The Singapore government's main concern in approving employment passes is to fulfill its national and economic development policies and has been gradually updating the minimum qualifying salary.

Minimum salary for Employment Pass in Singapore

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has mandated that the qualifying salary for Employment Pass (EP) applications will be S$4500.

Previous Salary Requirement

Previously, the qualifying salary for Employment Pass application was S$3000 per month as per January 2017 where it was raised from S$3600. MOM has tightened the salary qualification over the years and this increase is due to government move to being more careful in issuing the passes.

Reason of Increase for Salary Requirement

As from 2017, MOM has tightened the rules of granting Employment Pass easily. The strict policy imposed is aimed at moderating the number of foreign forces 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. Other reasons include:

  1. To ensure fair employment practice – This is to make room for locals to fill positions before employing foreigners and balance the weightage of locals to foreigners in the workforce.
  2. To moderate demand for foreign manpower – Due to limited land, resources and infrastructure, there is a need for more sustainable productivity-driven economy growth, so a significant slowdown is required in the growth of foreign workforce.
  3. To raise the quality of existing workers – Effort to restructure productivity efforts and companies will have to shift towards more skills and capital-intensive ways to grow.

Other Requirements  for Employment Pass in Singapore

Along with the salary requirements, there are other criteria that should be fulfilled by the applicant such as:

  • Have a job offer in Singapore
  • Work in a managerial, executive or specialised position
  • Acceptable university degree, professional qualification or specialist skill
  • Relevant work experiences

There is no list of approved institutions as MOM evaluates each tertiary institution on its own merit based on a wide range of criteria such as global and country rankings, and enrolment standards. There is a no quota system for Employment Pass and each application is reviewed based on the credentials of applicant and the employing company. MOM closely review other key factor such as proven track records and exceptional skill sets on a case to case basis.

Note on salaries: 

Do note here that the minimum fixed monthly salary requirement of S$4500 is typically applicable to fresh graduates from good quality educational qualification whereas older and more experienced applicants are required to command higher salaries which is proportional to their years of work experiences in order to qualify.

Salary Requirement to Bring in Dependants

As an Employment Pass holder, you can enjoy dependants’ privileges but is subjected to certain criteria. The dependants include legally married spouse, unmarried children and parents. To bring in your spouse or children on a Dependants Pass, you must be earning at least a minimum salary of S$6000 in order to apply DP for them. Do note that this is only for your spouse and children, you can only apply DP for your parents if you are making at least S$12,000 and this is just for your parents, and not applicable to your spouse’s parents/in-laws. Separate applications are to be done for each family member and remember that Employment Pass can only be applied by the employer of an employment agent. Hence, it is compulsory for applicants to secure a job first in the country before applying.