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Singapore Employment Pass Guide


Singapore Employment Pass is a work visa for foreign professionals in specialist positions. It is granted to the individuals with college degrees from recognized universities and having fixed monthly salary equal to or more than S$3,600 and professional experience. There are three types of Employment Passes, P1, P2, and Q1.

It is the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that issues employment visas to working professionals and entrepreneurs. The employer or the appointed employment agent apply to MOM to get this pass for their employees. The foreign professionals seeking employment in Singapore cannot apply and acquire an employment pass for themselves.

The Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of work visa, provided by the Singapore government to the skilled professionals, executives, managers, owners, and directors who wish to take specialized jobs in Singapore. In this document, Employment Pass is also referred to as employment visa and EP.


EP Doesn’t Allow You To Be The Director of Your Singapore Company

After receiving your EP, you are expected to work exclusively for your employer. It means you cannot work for any other company including your own. As you know, you can start a company in Singapore and be its shareholder, but, you cannot act as its director. You should get EntrePass to work for your own Singapore Company.

If you already own a newly incorporated company with 30% of shareholding, you should apply for an Entrepreneur Pass which will allow you to work as its director. You are required to apply for an EP for every foreign employee that you recruit.

This blog will describe in detail the eligibility criteria, EP application process, approval time, and other relevant information about the Singapore Employment Pass.


Who is Eligible for Singapore Employment Pass?

If you hold an offer from a Singapore company and you are interested in working there, you must meet certain basic requirements in order to obtain an EP.

  • Your fixed monthly salary should be equal to or in excess of S$3,600.
  • You should hold a three-level passed degree from a reputed university.
  • You should have the relevant skill set and professional experience.
  • In some cases, if a person lacks higher education, it can be compensated by a strong professional experience and a hefty salary.

There is no quota fixed for awarding EP visas. MOM takes into account the credentials of the employer and the candidate while issuing employment passes.


Types of Employment Pass – P1, P2, and Q1

There are three types of Employment Passes – P1, P2, and Q1 with Q1 being the lowest category.

Pass TypeEligibility Criteria
  • Your fixed monthly salary is S$8,000 and above per month.
  • You possess the acceptable qualifications.
  • Your fixed monthly salary is S$4,500 and above per month.
  • You possess the acceptable qualifications.
  • You are a young graduate from a reputed institute and you earn at least S$3,600 per month.
  • The older applicants should get higher salaries to qualify. The work experience and work quality will be taken into consideration.


EP Holders and Passes for Their Family

There are no major differences in the P1, P2, & Q1. All the three EP visas allow the holder to bring along their spouse and children. However, the Q1 pass holders do not qualify for Long-Term Social Visit Pass for their significant others.

The Employment Pass holders can apply for Dependant Pass (DP) for their immediate family members such as spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age.

While submitting your EP visa application, you can file the application for DP visa as well. The DP is automatically approved with the approval of EP visa. Both the visas will have a common expiry date.

Application Processing, Approval, & Pass Collection Time

After the successful submission of EP application by the employer, it may take from a few days to a few weeks to get your application processed. It depends on the relevancy of the submitted documents.

MOM sends an email containing In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter to your employer’s company address specified in the application form. You need to collect your Employment Pass from Work Pass Division at Ministry of Manpower by producing the IPA letter.

You need to come to Singapore in order to collect the EP visa if you are not physically present in the country. The IPA letter is valid for six months. Along with the IPA letter, you are required to submit the following documents:

  • A recent passport sized photograph (not older than three months)
  • Original passport with *entry visa card (If you are not present in Singapore)
  • Medical examination report**
  • Any other document requested in the IPA letter

*If you are not present in Singapore to collect your EP visa, you will be issued an entry visa along with your EP visa with the IPA letter to enter Singapore and collect the Employment Pass. The Dependant’s Pass will also be issued with your EP visa if you have applied for it.

**Your IPA letter will state if you need to produce a medical examination report with a list of tests mentioned. You can acquire the medical report from any established medical center in your own country or you can get the medical tests done after arriving in Singapore.

The validity of Employment Pass is up to 2 years for first-time applicants and up to 3 years for renewals. However, it is advisable to not to plan your relocation with family to Singapore until and unless you receive the IPA letter from MOM. Your application is subjected to review and approval from authorities.

How to Handle Employment Pass Rejection

It is not certain that if you will be issued with an EP just by filling and submitting an application. The authority does not approve each & every submitted application. The decisive factors are – qualification, work experience, and credentials of your employer and you.

If the EP application is rejected for the first time, an appeal can be filed after knowing the rejection reasons with MOM. If the requirements are favorably met with the authorities, it is likely to get the EP visa application approved. However, you may have to wait for another two-three weeks to for the process to complete.

How to Renew Employment Pass

You will receive an EP visa renewal form at your employer’s address two months prior to the expiry date of your EP visa. You are required to fill and submit the form to MOM four weeks prior to the expiry date.

Once your renewal application is approved, you will receive an approval letter at your employee company address. You will be required to collect your renewed EP visa from the MOM office.

If you change your company, you need to apply for a new EP visa. You can retain your existing pass while applying for the new one. The same process of evaluating your education, work experience, and employer credentials will be followed for issuing a new EP visa. Once the old pass is canceled, you will be issued with a new Employment Pass.

Well, this is all about Singapore Employment Pass. We are a registered filing agent providing customized solutions to the small businesses in Singapore. If your is hiring foreign workers and if you have Singapore work visa related queries, contact us on +65-6536 0036 or email us at info@sbsgroup.com.sg for more info.

Please feel free to contact us on +65 6536 0036 or drop in an email at info@sbsgroup.com.sg

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