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Singapore Employment Pass update – What you need to know before applying?

The Singapore Employment Pass is a work visa that allows foreigners to work in Singapore in certain managerial or executive positions. It is only one of the three types of professional work passes where companies are not bound by law to hire Singaporeans before the approval of the Singapore work pass. Among all, Singapore Employment Pass is one of the most common and flexible work passes but a minimum monthly salary applies for this type of work visa.

 In recent years, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has imposed stern yet subjective criteria with regard to both the sponsor company and the applicant’s eligibility for employment passes. Companies who are interested in securing an employment pass for their foreign employee must ensure that the applicant is of a higher caliber before foreigners are allowed to hold such a pass which offers flexibility and concession.

To date, there are only two other passes that have an even more rigid requirement than the Singapore Employment Pass and they are the Entrepreneurial Pass (or EntrePass) and the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP).

Starting on the 1st of July 2018, employers or companies with ten or more employees must advertise their job vacancies at the jobsbank which is a government-administered portal for a minimum of two weeks before they are allowed to submit an application for the Singapore Employment Pass for a foreign employee in the event that there is no suitable local candidate to fill in the position.

Requirements for Job Bank Advertising

Before submitting any applications for Employment Pass (EP), companies must advertise on the Jobs Bank portal that is administered by Workforce Singapore (WSG).

The following requirements must be met by the advertisement:

  • Open to Singaporeans
  • Compliant with the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TAFEP)
  • Run for at least fourteen (14) days before applying for EP
  • Any changes made to the advertisement means it must be extended for another fourteen days
  • The following information must be included in the job advertisement:
  • Job title and job description
  • Job requirements such as experience, skills required, and qualifications
  • Expiry date
  • Salary range

Who is exempted?

There are companies that are exempted from the Jobs Bank advertising requirements and they are the following:

  • Companies with less than 10 employees
  • The job position pays a fixed monthly salary of $15,000 and above
  • The job is necessary for short-term contingencies (the employment period in Singapore is less than a month)
  • The job is to be filled by an ICT or intra-corporate transferee. ICTs refer to senior positions in the organization, or those who have advanced levels of expertise.

Companies are strongly advised to advertise any vacancy on the Jobs Bank for access to a wider pool of candidates, even if the job is eligible for advertising exemption.

Any organization found to have discriminatory practices will face scrutiny from MOM and have their work pass privileges revoked.

Other Employment Pass Requirements

The sponsor companies for employment passes are also under further scrutiny by the MOM on their business nature and business activities, especially for newly set up companies. It is no longer that you can sponsor an employment pass without real and justifiable business activities. You are now required to explain your business would need this application according to the TAFEP requirements and if your business activities justify the hiring of foreign employees.

The above are the key updates for 2019 to ensure a trouble-free visa process. In summary, it is getting much harder for companies to hire foreign employees on employment passes as they are required to submit a lot more documentation (e.g. company financial information, justification letter on the need of the applicant…). To succeed, in an employment pass, you must have a deeper understanding of the requirements of the work pass so that you are able to provide stronger justification for the hiring of foreign professionals instead of locals.

If your employment pass is rejected or you are not sure how to go about filing a successful application, don’t panic! Get in touch with our consultants today at

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