THE Employment Pass GUIDE
Employment Pass (EP) Singapore Scheme
1. What is an Employment Pass (EP)?An Employment Pass (EP) is the most common Singapore work visa granted to foreign professionals by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Features and benefits include:
- It is available to foreign directors, managers, executives, business owners, or other professionals who have been offered a job in Singapore.
- It is valid for 1 to 2 years and can be renewed up to 3 years.
- It is a multiple journey entry visa that permits you to travel outside of the country without having to apply for an entry visa every time you leave Singapore.
- Applying for Singapore Permanent Residence (SPR) status is easier.
- There is no levy or quota required. However, in some cases, when the number of EP holders in your sponsor company (the company that hired you) is more than 50%, the company needs to justify why locals were not offered the job.
2. Am I Eligible For An Employment Pass?
Singapore Employment Pass Criteria
2.1 To Be Eligible For An Employment Pass You Must:
- Be employed or newly hired by a well-established Singapore registered business
- The Minimum monthly employment pass salary must be at least $3,600 (those with more work experience will need to earn a higher salary)
- Hold a higher education degree(s) or possess an excellent work background and salary; for those without much education, you need to be able to show that you have enough relevant experience to compensate for the lack of education.
2.2 Additional Eligibility Criteria For EP Overseas Sponsorship Cases:
If you do not have a company sponsor and seek a work pass that does not require one, a Personalised Employment Pass may be suitable for you. However, you are required to fulfill other stringent criteria.
3. What documents are required to apply for an Employment Pass?
Your company sponsor or employment agent will need to submit a number of documents with the Singapore Employment Pass application. These include:
- The completed EP application form via Employment Pass Online (EPOL)
- All documents related to your education, i.e. transcripts and certificates
- Resume and/or CV, along with references of previous employers
- A personal particulars page of your passport
- A profile of the company that is hiring you and a thorough explanation of the responsibilities of the job
- And possibly other documents (e.g. a details description of employing company business activities, proof of invoices or even financial documents as supporting documents..) that the MOM may request from you during the application process after the submission
In case if you think that you or your employing company does not have the relevant document or is not equip to handle this additional documentation preparation or appeal process, you can let a licensed immigration consultant like One Visa to handle and liaise this process directly with the MOM. Click here for Free Assessment (Add button here)
4. How can I apply for an Employment Pass?
Only your new employer or an employment agency can apply for the Singapore EP on your behalf via the following 2 options:
1. Online Application Via The EPOL System:
- Give permission, in the form of written consent, to your sponsor to apply.
- The sponsor fills out the application on EP Online, uploads the required documents, and pays the required application fee to MOM.
- After 3 weeks, you can check the status of your application on EP Online.
- Print the in-principle approval (IPA) letter on EP Online after your application is approved.
2. Submitting The Application Manually Over The Counter At Any Singpost Branch:
- Give permission, in the form of written consent, to your sponsor to apply.
- The sponsor fills out the EP form (for sponsorship cases) and collects from you copies of the supporting documents indicated in the form.
- The sponsor submits the application and supporting documents over the counter at a SingPost branch (Singapore’s post office) and pays the prescribed fee using cash, Visa, MasterCard, eNets Debit, or CashCard.
- After 4 weeks, you can check the status of your application on EP Online. It may take a total of 8 weeks to process the application.
- After the pass is approved, MOM will mail the in-principle approval (IPA) letter to the sponsor.
- The sponsor will then send a copy of the IPA to you. It will have a pre-approved single entry visa for you to enter the country.
- Make arrangements to come to Singapore to get the pass. You have a 6-month window to do this.
The application process takes place entirely on EP Online. If this is the first time your company is applying for an Employment Pass, it needs to first register for an EPOL account with the MOM, which takes an additional 3-7 days.
The Employment Pass Application may look as simple as logging onto EPOL to fill in the relevant information and upload relevant documents. However, this is not the case as the public information provided is not the only information you need to gain approval for your pass. You also need the knowledge of the foreign manpower policies and an understanding of how to deal with the MOM if there is a complication with your case. Additionally, if your company is new and lacks local employees or the information presented on your company profile is misleading, the MOM may request additional documents detailing, for example, company activities, or providing a further explanation why you are the best candidate for the job. Sometimes, the MOM may even reject your application without telling you why.
Seeking professional help saves you time and money during these situations. It brings you closer to fulfilling your dream of moving to the most livable city in Asia.
One-Visa can help you achieve your dream of working in Singapore by providing you with the best advice through our years of experience, guiding you through the whole process of making your move effortless. We have a proven track record of success with up to 90% approval. Contact us for a Free Assessment on your case today to determine whether you are qualified and eligible for the EP.
5. How long does it take to get an Employment Pass in Singapore in 2018?Visa processing time can vary in length but it usually takes around three weeks. Be aware that it can take longer if you need to submit additional documents. This will extend the process 2-3 weeks. For rejected cases, it will take from 3-5 weeks.
7. What to do if your Employment Pass is rejected or there is an additional document request from the MOM?If MOM requested additional documents for your case:
- Review the document request carefully. It is important to approach rejection with extra precaution because whatever you submit can make or break your case.
