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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.

The Employment Pass is the main type of Singapore work visa. Ministry of Manpower (MOM) issues it to foreign professionals wanting to work in Singapore legally. Singaporean employer or appointed agent or local sponsor applies to MOM to get this pass for the foreign professionals.

Overseas employers without a registered Singapore office, too, can hire foreigners to work in Singapore. They must get one of the local companies to act as a local sponsor on their behalf. This sponsor applies to MOM manually and obtains this pass for the new employee of the overseas employer.


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

MOM has strict requirements for the EP applicants. There are three types of Employment Passes; P1, P2, & Q1. However, foreign professionals, even those having job offers, cannot self-apply for any of them. To qualify for one, they must have:

  • A job offer from a Singapore company
  • Managerial, executive or specialised task-related experience
  • Fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600 (Older and more experienced candidates must earn a higher salary)
  • Education and a degree from a recognised university, acceptable professional qualifications or specialised skills

The job seekers can judge their chances of getting an EP by using a Self-Assessment Tool.


Key Facts of Employment Pass (EP)

  • Qualified professionals of all nationalities can apply for an EP
  • They must have a job offer in Singapore
  • For the first-time applicants, the validity of EP is up to 2 years.
  • Renewals, depending on the case, can be valid for 3 years.

Employment Pass Quota

There is no quota fixed for awarding EP visas. Before approving EP, MOM takes into account the credentials of the employer and the foreign professionals.


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. The foreign professionals applying for an EP must fulfil the eligibility criteria prescribed for the type:

Eligibility Criteria as per Employment Pass Types

P1 Pass
  • Fixed monthly salary is S$8,000 and above per month
  • Acceptable qualifications
P2 Pass
  • Fixed monthly salary is S$4,500 and above per month.
  • Acceptable qualifications.
Q1 Pass
  • A young graduate from a reputed institute and earning at least S$3,600 per month
  • The older applicants should earn higher salaries to qualify
  • The work experience and work quality will be taken into consideration

Personalized Employment Pass (PEP)

PEP is a specialised employment pass for high earning foreign professionals. It offers greater flexibility to the pass holders when it comes to job-hopping.

Eligibility Criterion:
  • Fixed monthly salary overseas was at least $18,000
  • Should have drawn salary within the last 6 months
  • EP holder earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000
Requirements for holding the PEP
  • Not be unemployed for more than 6 months at any time
  • Fixed salary of equal or above $144,000 per calender year


Procedure for EP Application

Requirement to Advertise on Job Bank

Singapore companies need to first post or advertise the vacancy on the Jobs Bank for a minimum of 14 days before filing an application for an EP.

However, there is no need for the company to do so, if:

  • It has 25 or fewer employees.
  • Fixed monthly salary for the position is S$12,000 or more.
  • The job is for the short term, not lasting for more than one month.


Employment Pass Application and Processing

Any Singapore company or an appointed agent wanting to apply for an EP must follow the steps given below:

Step 1. Submit an EP Application Online

Submit an online application on EP Online portal or in a rare case, manually.

  • The EP application fee is S$105 per passengers
  • MOM may take 3 weeks or more to process it
  • Submit manual application by depositing mail at the counter of any SingPost location. These may need 8 weeks or more processing time
  • The mail should contain; required documents filled Employment Pass Application Form

Step 2. MOM’s Approval Letter

MOM sends emails containing In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letters to foreign applicants using EP Online. They have 6 months to come to Singapore and request their EP.

Step 3. Employment Pass Issue

The professionals need to be in Singapore to collect their Employment Pass. It will help if they have submitted following info at EP Online:

  • Their passport details
  • Details of their current Short Term Visit or immigration pass
  • Their residential address in Singapore
  • Local address for EP card delivery
  • Contact details of the authorised recipient (SMS or email)
  • Payment of S$225 per pass
  • $30 per Multiple Journey visa

They need to present the IPA letter and the following documents:

  • Their passport details
  • 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

*The foreign professionals will be issued an entry visa along with their EP visa with the IPA letter to enter Singapore and collect EP. The Dependant’s Pass, if already applied, will be issued with EP visa.

**Their IPA letter will state if they need to produce a medical examination report with a list of tests mentioned. They can acquire the report from any medical centre in their country or in Singapore.

Step 4. EP Notification Letter

If everything is as per the requirements of MOM, EP is issued immediately. The authorities issues notification letter which allows the foreign professionals to work and travel in and out of Singapore. It is valid for 1 month.

Step 5. Finger Prints and Photo

The notification letter may ask them to contact Employment Pass Service to register their fingerprints and photo. They need to go with:

  • Their passport (original)
  • Appointment letter
  • Notification letter
  • Documents mentioned in the IPA & notification letter

Step 6. Receive Employment Pass

The foreign professionals can expect to receive their employment pass within the 4 working days.


How to Handle Employment Pass Rejection

There is no guarantee that an EP will be approved just by filling and submitting an application. If it is rejected for the first time, Singapore employer or the agent can appeal to MOM within 3 months.

The new information in the appeal must address the issues in rejection advisory. It may result in the approval of EP application. However, it means processing time of two-three weeks.


How to Renew Employment Pass

MOM may choose to renew an EP for up to the period of 3 years. Singapore employer or agent must send EP renewal request online to MOM. It can be sent as early as 6 months prior to the expiry date.

The agency must receive it at least 2 weeks before the expiry. If it is not renewed in time, they have to apply for a new EP. After receiving new EP card, the professionals have to send their old one to the MOM.

EP Cancellation

Sometimes, the EP holder stops working for the employer or the EP expires, the employing company or its agent need to apply for cancellation of the holder’s pass within 1 week.

It can be done using EP Online portal. The EP holder gets cancellation acknowledgement letter. They receive a short-term visit pass if they are still in Singapore. All related Dependant Passes, Long Term Visit Passes, LOC and work permits will also be cancelled.

While leaving Singapore, the EP holders need to surrender short term visit pass to immigration. The company must return cancelled EP card to MOM within a week to MOM.

Before cancelling the EP, the company need to get tax clearance from IRAS and pay for EP holder’s return air-fare home.

EP Card Replacement

For the lost or damaged EP card, the company or agent need to apply online for a replacement within 1 week. For a stolen card, a police report needs to be submitted with the application.

If the EP holder is out of Singapore, the company must notify MOM so that it can issue the holder a letter to enter Singapore.

The fees to replace EP Card are as follows:

  • S$60 for the damaged card
  • S$100 for the first lost EP card (S$300 thereafter)

MOM gives instructions, and the EP holder has 4 working days to collect the new card at the Employment Pass Services Centre. They must come with the following documents:

  • Passport (original)
  • Card replacement letter
  • Damaged EP card
  • Declaration form for lost or stolen EP card
  • Police report

EP Holders and Passes for Their Family

There are no major differences in the employee passes P1, P2, & Q1. All 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:

  • A legal spouse
  • Unmarried children below 21 years of age
  • Unmarried step-children below 21 years of age
  • Parents if the EP holder is earning at least S$10,000 per month
  • Police report

The foreign professionals at the time of submitting their EP application should also file the DP applications for their family members. The DP is automatically approved with the approval of EP visa. Both the visas will have a common expiry date.

Well, this is all about the Singapore Employment Pass. We are a registered filing agent providing customized solutions to the small companies in Singapore. If your company is hiring foreign workers and needs work passes for them, 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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