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Key Changes in Employment Pass Policy that you should not miss in 2021

employment pass

Did You Know? There Are Two Main Changes For Employment Pass (EP) Holders.

  1. Job postings will now be extended to 28 days.


As announced in August of last year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have tightened the rules on advertising jobs to allow more Singaporeans to have priority access to local vacancies. This change has been in effect since October 2020.

Before they can apply for a new EP or S Pass for a foreign worker, firms will now have to advertise jobs on for at least 28 days, up from the previous 14-day requirement.

The advertising rule used to apply to just EP-level jobs. But considering the economic devastation caused by COVID-19, MOM extended the rule to S Pass jobs. These jobs, including hospitality workers and technicians, are some of the most heavily affected by the pandemic.

This announcement was made together with another major change: raising the minimum qualifying salary for EP Pass and S Pass holders.

  1. Intra-corporate transferees (ICTs) can no longer bring their families with them to Singapore. They cannot apply for permanent residency (PR) and extend the pass beyond five years.

ICTs refer to an EP Pass holder who has been transferred or assigned to Singapore as part of a multinational set-up. An ICT must be a manager, executive, or specialist. S/he must have worked outside Singapore for at least a year before being transferred to the Singapore office.

MOM recently emphasised that ICTs are allowed to stay in Singapore for a limited period only. Additionally, they are not qualified to apply for another job in Singapore once their current work pass expires or is terminated. The maximum term allowed for ICTs is five years. And unlike other EP Pass holders, they are not eligible to apply for PR.

ICTs will also no longer be allowed to bring their immediate family members via the dependent’s passes (DP) or long-term visit passes route. This does not apply to those covered by an applicable free trade agreement (FTA) and meet the criteria for the passes. An example of this is the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Meanwhile, DP holders who want to work in Singapore now have to apply for a work pass instead of a letter of consent. They should apply for an EP, an S Pass, or a work permit. If they are currently working under a letter of consent, they can continue to do so. Once it expires, they need to apply for the applicable work pass.

This means that companies that want to hire DP holders must follow the applicable rules governing the hiring of foreign employees.

Business-owning DP holders can continue their enterprise so long as it generates employment for Singaporeans or permanent residents. The DP holder should be a sole proprietor, a partner, or a director with at least 30% share in the business. Those who want to start a new business can apply for a letter of consent and ensure that they meet the other criteria.

What Does This Mean For You As An Employer?

You can still bring in qualified foreign professionals using the regular Employment Pass instead of using the ICT route. However, this means that you will not be exempted from the extended advertising rule under the Fair Consideration Framework and under the regular EP framework, there is more scrutiny on why you are bringing a foreign employee to Singapore.

Need Expert Advice?

These changes can be overwhelming to process without professional help. Even a simple mistake can significantly delay the process and affect your application adversely. 

One Visa can offer you immigration solution even if you do not meet the EP criteria. Contact Us or email us for a free initial assessment to help you get started on the right track.  

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