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Employment Pass Update – Important factors to consider before applying for an EP?

Guide for singapore entrepreneur pass

Securing the highly-coveted Singapore Employment Pass or EP is something which highly-skilled foreigners desire. Recently, the Ministry of Manpower has made the application process for the Singapore Employment Pass stricter. Sponsor company of employment pass must now produce additional documentation in order to justify for the grant of the EP.

However, this does not mean that businesses should be worried if they plan to hire foreigners. Read further to get in-depth understanding on the recent employment pass changes which can help you succeed in your next EP application.

Company sponsor’s business activities & hiring practice

Currently, the assessment is no longer limited to the candidates. The hiring companies are also appraised in terms of the nature of their business activities and the number of local employees in their organization, although no quota or levy is required for EP. Pertinent authorities will determine if the company has hired any citizens or have any plans of doing so. Companies with unjustifiably high numbers of foreigners are bound to get their EP applications delayed or rejected as this is tantamount to not showing commitment or not giving opportunities to locals.

Self-Sponsorship Employment Pass for foreign director lead to complication

If you are a foreign director and shareholder of the company sponsoring your employment pass, you will be subject to more complication due to the following:

  1. There is no employer and employee relationship in this case;
  2. You may subject to the entrepreneur pass (or Entrepass) criteria due to the fact that an entrepreneur would typical be both the director and shareholder

There may be exceptions for self-sponsorship employment pass, but you must be aware of the risk involved without the Right advice before the application.

Applicant’s Background & Qualifications

As long as a foreigner is well qualified in terms of experience, specialized skills, and academic qualifications, he will still be able to qualify for the aforementioned work visa. To qualify, foreign professionals must:

  • Earn a monthly salary of at least $3,600. (More experienced or senior candidates are expected to have a higher monthly salary)
  • Have a job offer in Singapore
  • Work in an executive, managerial or specialized job
  • Have acceptable qualifications or specialize skills

Any nationality is welcome to apply for the EP as the country is open to accepting individuals with high levels of talent, regardless of where they come from. Approval will depend if such a talent is available locally and the justification why hiring a foreigner is necessary for such a role.

One notable change is that candidates are no longer assessed based on their professional skills, academic qualifications, expertise and their salary. Foreigners who want to apply for the Singapore Employment Pass are also evaluated on their economic and social impacts on the country and its citizens.

Sponsor company’s ability to sustain the business operations

Other criteria which authorities look at when evaluating companies are the ability to pay the salary of Employment Pass holders and their capital structure. Companies are also required to submit documentary evidence such as income tax statements, bank statements, invoices, tenancy agreement, financial statement, etc. during the verification process. The employment pass may only be approved for a shorter period if there is any doubt to the veracity.

The application process will be a lot smoother for companies that are actively trading with string revenues and have a healthy number of Singaporean employees. It is important to keep in mind that the goal of the Singapore Employment Pass policy is to encourage companies to hire more senior foreigners with exclusive skill and knowledge that can mentor and transfer their skills to future potential Singaporeans employees, and provide them training opportunities that will add in their development so that there will be less dependence on foreign talents in the long term.

The chances of having your EP application status approved becomes even better once all the qualifying criteria are met and all the needed documents are submitted as per request of the MOM. Once your EP is submitted, the Employment pass processing time takes up to 8 weeks and you can check for your EP application status on MOM website via EP online. Your EP will be valid for 2 years and subsequent renewals be up to 3 years. If you have any immediate family members, you may also wish to apply for a dependent pass.

If you are unsure of your Employment Pass application or may have some concern about your chances of success due to any of the above-mentioned criterion, why not contact our consultant at One Visa for a Free Eligibility Assessment?

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