In this article, you will learn about the Singapore Employment Pass (EP), a work visa developed for executives, managers, specialists, and professionals. This article highlights the EP eligibility requirements, approval criteria, application process, and timeline.
What is a Singapore Employment Pass?
The Singapore Employment Pass (also known as an EP) is a type of work visa in Singapore designed for executives, managers, specialists, and professionals who wish to conduct business in Singapore. Singapore’s MOM (Ministry of Manpower) also permits entrepreneurs to apply for an EP once they have incorporated a company in Singapore. This allows entrepreneurs to relocate to Singapore, as a means of running a company’s operations.
A Singapore Employment Pass can be applied to the following:
What is needed before applying for an Employment Pass?
Employment Pass applications are thoroughly assessed by Singapore’s MOM and consider a number of factors. These factors include an applicant’s work experience, qualifications, job scope, economic contribution, and employer track record. Applicants are also assessed on their ability to complement Singapore’s local workforce. Before obtaining an EP, applicants must possess at least one of the following:
In certain cases, an absence of recognized educational qualifications does not mean that an application will be automatically rejected. An applicant may be granted an EP if they can demonstrate additional factors in their application, including:
It is important to note that recognized educational qualifications do not guarantee an EP being granted.
Employment Pass eligibility
Those wishing to obtain an EP must earn a minimum of S$4,500 per month (in addition to the above criteria). Applicants in the financial sector need to earn at least S$5,000 per month. For older applicants, they should be earning a higher salary that aligns with their work experience.
Employment Pass application procedure and timeline
All EP applications are submitted and assessed by Singapore’s MOM. Applicants have the choice to submit applications either online or manually.
Online applications need to be submitted with the required supporting documents, and typically take three or more weeks to process.
Those with supporting documents (i.e. writing samples, employer testimonials, etc) highlighting other merits are encouraged to submit their application manually. The time it takes to process a manual application is at least five weeks, although this can be longer during peak periods.
Who should apply for an Employment Pass online?
Who should apply for an Employment Pass manually?
Job Bank requirements
For companies seeking to hire Employment Pass holders, Singapore’s MOM stipulates they first advertise the position in the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s Job Bank. However, there are some exemptions that apply, including:
Required documents for Employment Pass submission
When submitting an Employment Pass application, we request the following documents:
Please Note: Documents not in English must be translated into English by an official translation provider.
Employment Pass submission and timeline
New Horizons electronically submits your EP application to Singapore’s MOM. By submitting your application electronically, this ensures you receive an outcome sooner.
It typically takes three weeks or longer for MOM to process an application. Once receiving an In-Principle Approval Letter (known as an IPA), New Horizons arranges for the collection of your EP.
Please Note: For entrepreneurs, EP applications can only be lodged after your company has been incorporated. However, you do not need to be present in Singapore during the processing of an application.
Approval and collection of an Employment Pass
Upon the approval of an application, Singapore’s MOM issues an In-Principle Approval Letter (IPA) to the applicant. When collecting the EP at the Work Pass Division of MOM, the IPA letter must be produced. IPA letters are valid for a period of six months, from the date of notification of approval.
When collecting an EP, all persons must present the following:
For applicants that need to produce a medical exam report, this can be done in either their home country or Singapore. The advantage of having this done in Singapore is that most clinics offer medical examinations and reports within one day.
Employment Pass validity
The validity of an EP is set out as follows:
Entry Visa to Singapore
For anyone overseas who requires an entry visa into Singapore, their IPA letter features a single journey entry visa.
Once arriving in Singapore, New Horizons can schedule an appointment with Singapore’s MOM on your behalf. This is typically needed for finger printing. Once these procedures are finalized, your EP is available in four working days.
Passes can be collected in person at MOM. Alternatively, you can authorize a member of New Horizons’ team to collect the pass on your behalf.
What happens if an EP application is denied?
There may be occasional circumstances where an individual’s EP application is denied. If this occurs, New Horizons can investigate further on your behalf. Based on the reasons outlined by Singapore’s MOM, we can submit an appeal. This will address those issues outlined, as well as separate documents that may be requested.
Appeal reviews take at least three weeks to be finalized by MOM.
Change of Employer
All holders of an EP must apply for a new pass whenever they change employers. When applying for a new pass, holders are not required to first cancel their existing pass. Applications are assessed by MOM and consider an applicant’s work experience, qualifications, and employer credentials. A new EP will then be issued once an existing pass is canceled.
Renewing an Employment Pass
Two months prior to the expiration of an EP, MOM will mail an EP Renewal Form to the employer’s address. Holders are advised to submit the renewal application at least four weeks before the EP is due to expire. Upon approval, the employer will receive a letter of notification outlining when the new pass can be collected from MOM.
Relocation with family members
EP holders may apply for a Dependant’s Pass (DP) and/or a Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP) for their immediate family members, so long as they meet certain conditions. It is important to note that a separate DP application should be made for every family member. Applications may be submitted on their own or together with the EP application.
EP holders earning a minimum of S$6,000 per month can apply for a DP for their:
A DP holder’s spouse is legally entitled to work in Singapore. However, their prospective employer must apply for a Letter of Consent (LOC) with MOM before the commencement of work.
Long-Term Visit Pass
For individuals earning between S$6,000 and S$12,000 per month, they can apply for a LTVP for their:
For individuals earning S$12,000 or more per month, they can apply for an LTVP for their:
Processing Work Visas
New Horizons is a licensed employment agency registered with Singapore’s MOM. We’re able to facilitate the placement of employees for local employers. Additionally, we can represent both employees and employers in the official submission of work pass applications.
When engaging New Horizons for your work visa services, you benefit from one dedicated specialist. This specialist will assist you by reviewing your candidacy, liaising with MOM on your behalf, applying for your work pass, processing renewals and appeals, and monitoring your application.
Long-term options after obtaining an Employment Pass
After an Employment Pass has been obtained, those seeking a longer term stay in Singapore have two options. These options are outlined below:
For holders of the EP, they may apply for Singapore Permanent Residency through the Professional, Technical Personnel & Skilled Workers scheme (also known as the PTS). Those wishing to apply for Permanent Residency should wait at least six months before making an application. This is so they can provide the required six month’s salary.
Personalised Employment Pass
Eligible EP holders and those deemed as ‘gold collar’ professionals can also apply for a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). The PEP is a type of work visa that is issued to top-tier individuals and based on a set of their own merits. This pass is independent of any employer and as such, holders may switch employers without affecting the status of a pass.
How New Horizons can help
As a licensed employment agency registered with Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), New Horizons provides a full range of employment solutions, including work pass services. Our team possess an in-depth understanding of Singapore’s immigration laws and business landscape; and have assisted thousands of clients to secure their Employment Pass approval. We are proud to be the region’s leader in global hiring solutions; and are renowned for supporting professionals, entrepreneurs, and companies to successfully grow their Singapore operations.
With the support of our Global PEO, we enable businesses to quickly and compliantly begin trading in Singapore, without the burden of establishing costly entities or foreign subsidiaries. This allows businesses to go to market in a matter of days and has the potential to save them up to 85% in traditional expansion costs. Through our Global PEO, we oversee your company’s recruitment, onboarding, global payroll, and tax and legal compliance.
If you’d like to know more about any of our employment solutions, contact a member of our team today.