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A Guide to Employment Passes (EP) in Singapore

Our clients frequently ask us questions about Employment Passes for their employees in Singapore, especially the eligibility requirements which have changed due to tightening immigration laws.  Our in-country experts are able provide us with updates on any changes in legislation in Singapore, so we’re able to advise our clients on how to file for and obtain an Employment Pass for their staff on assignment compliantly and accurately.

Recently, one of our clients was seeking renewal of Employment Passes for two of their staff and asked for an overview of the entire process and chances of a renewal under the new EP criteria.

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Types of Employment Passes in Singapore

All foreigners on assignment will need one of the available work passes in order to earn income in Singapore. Citizens and permanent residents do not need a work pass, but we ask that any resident employee provide evidence of this to our local employer of record to avoid any issues.

There are three types of passes that allow a foreigner to work in Singapore:

  • Employment Pass
  • S-Pass
  • Letter of Consent – (for spouses of current EP holders)

Eligibility Requirements

The eligibility requirements have been shifting as Singapore (like many developed economies) is restricting immigration and work permits to protect jobs for its own citizens.  Even renewals of an EP will require all the qualifications be met, although it may be easier to obtain a renewal than an initial EP.

Who Needs an Employment Pass?

The basic eligibility and qualifications for an EP are as follows:

  • The candidate has a job offer in Singapore
  • They have a managerial, executive or specialized position
  • They will earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3600 (a higher salary may be required more experienced professionals)
  • They meet the qualifications for an EP such as a university degree, professional qualification or specialized skills.

What Documents Do You Need for an Employment Pass?

  • Copy of Worker’s Passport
  • EP Application Form 8 endorsed by employer
  • Company Registered Business Profile
  • Detailed job description that matches the applicants work experience and skills
  • Copy of Worker’s Resume and Educational Certificates or Degrees

How Do I File and How Long Will It Take to Process an Employment Pass Application?

This is a common question by HR departments trying to plan the start date of an assignment, and the time it takes depends on how you apply.  Companies can file either online if they have an EP registered account, or manually.  For online applications processing takes up to three weeks, and manual applications can take as long as 8 weeks.

How Long is an Employment Pass Valid for?

For first time candidates an EP is valid for up to two years, and renewals are valid for up to three years.  However, there is no guarantee that the entire validity period will be approved, and it could be less.  Unfortunately, you don’t find out how long the EP is valid until the approval comes through, so we could not give our client a definitive answer on their employees’ renewals or period of validity.

The Shield GEO Solution

Immigration is an ongoing challenge for our clients employing internationally, and we rely on our local partners and in country experts to keep current on immigration rules and criteria.  Because our partners are already familiar with work permits and visas they can give us up to date information, and our clients can obtain work permits for their staff in the shortest time possible.

We offer simple international employment solutions in 90 different countries, ensuring quick deployment of staff and compliance with all immigration, payroll and labor laws.

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