Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

The Singapore Personalised Employment Pass Scheme (PEP)

 If you would like the freedom to pursue various excellent work opportunities in Singapore without the need to have a job offer in Singapore, then the Singapore Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is ideal for you. Given to top-tier professionals and issued only on the basis of the applicant’s merits (Unlike the Employment Pass), the specialized work pass provides holders with flexibility.

 Why work in the country with a PEP? Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world, and it is also a financial powerhouse in Southeast Asia. Singapore residents enjoy a stable and robust economy. The country is ranked as the second most globalized economy in the world. This means ambitious candidates, great clients, excellent working conditions, high wages, and world-class business development and staff investment opportunities.

 The country has a progressive and generous personal tax system. In addition, earnings gained overseas and brought to the country are not subjected to nay taxes which is a desirable proposition for businesspeople everywhere. Singapore is a travel hub for Asia, with millions of people flying in and out of the world’s best airport, Changi.


What is a Singapore Personalised Employment Pass?

The Singapore Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is an employment pass category which is not linked to a particular employer. PEPs are meant for highly qualified individuals who want to work in Singapore. This pass allows individuals to switch employment in Singapore without the need for an entry visa, as long as the holder is not unemployed for more than six months.


The Personalised Employment Pass vs Employment Pass

 Although similar in many ways, the Personalised Employment Pass and Employment Pass are two different kind of work passes issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). First, let us discuss the similarities.

  • Both passes allow individuals to work, live and reside in Singapore, as well as travel in and out of Singapore without the necessity for entry visas.

  • Family members may also be brought to the country under Long-Term Visit Passes and Dependent’s Passes.

  • Both Singapore work visa allows the holders to stay in Singapore for a more than 12 months; 

 However, there are a number of differences that you need consider before applying for the PEP:

  • You do not need to have a company sponsor to secure approval for the Personalised Employment Pass (unlike Employment Pass where company sponsorship is a must);

  • The PEP holders, they must earn a fixed salary of $144,000 annually throughout the duration of the pass;

  • PEP is issued for 36 months but the EP issuance period varies (12 – 36 months);

The PEP holders are not allowed to start a business and be a director of a company in Singapore whereas an EP holders are allowed to be a director and shareholder of a Singapore registered company (For those who are seriously considering starting a business in Singapore, you may want to apply for the Singapore Entrepass instead).


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Features and Benefits of Personalised Employment Pass

 One of the many reasons why PEP is highly-coveted is the flexibility it offers. If you are a PEP holder, you can generally hold a job in any sector. Additionally, if you meet the requirements of the PEP, you can apply without a Singapore company sponsorship (unlike the employment pass) but under the condition that you obtain a high paying job in Singapore within 6 months to maintain the pass.

 However, one thing to also note is that having the PEP does not exempt you from complying with the registration requirements to practice in Singapore for professions such as pharmacy, dentistry, law, architecture, medicine, and others.

 There is no need to reapply for a new pass if you decide to change jobs. The only thing you need to do is to notify the Ministry of Manpower if you leave your current job or start a new job, if you change your contact details, and when you declare your fixed salary. Lastly, you can stay in the country for a continuous period of up to 6 months without the need to search for new employment if you do not have a job.


Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for PEP

 To proceed with your Personalised Employment Pass application, you must have a minimum salary of $12,000 monthly and must earn a fixed annual income of at least $144,000 that previous year.

You must be an overseas professional with a last drawn fixed salary of at least $18,000 monthly, and the last drawn salary should not be more than six months from the time of the PEP application.

 Individuals who cannot apply for the Personalised Employment Pass in Singapore are Employment Pass holders under the sponsorship scheme; a freelancer or foreigner who wants to work on a freelance basis; a journalist, editor, sub-editor, or a producer; a sole proprietor, partner, or where a director is also a shareholder in a company that is ACRA-registered.


Documents Required for Application

 So, what documents are needed to apply for PEP? If you already have an Employment Pass, there is no need to provide further documents. However, you still do need to submit the following:

  • Duly accomplished application form
  • A copy of your passport
  • Employment contract
  • Past three months’ salary slips
  • Bank account statements
  • Latest tax statement
  • Latest resume with relevant educational certificates

 If any of your document is not in the English language, they must be submitted together with an official English translation done by a certified translator or a notary public.


How to Apply for PEP in Singapore

 Personalised Employment Pass Application processing time is around eight weeks. Once your application is approved, you can expect to receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter, which is valid for six months. Your pass must be collected within this period from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) office. It is a requirement to bring any other documents that might be requested in the letter.

 The PEP is valid for three years, and your dependents who are PEP-sponsored will be allowed to stay in the country as long as your pass is valid. Unlike other employment passes, there is no Personalised Employment Pass renewal. Upon its expiration in three years, you can continue to work in the country with an Employment Pass, or you have the option of applying for permanent residency. The Personalised Employment Pass in Singapore can be canceled anytime but once cancelled, and you will not be able to apply for a new Personalised Employment Pass.


