A Singaporean Employment Pass (EP) is a visa that allows foreign, well-educated professionals to live and work in Singapore. Those who obtain it will be able to enjoy the many advantages it has to offer in addition to living in a vibrant, cosmopolitan city. These include the ability to bring family to Singapore, the EP can be granted up to two years (and renewed for an additional three years), and the applicant will have an excellent chance of obtaining Permanent Residence status. In addition, people of all nationalities are welcome to apply for the EP. However, the application process can be tricky and candidates can easily make three common mistakes. Before discussing them in detail, below is a brief overview of the Employment Pass.
In order to be considered for a job in Singapore, the company to which the prospective candidate is applying must be well established and able to demonstrate its ability to pay the candidate the appropriate salary. The company must also give Singaporeans two weeks to apply for the job before opening up the position to foreigners. For prospective candidates, they must hold a diploma and/or a degree issued by a college or university, have at least three years of work experience in their field, possess valuable skills that are in demand in Singapore, and have a valid passport. In other words, the more education and experience you have, the better chance you will have to receive the EP. This does not mean that those with less experience cannot apply, as there are three levels of foreign workers. In general though, experience and skills tend to be more important than education; exceptional school records alone are not sufficient to acquire the EP.
For a long time, obtaining a Singaporean Employment Pass (EP) was relatively simple, as the government welcomed and relied on foreign workers. Before 2012, approval was easily obtained as long as applicants met basic requirements and possessed the right credentials. The application process began to narrow after that, however, as more focus was placed on whether the prospective employer was able to successfully run the company and had the ability to hire a new employee. Finally, after July 2015, the EP process narrowed even further and began to focus on the company’s activities and the quality of the applicant. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) implemented these rules in order to create a better balance of foreign and native workers. Though this may seem like a disadvantage to foreigners interested in working in Singapore, it helps the government select better-qualified candidates who will receive many benefits. And in return, Singapore benefits with a more productive workforce. In short, this is a win-win situation for the government and applicant.
However, no matter how qualified an applicant is, it is essential to follow the application directions closely. Rejection typically occurs as a result of three key mistakes:
1. Weak justification reason against the rejection. This is due to the lack of understanding of the manpower policies in Singapore. Sometimes the authority gives you reasons for the rejection and even when reasons are not given, the appeal documents should be handled with care.
2. The applicant does not have strong professional and/or education background to be relevant and compelling enough for the authority to consider. Most of this is due to the lack of understanding of Singapore’s labour market and bringing in foreign talent that does not possess enough value to Singapore.
3. The business is not generating enough revenue or hiring local employees, which does not add enough value to Singapore’s economy.
Despite all of the above, not all is lost. Seeking professional advice from a firm that possesses expert understanding of Singapore’s immigration/manpower policies will help you with the application process. In fact, there are times when your case is not given fair consideration and you are simply rejected without a valid reason. However, it is possible, with assistance from One Visa—which has experience dealing with such rejection—to have a second review. In addition, One Visa provides Rejection Assessment on your case for Free. In the event that we determine that you do not have a strong case, we will let you know right away so you do not have to waste your time.