Guide on Singapore Employment Pass

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If you have been thinking about moving to Singapore for work, among the various questions that you need to answer before making the move revolves around having an Employment Pass. The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) acts as a work visa that allows foreign professionals to work in the city-state in certain specialized, managerial or executive positions.

It is important to note that the EP is for individuals (employees) and not for your business. If you are have already set up a business in Singapore, and you want to bring your employees from abroad, you must help them apply for it since it’s the valid pass for foreigners to work in Singapore.   

Key Facts about the Employment Pass

Applied online via the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website, which reduces the processing time remarkably, the Employment Pass allows foreign talents with professional backgrounds to be employed in Singapore. The following are other key facts:

  • An employer or authorised agent applies an EP for the candidate.
  • First-time candidates can receive an EP valid for up to 2 years.
  • Renewals can be valid up to 3 years.
  • Eligible EP holders can bring family members into Singapore on a Dependant Pass or Long Term Visit Pass.

Eligibility Requirements

The Ministry of Manpower has provided a free Self-Assessment Tool to examine a candidate’s eligibility for the EPs. Your employer or agent will apply if the results show that you don’t qualify.

To be considered eligible for an Employment Pass, candidates must fulfil one or more of the following:

  • A job offer in Singapore
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD$3,600
  • Acceptable educational qualifications, professional qualifications or specialist skills
  • Related work experience such as managerial, executive or specialised job.

Along with the candidate’s qualifications, MOM will also assess your employer to ascertain the extent to which the company contributes to the Singapore economy and workforce. Answers to the following questions will be considered:

  • How does the company affect the candidate’s chances?
  • Is the company committed to hiring and developing Singaporean talent?
  • To what extent does the company contribute to the Singapore economy and society?
  • What portion of the company’s staff is Singaporean compared to the industry average?

Employment Pass (EP) Online

With the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index consistently ranking Singapore as one of the leading countries that makes it easy for foreigners to conduct business locally, it is important to note that the e-service called EP Online is a key contributing factor.

EP Online is a portal for employers and employment agencies to carry out EP transactions. Foreigners can execute the following transactions using EP Online:

  • New EP application
  • Family passes for the EP holders
  • Permission to work for family pass holders (a.k.a. the Letter of Consent)
  • Renew any of the above three
  • Check the application status
  • Appeal EP rejections
  • EP cancellation

Required Documents for the EP Application

To increase your chances of successfully applying for an EP, MOM requires a duly completed application form along with clear photocopies of the following documents:

  • The personal particulars page of the candidate’s passport;
  • The candidate’s educational certificates e.g. degree certificate, transcripts and Certificate of Graduation;
  • Employer’s most recent ACRA business profile;
  • The candidates’ written consent allowing the employer or agent to apply the EP; and
  • Additional documents that MOM may request.

It is important to note that all the above documents must be in English. If any document is written in a foreign language, an English translation and a copy of the original document is required. Official English translation service providers include a notary public or High Commission or Embassy.

Procedure for Application

Your employer or a registered employment agent must complete the following steps to apply for an Employment Pass:

Step One: Submit an Application

Most applications are usually submitted online. However, if the foreign company does not have a registered office in Singapore, it must hire a local sponsor to manually apply through the mail.

  • Online applications take at least 3 weeks to process
  • Manual applications must be submitted at a SingPost location and takes at least 8 weeks.

The fee for both online and manual applications is SGD$70.

Step Two: Receipt of Approval Letter from MOM

If the application is approved, MOM will send an in-principle approval letter (IPA). Applicants will receive the IPA through EP Online. Once the IPA has been received, the candidate will be given 6 months to enter Singapore and request the issuance of the EP.

Step Three: Issuance of Employment Pass

Once the candidates enter Singapore, they can request for the issuance of the EP through their employers or employment agents. They must use EP Online to submit the following documents:

  • The candidate’s passport details
  • The details of the candidate’s current Short Term Visit Pass or immigration pass
  • The candidate’s residential address in Singapore
  • The local address where the EP card can be delivered
  • Contact details of an authorised recipient to receive SMS or email alerts with delivery details
  • Payment of SGD$150

Some Additional documents may be required in certain cases. These include:

  • A Disembarkation/Embarkation card (immigration white card)
  • A completed medical examination form or health declaration form
  • A completed declaration form attached with the candidate’s in-principle approval letter

The EP will be issued as soon as the above documents are submitted.  

Step Four: Receipt of a Notification Letter

A notification letter will be issued to the candidate once the EP is issued.

The notification letter has a one-month validity and permits the candidate to work and travel in and out of Singapore. Furthermore, it will state if candidates should have their photo taken and fingerprints registered.

Step Five: Registration of Fingerprints and Photo Taking (if necessary).

If you are a new candidate or you last registered over 5 years ago, you are required to avail yourself to the Employment Pass Services Centre for photo taking and registration of fingerprints within two weeks of EP issuance. You also need to carry the following documents:

  • Original passport
  • Appointment letter
  • Notification letter
  • Documents listed in the IPA letter and notification letter

Step Six: Receipt of Your Employment Pass Card.

Within 4 working days, the candidate will receive the EP card.

How Can We Help?

If you are looking forward to working in Singapore, eliminate the stress from your Singapore Employment Pass application by contacting Tianlong Services. You can engage us for immigration, recruitment and work-related visa services as our dedicated specialists will attend to every step of your EP application thoroughly.

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