What is a Singapore Employment Pass?
The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a type of work visa that is designed for managers, executives, specialists and other skilled professionals who wish to work in Singapore. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also allows entrepreneurs to apply for an EP after they have incorporated a company in Singapore. This enables them to relocate to Singapore in order to run company operations. There is no official quota for the EP.
Singapore Employment Pass can be applied if you are:
- An entrepreneur, executive or managing director of a Singapore company and wish to relocate to manage your company operations;
- A locally incorporated Singapore company and need to hire an employee from overseas;
- You have an employment offer from a Singapore employer. In this case, your employer will make the EP application on your behalf.
What do you need to have before applying for an Employment Pass (EP)?
All Employment Passes applications are carefully assessed by MOM and on a case-by-case basis. MOM takes into consideration a number of factors such as the applicant’s qualifications, work experience, job scope, economic contribution, employer track record, and ability to complement Singapore’s local workforce. To be considered for an Employment Pass, you must possess one or more of the following:
- A recognized Diploma/Degree qualification
- Professional qualifications (professional or educational)
- Specialist skills
- Relevant work experience
In some instances, an applicant who does not possess recognized educational qualifications may not necessarily be rejected for an EP, if there are other compensating positive factors in favour of his/her application, namely:
- Good job profile, salary, work experience;
- Good employer track record, high company paid-up capital and tax contribution;
- Possess strategic and in-demand skills in sunrise industries.
Conversely, having recognized educational qualifications does not guarantee a successful EP application.
What is the eligibility for an Employment Pass?
In addition to the above, a candidate must earn at least $4,500 a month (with effect from 1 September 2020) to qualify for an EP. Older applicants will have to command a higher salary that is commensurate with the work experience and quality they are expected to bring.
Also, with effect from 1 December 2020, new EP applicants in the financial sector will need to earn at least $5,000 a month. For EP renewals, the new criteria will take effect from 1 May 2021.
Related topics: Employment Pass for Foreign Professionals »
Application Procedure and Timeline
Employment Pass applications must be submitted to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Applications may be filed online or manually.
Online applications require the uploading of relevant supporting documents. Approximately 80% of applications via this route take 3 weeks or longer to process.
Manual applications are preferred by applicants whose supporting documents (eg. testimonials from previous employers, writing samples etc.) highlight other merits. The processing time for this route takes at least five weeks from the date of receipt of the application. The duration may lengthen during peak periods or when the case requires further input from various economic agencies.
Who should apply for an EP online?
- Applicants who received their tertiary education and graduated from reputable universities;
- Applicants who have amassed significant experience or are subject matter experts in their fields;
- Have attained higher-level certification in their qualifications e.g. ACCA, ACIA, CFA, MBA etc;
- Applicants who have had significant working experience;
- Applicants who are eminent in their respective industry or vocation and can contribute to Singapore’s international prominence in that industry, especially if that field has been highlighted in government policy as being key for economic development.
Who should apply for an EP manually?
- Young, inexperienced applicants who have had substantial co-curricular/leadership experience;
- Nationals of emerging economies with unsubstantial university education but with desirable qualities;
- Applicants with little to no formal education but have extensive informal vocational experience in key industries, the evidence of which can be furnished in the form of written testimonials, completed projects, portfolios etc.
Jobs Bank Requirement
The Ministry of Manpower requires companies that wish to hire Employment Pass Holders to first advertise the relevant position in the Singapore Workforce Development Agency’s Jobs Bank. However, certain exceptions apply.
The following are exempted:
- Jobs in firms with less than 10 employees
- Jobs that pay more than $15,000 per month
- Intra-corporate transferees (i.e. candidates holding senior positions/professionals with the advanced level of expertise)
- Short-term positions (less than 1 month)
What are the Documents Required for submission of an Employment Pass?
We require the following documents for submission of an Employment Pass application:
- An updated resume or CV stating your educational and employment history
- Copies of educational certificates and past employment testimonials
- A copy of the personal particulars page of your passport
* Any documents that are not in English must be translated into English by an official translation service.
What is the submission and timeline for Employment Pass
Unless your case demands so, Rikvin submits all Employment Pass (EP) applications electronically to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) so that you can learn of your application outcome sooner.
- It takes MOM around 3 weeks or longer to process the application.