What Do I Need to Maintain My Personalised Employment Pass

 It is necessary to keep the authorities up-to-date on your contact and employment information. How to do it?

Opening an EPOL account will make the process a lot easier and this can be done by logging in with Singpass – an online gateway for various transactions done with the Singapore Government.

Update the following with your EPOL account:

  • Change or renewal of travel documents

  • Lost or damaged PEP cards – application for a replacement card is also necessary

  • Change of residential address


Update the following information with the PEP Form:

  • Change of local contact

  • Annual salary – has to be declared within 30 days from the last day of each calendar year

  • Changes in employment status – has to be updated within seven days. The employer is also required to inform authorities about any change in employment status.

Renewal of PEP 

   The Personalised Employment Pass cannot be renewed once it expires. However, you may continue to work in the country with an Employment Pass or you have an option to apply for permanent residency. 

   The PEP can be cancelled at any point of time. However, once it has been cancelled, you are no longer allowed to apply for a new PEP.

   For more information about the PEPs, you may either go to our Free Visa Assessment tools to assess your visa eligibility of visit the MOM website.

The authorities set quite high demands for the personalised visa and meeting them all is possible only if a seasoned visa assistant is involved. A lot of pitfalls hide in the documentation and the way a profile is represented. While assessing every candidate, the MOM relies on their personal merits, basically professional background and skills. Sometimes it can be challenging to substitute such subjective things as experience, and the profile looks pale against the background of other candidates. Anyway, the government usually points to the weak points of the application in the rejection letter.

If you faced a rejection, you have 3 months for preparing a strong appeal. The point here is in listening to the MOM advice and addressing the issue the government pointed to. The authorities warn that it is useless to appeal if the issue cannot be addressed. Trying to wear down government’s resistance by storming it with irksome appeals will lead to rejection and can totally jeopardize your situation.

That is why, if the rejection happened, it is crucial to analyze the reason deeply. If you aren’t sure you understand the issue or don’t know how to fix it, it’s better to ask a visa agency to investigate into the problem and find a winning solution. After the issue is fixed, the electronic appeal can be submitted and the document that reflects the change attached. There is no need to re-submit the whole package of documents if it wasn’t required by the govt.

Sometimes the rejection happens even when the application is submitted by an agent (the government is prone to play safe if there is at least one insecurity in the profile), but agents are usually able to make in-depth analysis and address the issue faultlessly due to their abundant experience. We will find a key factor that will persuade the govt in advantages of your skills. What is more, if the hardly probable rejection still happens, we will refund you up to a half of our fee.

As the personalised visa is bound to its holder only and no employer is required, you can apply on your own using the electronic governmental service called EP Online. The suggested option is to entrust a visa consultant with your PEP case. This way, you will save your time (the visa is usually in processing during approximately 5 weeks; add to this long period of time any other accidental delay caused by an issue with documents) and nerves. The practice shows that applications containing exhaustive documentation and strong profiles have more chances to compete at the MOM than mediocre applications knocked together without awareness of the MOM trends and rules.

Please take into account that PEP application has a longer list of documents than that of EP. Except papers that prove your skills and prominent work history, you are required to provide bank and tax statements and your salary slips which have to be no older than 6-month-old. Please, find out from our visa consultants which other documents you must prepare. Some of them must be just collected, but some have to be compiled from scratch. If you use our full PEP service, you just provide us with basic documents and honest information about your background and sit back. We will do the rest of the paperwork, prepare an outstanding application and handle the online submission on your behalf. You don’t have to deal with the authorities directly as we will put you in the picture and reach out to you when something additional will be needed.

PEP is given to the most talented and highest-paid pros and directors who managed to persuade the government that they were exceptionally beneficial for the country’s economy and that they were extremely likely to land a job in Singapore (i.e. their skills sold like hot cakes). Unless you are a popular personality in Singapore, you will require a good grip in building your profile up and paperwork to get the visa.

It’s better to enlist a professional visa backup – an agent who knows the psychology of the application process and leverages that can make your employment profile sound outstanding. Moreover, the agent will help you to adjust your papers to the MOM standards and fully represent your case during the whole application procedure. Please, reach out to our consultants for a piece of valuable advice.

Unfortunately, an extension for the personalised visa isn’t provided by the government. Before the 3-year term expires, if you don’t feel like leaving the country, you can either switch over to any other suitable working pass (like P1) or pursue the Permanent Residence. Please take into account that in order to avoid breaks in your employment, these solutions must be implemented beforehand according to these visas’ processing time. The Employment Pass would be ready in 7 days (e-application) or 5 weeks (manual), and getting the Permanent Residence visa would take you up to 6 months. Your visa consultant will advise you on the high time to swap visas.

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