Employment Pass Application in Singapore

Singapore offers a range of work passes to foreigners wishing to reside an work in the city state. The most commonly used one for foreign white collar workers is the Singapore Employment Pass. You can find Singapore Employment Pass agencies here if you would like to get free quotes for the work pass service from pre-screened companies. Most agencies charge in between 1.000 – 2.000 SGD for the employment pass application.
The Singapore Employment Pass is issued to both, entry level as well as experienced foreign professionals. Usually the employment pass validity is for 2-3 years after which it can be renewed if you are still working in Singapore. Once all the necessary documentation is in place from the applicant, the application and approval procedure takes between 3-5 working days in Singapore. It must be ensured that the qualifications of the applicant are from recognized educational institutes abroad and that the salary if above a certain threshold.

Employment Pass & Company Incorporation Procedures

Many foreign entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate a company in Singapore apply for their employment pass after the company has been incorporated. Take note that the incorporation will require a local singaporean director (nominee director service). In the best case the applicant is neither director nor shareholder of the newly incorporated company at the time of the Singapore employment pass application. He can become a director or shareholder subsequently. The second best case is that the applicant is shareholder below 33% but not a director. There are nominee shareholder as well as nominee director services available to achieve this in the beginning. In order to further improve the chances of successful approval by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore for the employment pass, make sure the paid up capital of the company is above 25.000 SGD. Ideally it should even be more than 50.000 SGD. The salary should be 6.500 SGD or more (even through the official guideline by Ministry of Manpower says 3.300 SGD and above). The higher it is, the better the chances for a successful employment pass application.
These recommendations for the successful employment pass application and approval process are based on extensive experience working with foreign professionals and local Singaporean companies wishing to employ foreign executives in Singapore.

The MOM (Ministry of Manpower) issues employment passes and all other work passes in Singapore. 

The EP (Employment Pass) is your first step to start working in a white collar profession in Singapore which is well renumerated. This specific kind of employment visa allows you to be employed and live in Singapore for the duration of your contract. In most cases the EP is issued for a period of two to three years, after which it can be renewed. There is a range of important prerequestites to adhere to for the employment pass application process.


The labor market in Singapore.

Government agencies in Singapore, especially MOM, publish statistics on the local labor market in regular intervals. In recent years the criteria for successful EP applications have been tightened which makes it even more important to get professional advice for a successful employment pass application.


Salary levels in Singapore.

Singapore has experienced steady economic growth in recent decades. Hand in hand with that the salary levels increased consistently. Due to that growth and tightened EP application criteria, there is stiff competition for the best talent in the country these days, especially in sectors such as IT and technology.


How to apply for the Singapore Employment Pass and who issues it?

The Employment Pass in Singapore is issued by the Ministry of Manpower. Usually your employer or an application service provider submits the application on behalf of yourself.

What are the requirements for a successful Employment Pass Application in Singapore?

  • In order to be eligible for the employment pass, you must have a valid job offer which fulfills the employment pass criteria in Singapore. If you wish to apply via your own company, please follow the advice above.
  • The employment pass applicant must be an executive with educational certificates from a recognized foreign university or other tertiary institution. Ideally he also possesses several years of work experience for the job he wishes to apply for in Singapore.
  • The base salary as stipulated by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower must be 3.300 SGD or above. However, we recommend to have a higher salary than that. At least 6.500 SGD will improve the chances of a successful employment pass application outcome. The more senior a candidate is in terms of job experience, the higher the salary should be. Current salary levels can be seen at various online job sites in Singapore.
  • The applicant must have a university degree from a well established foreign university.
In order to maximize the chances of a successful employment pass application in Singapore, it is recommended to use the services of a well established Singapore employment agency company who has extensive experience with employment passes when it concerns foreign nationals.
Make sure to request free quotes from our pre-screened pool of employment pass agencies in Singapore!

How does the Employment Pass Application Process work?

  • After you request free quotes from our pool of pre-screened employment pass agencies in Singapore, they will get in touch with you and coordinate the necessary documentation and other administrative matters.
  • If the criteria for a successful employment pass application, as set out by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore, are met the service provider will request all the necessary documentation from you. That includes copies of passport, transcripts, diplomas, reference letters and other validating material from your employer in Singapore.
  • Straight after all documentation is in place, the employment pass service provider submits the application documents with the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.
  • It will take 3-5 working days to receive the outcome from Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower.
  • After a successful application, you will receive the employment pass approval and notification letter from the Ministry of Manpower or your chosen employment pass application agency. You need to bring this letter along together with your individual documents to the office of Ministry of Manpower. The employment pass will be picked up there. The whole process will take around 1 hour.
  • Usually every 2 to 3 years the Singapore employment pass is up for renewal. Logically the most important criteria is that you still hold the same job in Singapore at the time of renewal.

What should I do if I switch Employers in Singapore after the initial Employment Pass has been issued?

In case you decide to change employers during your time in Singapore, you are required to notify the Singapore Ministry of Manpower of that change. Usually your new and old employers will assist you with that. It is a formality which is processed pretty fast.

What should I do if my salary is different between jobs on an Employment Pass visa in Singapore?

It is very advisable that you wait until the employment pass application for your next job in Singapore is approved by the Ministry of Manpower before you quit your old job. It is not guaranteed that a new employment pass is issued for the next job, especially if the job responsibilities, salary and company size differ significantly with the next employer. If it is larger, higher and more comprehensive you usually don’t have a problem. Much more if it is the other way around.
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