- Upon receiving the In-principle Approval (IPA) notification, we will make arrangements for the collection of your EP.
*Note for entrepreneurs
The EP application can only be done once your company has been incorporated. It is not necessary to be physically present in Singapore while the application is being processed.
Approval and Collection
Once the application is approved, the Ministry of Manpower will issue an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter via email. The IPA letter must be produced upon collection of the EP at the Work Pass Division at the Ministry of Manpower. An IPA letter is valid for six months from the date of notification of approval.
To collect your EP you will be required to present:
- A copy of the IPA letter
- A recent passport-sized photograph
- Original passport with the entry embarkation cards
- Medical exam report* (if the In-Principle Approval states that you require one)
- Any other documents that are requested in the approval letter
* You may have a medical examination done in your own country through an established clinic/hospital or in Singapore. Most clinics in Singapore provide medical examination and report within a day.
The validity of an Employment Pass
The validity of an EP varies and are as follows:
- First-time applicants – up to 2 years
- EP renewals – up to 3 years
Entry Visa into Singapore
If you are overseas and require an entry visa to Singapore, your IPA letter will include a single journey entry visa. Upon your arrival in Singapore, we will make an appointment with the Ministry of Manpower on your behalf for fingerprinting. Once the procedures have been completed, your pass will be ready in 4 working days. You may collect the pass at MOM personally or authorize Rikvin to collect it on your behalf.
What happens if your application is rejected?
In the event that your EP application is rejected by the authority, we will investigate why the outcome was so. Based on the reasons provided by MOM, we will then establish a firm appeal in your defense, addressing the issues raised and providing documents per request, if any.
Please note that it may take three weeks or more to process an appeal, depending on the complexity of the case. Our fees include one free appeal in the event that your initial application is unsuccessful.
Change of Employer
EP holders must apply for a new pass whenever they change employers. There is no need to cancel the existing pass prior to application for a new pass. MOM evaluates each application for a new pass based on the applicant’s qualifications, work experience, and employer credentials. A new pass will be issued once the old pass is canceled.
When and how to renew an Employment Pass
MOM will mail an EP Renewal Form to your employer’s address two months before your EP expires. You should submit the renewal application at least four weeks prior to the expiration of your EP. Once approved, your employer will receive a letter of notification when the new pass is ready for collection at the Ministry of Manpower.
How do EP holders relocate with family members?
All EP holders can apply for Dependant’s Pass and/or Long-Term Visit Pass for their immediate family members if they meet certain conditions. A separate Dependant’s Pass application should be made for every family member. The application can be submitted together with the EP application or separately.
Dependant’s Pass (DP)
Singapore EP holders earning S$6,000 or more a month can apply for Dependant’s Passes for their:
- Spouse (legally married)
- Unmarried children under 21 years of age, including legally adopted children
As a DP holder, your spouse may legally work in Singapore. However, his/her prospective employer is required to apply for a Letter of Consent (LOC) with MOM before he/she commences work. (Note: Not eligible for S Pass holders)
Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP)
Those earning S$6,000 – $12,000 a month and above may apply for Long-Term Visit Pass for their:
- Common-law spouse
- Unmarried handicapped children above 21 years of age
- Unmarried step-children under 21 years of age
Those earning S$12,000 or more a month and above may apply for Long-Term Visit Pass for their:
- Common-law spouse
- Unmarried handicapped children above 21 years of age
- Unmarried step-children under 21 years of age
Work Visa Processing Services
Rikvin is a licensed employment agency registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The license enables us to facilitate in the placement of employees for a local employer and represent employers or employees in the official submission of work pass applications.
When you engage us for work visa services, you need only liaise with one specialist. Your specialist will help review your candidacy, act as a liaison with MOM, apply for your work pass, and process renewals as well as appeals and track your application.
Longer-term options after obtaining the EP
There are two options for a longer-term stay in Singapore after obtaining your Employment Pass. They are as follows:
Employment pass holders are eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residence through the Professional, Technical & Skilled Workers (PTS) scheme. There is no designated waiting period but one of the documents required for PR application is six months of salary record. Hence, it is advisable for EP holders to wait for at least six months prior to application.
Personalised Employment Pass
Eligible EP holders and gold collar professionals may also apply for the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP). The PEP is a special type of Employment Pass issued to top-tier individuals based on their merits. It is independent of any employer; hence its holder can switch employers without affecting the status of the pass. For more details, please refer to our Guide on the Singapore Personalised Employment Pass.
