judicial or Legal duties in Singapore International Commercial Court
  • Junket activities
  • Location filming and fashion shows
  • Performances
  • Specialise Services related to a New Plant / Operations / Equipment
  • Seminars and Conferences
  • Sports
  • Tour facilitation

3. Work Pass Exemption for Foreign Students

For foreign students studying full-time at an approved school or institution in Singapore.


If you are holding a Student’s Pass in Singapore, you are only allowed to work if you are a full time student from the universities listed below:

  • Anglo-Chinese School (International) Singapore
  • Australian International School
  • Canadian International School
  • Chatsworth International School
  • Digipen
  • Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
  • Dulwich College (Singapore)
  • EHL Campus (Singapore)
  • ESSEC Business School (Singapore)
  • German European School Singapore
  • German Institute of Science and Technology – TUM Asia
  • Government Junior Colleges
  • Government secondary schools
  • Government-aided Junior Colleges
  • Government-aided secondary schools
  • Hwa Chong International School
  • Hollandse School
  • Independent schools
  • INSEAD, Singapore
  • Institute of Technical Education, Singapore
  • International Community School
  • ISS International School
  • The Japanese School Singapore
  • LaSalle College of the Arts
  • Lycee Francais De Singapour
  • Millenia Institute
  • Mountbatten Vocational School
  • Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • National University of Singapore
  • Nexus International School (Singapore)
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  • Overseas Family School
  • Republic Polytechnic
  • S P Jain School of Global Management Singapore
  • Saint Joseph’s Institution International School
  • Sekolah Indonesia
  • Special Education schools
  • Specialised Independent schools
  • Specialised schools
  • Singapore American School
  • Singapore Institute of Technology
  • Singapore Korean International School
  • Singapore Management University
  • Singapore Polytechnic
  • Singapore University of Social Sciences
  • Singapore University of Technology and Design
  • Sorbonne-Assas International Law School – Asia
  • Stamford American International School
  • Swiss School in Singapore
  • Tanglin Trust School
  • Temasek Polytechnic
  • University of the Arts Singapore
  • United World College of South East Asia
  • Waseda Shibuya Senior High School in Singapore
  • XCL World Academy
  • Yale-NUS College of the National University of Singapore

4. Work Pass for holders of Long-Term Visit Passes issued by ICA

For foreigners married to a Singaporean or permanent resident, or parents
accompanying a child who is studying in Singapore.


  • Your LTVP should have a validity of at least 4 months remaining if you wish to apply for a Work Permit.
  • You are not allowed to work in objectionable occupations such as a dance hostess or a masseur.

Comparison on EP with other professional Work Visas

EP vs EntrePass

1. Higher application success rate

A qualified individual for EP should have a tertiary or degree certification, minimum monthly salary of S$5000 a month and also need to pass the COMPASS FRAMEWORK. Thus, the success rate is generally higher than the EntrePass candidates who are serial entrepreneurs,
high-calibre innovators or experienced investors

2. EP is family friendly

If you’re bringing a spouse or kids in, they can apply for dependent passes attached to your EP. The qualifying salary for the EP holder is at least S$6,000 if you want to bring your spouse or kids in but it will be S$12,000 if you want to bring your parents in. However, if you’re an EntrePass holder, you need a total annual business spending of S$100,000 and meet local employment requirements.

3. No specific requirement for renewal

Employment Passes typically have longer validity periods and are easier to renew compared to EntrePasses. EPs are usually granted for up to two years initially and can be renewed thereafter, whereas EntrePasses are initially granted for up to one year and have more stringent renewal criteria, especially in terms of business viability and growth.

By the 2nd year of holding EntrePass, you will have to hire at least 3 full-time employees (FTE) or 1 local professional, manager or executive (PME). Your total annual business spending by then must be at least S$100,000. Thus, EP is better than EntrePass

EP vs Personalized Employment Pass (PEP)

Whether the Employment Pass (EP) or the Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is better depends on the individual’s salary, specific circumstances, career goals, and preferences. However, you will need to take note that PEP is not renewable and the duration is 3 years.

