Employment Pass Singapore: Planning your international workforce around growth?
Singapore’s Employment Pass. What you need to know!
Singapore’s thriving economy and central location makes it ideal for businesses who want to break into the Southeast Asian market.
However, moving your executives there, or sourcing or hiring staff, can be problematic. The red tape and plethora of rules and regulations surrounding Singapore’s immigration policy are enough to stare down any budding entrepreneur hell bent on Asian expansion.
That’s why so many businesses and workers apply for a Singapore Employment Pass (EP), a streamlined work visa scheme designed for foreign professionals with specialised skills, managers, and company directors who want to work and live in Singapore.
Some key facts about Singapore’s Employment Pass
- An Employment Pass that allows the holder to live and work in Singapore as an employee of a sponsoring Singapore company.
- The EP application must be filed by the sponsoring company or the authorized corporate service provider with an Employment Agency License.
- The candidate must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$4,500 per month, with more experienced candidates requiring a higher salary.
- The Employment Pass holder’s salary will be subject to personal tax in Singapore.
- First-time candidates can receive an EP that is 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.
- Due to COVID-19 circumstances, all visa applications are taking longer than usual and facing more scrutiny including EP applications. The authorities want to make sure there is a strong justification for the person to be in Singapore and all efforts are made to find a local person first.
Eligibility criteria for the EP is quite specific and restricted to:
- Entrepreneurs or Managing Directors of a Singaporean company who wish to relocate to manage company operations
- Locally-incorporated Singaporean companies that need to hire non-local talent
- Foreign individuals with an employment offer from a Singaporean employer. In this scenario, the employer will be responsible for applying for the EP on the employee’s behalf
For any relevant vacant positions, companies must also consider all candidates fairly and are required to advertise job openings on MyCareersFuture for 28 days. The Fair Considerations Framework (FCF) lays out requirements for all employers in Singapore to guide their candidate evaluation process, and any discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender, nationality, or race is strictly prohibited.
A three week application process
The employer applies for the Singapore employment pass before the candidate comes to Singapore. They can apply for an employment pass online. It usually takes three weeks for online applications to be processed, potentially up to eight weeks for companies without a Singapore-registered office.
To apply for a Singapore employment pass, you will need the following documents:
- Personal particular page of the applicant’s passport
- Company’s updated profile or information registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
- Candidate’s educational credentials
The documents required for a Singapore employment pass may vary depending on the employee’s nationality. For example, additional documents are required for candidates from India and China.
What can you do if your application is rejected?
There is a three month period to appeal a rejected Singapore employment pass application, but companies are encouraged to appeal only if you can directly address the issues for which you have been rejected.
Your company and Singapore’s immigration policy
In addition to the candidate’s qualifications, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will also evaluate the company applying for the EP. In examining a company’s contributions to the Singapore economy and workforce, MOM will consider the following:
- How the company can affect the candidate’s chances
- What portion of the company’s staff is Singaporean compared to the industry average?
- Has the company shown a commitment to hiring and developing Singaporean talent?
- To what extent does the company contribute to the Singapore economy and society?
Yet the Singapore Employment Pass is only one of multiple options the country’s business-friendly government offers to companies wishing to bring in international talent to live and work in Singapore.
For many, hiring talent through an Employer of Record (EOR) is also an attractive option.
What is an Employer of Record?
The EoR (Employer of Record) is essentially a company that takes on all the legal responsibilities of employing staff on behalf of your organization.
Officially the employee will be registered as an employee of the EOR, however he or she will carry out the duties as if he were registered under your enterprise.
The EoR service is a great solution if:
- You don’t have a local entity set up already
- Your company is just testing out a new foreign market
- Compliance and cost are major factors for your HR strategy
- You want to have global access to recruit top talent
- Managing risk is a priority
For more information about which solution might be right for you, don’t hesitate to contact CXC Global. With a well-established presence in Singapore, we are well placed to assist companies manage all their Singapore workforce requirements.
For more information about working visas, the EP and Singapore’s range of employment passes, please visit Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits). Please note CXC EP services are subject to terms and conditions.