- You typically have 7 days to provide the documents and can request an extension for an additional 7 days.
- You may not have to or be able to submit all them. For example, if your sponsor company is new, documents like a financial statement or CPF salary records don’t exist yet, so obviously you cannot submit them.
- Ensure that the documents you submit strengthen your case.
- When you have no choice, it is better to not submit some documents if they weaken your case.
- It is possible to appeal the decision within 3 months from the date of rejection.
- Only your employer or an immigration agency (licensed by MOM), like One Visa, is allowed to make the appeal
- The MOM may list most of the reasons for the rejection on EP Online and indicate which additional documents it needs.
- Review the reasons carefully before preparing and submitting the documents for the appeal. If you do not understand the reason(s) for the rejection or what documents are required for the appeal, do speak to someone professional, as you do not want your appeal to be rejected, which may impact your future applications.
- Appeal process can take between 3 to 6 weeks upon submission.
8. How do you renew an Employment Pass?Only your employer or a licensed employment agency like One Visa is allowed to renew your Employment Pass through EP Online beginning 6 months before the expiration date. Keep in mind, however, that foreign manpower policies change consistently so even if you have obtained EP in the past, that does not mean you are necessarily going to get an approval for your renewal. It is strongly recommended that you seek professional help from One Visa consultants who stay on top of any changes that occur. Try our Free Assessment to determine what your chances are to get a renewal.
9. How do you collect your Singapore Work Pass (EP)?
Before you can collect your EP, your future employer has to download the In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter from EPOL. Then it will send a copy to you. The letter states that you have been approved for the EP and are allowed to come to Singapore to collect it. You have 6 months to do this. The letter may also state that you need to get a medical examination. You can do this when you come to Singapore.
Once in Singapore, to collect the card your employer or employee agent typically need to do the following:
- Login to EPOL and provide further information about you, such as your residential address.
- Pay the necessary issuance fee prescribed by the MOM.
- Print the notification letter when the pass is issued and give it to you while you wait to receive the actual EP card. It is valid for 1 month. The letter states that you are required to book an appointment with the Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC) to process your EP card. The letter may also indicate that you need to have your fingerprints and photo taken. If so, you have 2 weeks to do so after the pass is issued.
- On the date of the appointment, bring the following:
- Arrival Card / White card (given to you upon arrival at the airport)
- Notification letter
- Education certificate photocopy
- Medical report (when required)
- Any documents listed in the notification letter
After this, the MOM will need 4 working days to process the information and then deliver the EP to the designated address you provided.
10. Is your family eligible for a Dependent Pass (DP) or Long-Term Visit Pass in Singapore?
Your family can come with you to Singapore if you earn at least $6,000 per month. It is possible to apply for dependent passes simultaneously with your EP application. They are approved and expire at the same time as the EP.
The Long-Term visit pass requires an applicant to be making a minimum income of 12,000 SGD per month.
11. How can I apply for Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR) with my Employment Visa?If you are tired of renewing your work visa and want are more stability and less restrictions working and living in Singapore, then you should definitely consider becoming a Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR). Your chances of becoming a SPR are better if you have an EP or another work visa but, as you may imagine, it is still a long (it can take up to 12 months) and challenging process. However, the benefits of SPR are definitely worth the effort. These include:
- Not having to hold a work visa
- Your family can get SPR status
- Employment becomes more flexible (for example, you don’t have to obtain a new work visa if you switch jobs, which you have to do if you have an EP or other work visa)
12.1. S-Pass Singapore:
- For medium-skilled foreign technicians in important industries such as pharmaceuticals, electronics, aerospace engineering, electronics, etc.
- The S-Pass lasts for 2 years and can be renewed up to 3 years.
12.2. Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass)
- For entrepreneurs and innovators (those who possess intellectual property that is unique and provides a competitive advantage to their business) who want to start a business in Singapore.
- It is valid for 1 year and can be renewed for another year; subsequent renewals then last 2 years.
12.3. Work Permit
- The Work Permit is for foreign semi-skilled workers from selected Asian countries who work in the construction, manufacturing, marine, or process or service sectors (as well as foreign domestic workers, nannies, and performers).
- It is valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed.
13. Why should you get help from professional Employment Pass (EP) agents or consultants?
It used to be much easier to obtain a Singapore employment visa; applicants simply had to meet basic salary, education, and experience requirements. This is no longer the case. The government has placed restrictions of the number and quality of foreign professionals to level the playing field for native Singaporeans at the PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians) Level. The government also wanted to increase the quality of foreign workers to create a more productive workforce. As a result, securing an EP and other visas has become much harder and more complicated.
This is why you need professional assistance from One Visa consultants. We have years of experience helping foreigners navigate the visa process. Also, many visas, such as the EP, require that your future employer or employment agents, such as us at One Visa, apply on your behalf. However, your sponsor company or employers may be new and not have the kind of experience to navigate the process.
With over eight years of experience, One Visa has a proven track record of helping foreigners realize their professional and personal goals. We have achieved over 1,000 successful cases, which translates into a 90% success rate. We will guide you through the process to ensure that it goes smoothly. Don’t hesitate to contact us today! Let us help you realize your dreams!
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