An Overview of Singapore Work Passes

WLP Group

Singapore has been consistently ranked among the top on the ranking for investor-friendly countries. Partly due to its status as a first-world country, it becomes the ideal business and commercial hub in Southeast Asia. If you are a foreigner keen on immigrating here for work or register a private limited company in Singapore, you will need to attain a work pass. There are various types of work pass and permit schemes for foreign working professionals, entrepreneurs, and employees so you need to make sure that you apply for the correct one.

In addition, as an entrepreneur, you will also need accounting and payroll services in Singapore. Payroll services are a crucial part of any new business, and understanding the types of work passes and how they affect the payroll of employees is the first step in managing your human resources. This guide will be very helpful for you in checking what type of work pass will best suit your employees.

Work Pass and Permit Schemes

Employment Pass (EP)

Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of work permit meant for foreign professionals, managers, and executives who will be working in Singapore. Applicants must earn at least S$3600 a month with acceptable qualifications for fresh graduates while higher salaries are required for more senior and experienced applicants. However, there is no official quota system limiting the number of EPs that can be issued.

  • Validity: For the first-time candidates, EP is valid up to 2 years and renewable as long as the applicant is employed.
  • Eligibility: Works in a managerial, executive or specialized job
  • Permanent Residence Eligibility: EP holders are eligible to apply for PR

To file for EP application, there are two ways which are either to register online or through manual applications. Nevertheless, online registrations usually processed within 3 weeks from the date of submission and manual applications processed within 8 weeks from the date of submissions which allows for the attachment of all supporting documents. The overall processing time of your application may vary by several days or weeks due to reasons such as the credentials of the employing Singapore company, qualifications of the applicant, and the availability of supporting documents.

In general, we would advise that you apply for your EP online. The process is much quicker and it can be done overseas until you have received a notice to enter Singapore to collect a physical Employment Pass. If you are setting up a local company as a branch, this will likely be your work pass.

Special Pass

The S Pass is for the mid-skilled employees who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least  $2300 a month. S Pass applicants are assessed based on the employer’s quota eligibility and qualifications. A degree or diploma may be considered as technical certificates for example courses for qualified technicians or specialists for at least 1 year of full-time study.

  • Validity: For the first-time candidates, the S Pass will usually valid up to 2 years at the discretion of authorities and renewable as long as the applicant continues to be employed.
  • Eligibility: Mid-level staff
  • Permanent Residence Eligibility: S Pass holders are eligible to apply for PR. The application will be assessed based on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) PR criteria.

To file for S Pass application, an employer or authorized third party has to apply for the applicant’s S Pass. 

Work Permit

Working Permit (WP) is for semi-skilled foreign workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sector. WP holder fixed monthly salary of at least $3600 depending on their working experience.

  • Validity: For the first-time candidates, the permit will usually valid up to  2 years and renewable up to 6 months before the pass expires as long as the applicants continue to be employed.
  • Eligibility: Semi-skilled foreign workers 
  • Permanent Residence Eligibility: WP holders are not eligible to apply for PR.

Contact us

WLP group has many years of experience in helping foreigners immigrate successfully into Singapore, and can help you obtain work permits for your employees. As work pass specialists, we can provide professional advice on the most hassle-free and fastest way for you to obtain a work pass. Contact us today to consult on your work pass eligibility.

In addition, if you are looking for expert payroll services in Singapore, contact us for professional payroll outsourcing in Singapore and queries on HR whenever needed.