Related topic: Work Permit Application Service Package »
FAQ for Singapore Employment Pass (EP)
- The minimum salary for an Employment Pass in Singapore from 1 September 2020 is $4,500 per month. From 1 December 2020, in the financial sector, the minimum salary for EP applicants will be $5,000 per month. As well as this proof of your earnings, you will need to show:
- You have a job offer from an approved company in Singapore.
- You will be in a managerial, executive, or specialised role.
- You have the relevant qualifications for your role.
Singapore’s Employment Pass prefers younger applicants who have graduated from good educational institutions. If you don’t strictly meet all of the criteria, you may still qualify for a Singapore Employment Pass, but you would need to have a higher salary and position.
- Compared to some other countries, no, it is not too difficult to get an Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore. The most important thing is that you bring value to the greater Singapore economy by meeting the following criteria:
- To have a job offer from an approved employer in Singapore.
- To be in a managerial, executive, or specialist role.
- To have relevant qualifications in your field.
- To prove that you earn a minimum of $4,500 per month (with effect from 1 September 2020) and $5,000 per month if you are in the financial sector (with effect from 1 December 2020)
- Singapore offers a number of working visas that are tailored to your skillset. The main types of work pass in Singapore are:
- The Singapore Work Pass for Foreign Workers is for semi-skilled or unskilled employees, like labourers, dock workers etc.
- The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is for foreign professionals looking to work in Singapore. It is generally for managers, executives, or other high-level workers.
- The Singapore S Pass is for mid-skilled/blue collar workers e.g. technicians.
- The Singapore Entrepreneur Pass is foreign entrepreneurs that already own their own business, and would like to relocate it to Singapore.
- The Singapore Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a work visa for exceptional, top-tier executives, e.g. CEO, CFO, CTO.
If you’d like to find out more about applying for a Singapore business visa, you can see all the types of Singapore Immigration and business work visas available.
- While it entirely depends on your lifestyle, $8,000 a month should be a comfortable salary in Singapore. The average salary in Singapore is $67,152, or about $5,596 per month. For reference, the minimum salaries required for each of the main Singapore working visas are:
- The Singapore Work pass for Foreign Workers is a visa for semi-skilled or unskilled employees. There is no minimum salary required for the Singapore Work Pass.
- The Singapore S Pass is a visa for foreign, mid-skilled workers such as technicians. There is a minimum salary of $2,500 per month (with effect from 1 October 2020) for the Singapore S Pass visa.
- The Singapore Employment Pass is a visa for foreign professionals. There is a minimum salary of $4,500 per month for the Singapore Employment Pass visa.
- The Singapore Entrepreneur Pass is a visa for foreign business owners who wish to relocate their business to Singapore. There is no minimum salary for the Singapore Entrepreneur Pass visa, however you will need to have capital of at least $50,000.
- The Singapore Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a visa for foreign, top-tier executives. There is a minimum salary of $18,000 per month for the Singapore Personalised Employment Pass visa.
To find out more about living in Singapore, check out our Relocation Guide for Immigrants in Singapore. We’d also recommend you check out our Simple Singapore Working Visa Guide to find out what kind of visa you need to live and work in Singapore.
- An online application for an Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore usually takes around 3 weeks to be approved. If your application is a bit more complicated, you will need to make a manual application, which may take 3 to 6 weeks to be approved. To help make sure your EP application is approved as quickly as possible, please keep in mind:
- You should use a registered local service provider to help you with your Singapore Employment Pass application. That way you can be assured you have all the right paperwork in order.
- The company you have been employed by must already be incorporated in Singapore.
- If your Singapore Employment Pass is approved, there may still be some paperwork you will need to do. This extra paperwork should only take 1 or 2 days.
- It usually takes about 3 -6 weeks to process an appeal for renewal for your Singapore Work Pass/Visa. If you’d like to know more about appealing or renewing your Singapore Work Pass/Visa, you can check out our Singapore Work Pass Rejections and Appeals page.
- No. There is no quota for Employment Passes in Singapore.
Don't leave your Employment Pass application to chance
We are a licensed employment agency registered with the Ministry of Manpower and offer a full spectrum of work pass services.