As one of the world’s strongest economies and most important financial hubs, Singapore is a highly sought after place for workers and new businesses. To work in Singapore, foreign professional workers must obtain a Singapore Employment Pass (EP). The EP has been prominent in the news recently since Singapore’s Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong announced that the minimum qualifying salary for new EP applicants will be raised from the current $4,500 to $5,000 in September this year.
In this article, we will answer all your questions about the criteria and process of applying for Singapore’s Employment Pass.
What is an Employment Pass?
The Singapore Employment Pass is the work visa that must be obtained by foreign nationals in order to work in Singapore. The EP is issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and allows foreign employees to work in professional roles such as directors, managers or business owners. Further to this, the EP allows foreign nationals working in Singapore to freely live and travel in and out of the city-state without having to apply for a new entry visa. The EP is typically valid for one to two years and may be renewed for up to three years. EP holders are also eligible to apply for Singapore Permanent Residency (SPR).
What are the requirements to apply for an Employment Pass?
The EP application is subject to a number of eligibility requirements. The MOM requires foreign workers applying for the EP to have a legal job offer in Singapore, either of a particular role, a managerial position, or an executive position. EP applicants must have proven qualifications such as a university degree or other satisfactory professional qualifications or specialised skills.
New graduate candidates must receive a monthly minimum salary of $4,500. As mentioned above, the minimum salary for EP holders will be raised to $5,000 in September 2022. EP applicants with higher experience levels are likely to earn higher wages than the minimum monthly salary. Work permit holders may also apply for an EP given that they upgrade their work visa to the S Pass. Furthermore, S Pass holders are eligible to upgrade their work visa to en EP given that they meet the minimum salary requirements for the EP application process.
MOM has created a self assessment tool that can be used as a general guideline for understanding an EP applicant’s eligibility. Candidates are evaluated individually based on the specialised skill set that they can offer to Singapore’s economy and job market. This means that a qualification alone does not necessarily guarantee a candidate’s eligibility for the EP.
MOM also evaluates the Singaporean company associated with the EP you are applying for. The company must meet a number of criteria and regulations in order to legally employ foreign employees. MOM will thus verify the percentage of Singaporean staff in the company compared to the industry average, the company’s commitment to hiring and supporting Singaporean talent, and the company’s contribution to Singapore’s economy.
What documents should be submitted when applying for an Employment Pass?
MOM requires the following documents to be submitted when applying for the EP:
- Completed EP application form with an endorsement from a Singaporean company
- Updated resume
- Copies of educational certificates and professional qualifications
- References from previous employers
- Passport photos no older than three months
- Copy of passport pages with the candidate’s personal details
- Employer company’s current business profile or details registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
- Detailed outline of candidate’s job description
Applicants from different countries may also be required to submit additional documents such as transcripts, mark sheets, and language proficiency diplomas.
What is the process of applying for an Employment Pass?
From April 2022, candidates applying for the EP must do so via the online application portal. In June 2020, the myMOM Portal officially replaced the Employment Pass Online Application system. During the online application process, written consent must be submitted for the sponsor to apply for the EP, and the sponsor must fill out the application form, upload the required documents, and pay the application fees. Applications typically take at least three weeks to process.
Can you reapply for a rejected Employment Pass?
If your EP application is unsuccessful, you may appeal the rejected application within three months. When appealing an unsuccessful EP application, the issues mentioned in the rejection advisory must be addressed otherwise the outcomes will not change. A new EP application may be submitted if the rejected application is not appealed within three months.
What is the increase in the minimum salary for Employment Pass holders?
In February, it was announced that the minimum qualifying salaries for new EP and S Pass applicants will rise by $500 as of September 2022. The minimum salary for new EP applicants will increase from $4,500 to $5,000. In the financial services sector, the minimum salary will increase from $5,000 to $5,500. The minimum salary for new S Pass applicants will increase from $2,500 to $3,000 while a minimum qualifying salary of $3,500 will be introduced in the financial services sector. Wong stated that the qualifying salaries for older EP applicants will rise progressively with age. Further to this, the proportion of work permit holders in the construction and process sectors is set to be reduced as of 2024.
The Employment Pass and growing your global workforce
Many businesses turn to an Employer of Record (EOR) as a solution for quickly and compliantly hiring foreign employees in Singapore. An EOR is a specialised workforce management firm that handles all the legal responsibilities of hiring and managing staff on behalf of your organisation. When hiring foreign workers through an EOR, the worker is registered as an employee of the EOR although they carry out their work duties as if they are registered under your enterprise.
If you want to hire foreign workers in Singapore, working with an EOR is the ideal solution if you do not already have a local entity set up for your company, you are merely testing out a new foreign market, you seek greater access to global talent pools, you want to mitigate the risks of hiring global workers, and you consider compliance and cost as major factors for your internal HR strategy.
CXC is a global HR outsourcing organisation with 30 years of experience in workforce management. Our innovative and cost-effective solutions help companies gain a competitive advantage by improving efficiency while reducing risks.
Contact CXC today to start enabling your future workforce.