Let’s say if you have a salary of at least SGD 22,500 and wish to have flexibility in switching employers or industries, you can go for PEP. Otherwise, you can just apply for a simple EP tied with your current company.

EP vs Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass (ONE Pass)

ONE PASS has a validity of 5 years and also can be renewed.You can apply for ONE Pass if you earned a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 or have outstanding achievements in at least one of the areas below:

  • Sports
  • Arts and culture
  • Academia and research

Constraints of S Pass Work Visa in Singapore

The other work visa that is widely applied apart from Employment Pass is known as S Pass which targets the skilled and semi-skilled workers. There are no restrictions of nationalities and S Pass holders are usually individuals who have fulfilled the requirements as specified by the company.

A quota system limits the number of S Pass holders in a company, affecting all companies in Singapore. For example, a company in the service sector must have more than 10% of their staff as S Pass holders. Employers must also pay a monthly levy, determined by the number of employed S Pass holders, as mandated.

Why is Employment Pass a Better Choice?

If you are in a dilemma of whether you need a professional tier working visa in Singapore, we would recommend the Singapore Employment Pass which has long-term benefits.

Although both the Employment Pass and EntrePass grant you the ability to bring in dependants, the validity of the EntrePass is only a year but is renewable thereafter. Holders of EntrePass will not be able to bring in dependants on the first year. Only after renewing the pass, they will be able enjoy the dependant privileges.

For Personalised Employment Pass, there are 2 key disadvantages in the long run. Firstly, PEP holders cannot take up jobs where the salary is less than $12,000 – this is a huge restriction

when economy is poor. Next, PEP holders cannot be a shareholder of the company or being involved in entrepreneurial activities. This may result in lost opportunity where he cannot be entitled to any share options of the company and is always an employee.

Therefore, an Employment Pass Visa gives you more flexibility and advantages as a job seeker or as a foreign entrepreneur who plans to start their business in Singapore.


With the right preparation and guidance, navigating the complexities of work visa applications and regulatory compliance can be simplified.

Paul Hype Page & Co. provides tailored solutions for compliance with current regulations. Whether you need assistance with EP applications, bank account opening, company secretary services, or tax filing or even company relocation and incorporation, we’re here to provide expert support and guidance. Trust us to streamline your immigration and corporate compliance needs, empowering your business to thrive in Singapore’s dynamic environment.


Come down to our office or get in touch virtually for a free work visa assessment (worth $288) to determine your best chance to move to Singapore today.


What does a foreigner have to do if he wants to register a business firm in Singapore?2020-07-03T16:04:58+08:00

A foreigner needs to apply for an Approval-In-Principle EntrePass if the foreigner wants to register a business and act as a local manager of the business firm. The foreigner must also have a Singapore residential address in the above cases. After obtaining the AIP-EP, the foreigner will have to approach a professional firm or a service bureau for submitting the BizFile transaction on his behalf to register a new business.

Why use the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)?2020-07-03T16:04:36+08:00

To make sure that you are applying for the right work visa, you can make use of a tool offered by MOM which is the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT). This tool will help you check your eligibility and determine based on your nationality, education profile, working background/experience, and salary. From this, you will be able to know under which category you fall. Since MOM has enforced tight criterions on granting EP, this tool will give you a more definite and case by case answer according to your personal profile, position and condition. You may head to MOM’s site for the Self-Assessment Tool.  

If the tool indicates that you will not qualify, do note that this Self-Assessment Tool only serve as a system to check your eligibility and criteria prior to your application and NOT the approval of your application.

What is an Employment Pass (EP)?2020-07-03T16:04:02+08:00

For foreigners who wish to work and live in Singapore, they are required to have work visas, and the relevant work visa is Employment Pass (EP). An Employment Pass is a work visa that allows foreign professionals in managerial, executive or specialist role who have job offer in Singapore to relocate there and work. 

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