Employment Pass Guide

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Employment Pass (EP) Singapore Scheme

Overview

The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a type of Singapore work pass / visa granted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to foreigners (professionals, managers, executives or directors), who wish to work legally in Singapore. This is the most versatile work pass that covers the biggest group of current foreign working professionals in Singapore (aside from work permit holders). Additionally, no work pass quota is required for this type of work pass but there are other new requirements implemented recently to ensure the fair consideration of locals before the hiring of foreigners on Employment Pass. Read further to learn more.

Key Features of Employment Pass(EP)

  • The Employment Pass validity is typical 1 to 2 years and it can be renewed up to 3 years.
  • This 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.
  • There is no Employment Pass 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.
  • Processing Time: 3 – 8 weeks upon submission
  • If your sponsor company is overseas-based (i.e, it does not have a Singapore registered company) and has a related or clients’ company in Singapore, you can apply for the Employment Pass under the “overseas sponsorship case.”
  • If you are an entrepreneur seeking to invest and setup a new start-up business in Singapore, then the Entrepreneur (a.k.a. Entrepass) Pass is more suitable for you.

Employment Pass Eligibility:

  • Must be sponsored by a well-established Singapore registered company. New companies must show proof of substantial business activities;
  • Show proof that the employer has consider the hiring of local fairly under the fair-consideration framework (FCF);
  • Applicant must meet the minimum Employment Pass salary of 3600 SGD. But for those with more experience, the minimum salary is higher;
  • Applicant must have the relevant working experience and/or education qualification for the offered job.
  • Employment Pass quota is not required but when the sponsor company has too many employment pass holder vs local employees, you are required to justify.

Above all, MOM may also reject you based on other reasons as the application is assessed holistically. As long as you have no genuine reason for hiring a foreigner, they have the right to reject your application.

Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)

The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) is implemented as a standard requirement to ensure that for all employers in Singapore consider candidates fairly for job opportunities with any showing any discrimination based on non-job related elements like like gender, age, nationality or race.

Employers must now advertise their job under the national job portal, jobsbank, for at least 14 days before they can proceed with the application of an employment pass. Only companies with less than 10 employees or when the offered salary is higher than 15,000 SGD is exempted.

Documents required for Employment Pass

  • Passport biodata;
  • Duly completed employment pass application form 8 to be endorsed by sponsor company;
  • Details description of business activities of the sponsor company and the product or service offered;
  • Applicant’s job duties.
  • A copy of the applicant’s latest resume;
  • Testimonials from past employers

Beside the above documents, you may have to provide supplementary documents as proof of business activities or detail explanation on why you need the applicant.

Employment Pass Application & processing time

To submit an Employment Pass application, you can either:

  • Online Application: Register an Employment Pass Online account under a Singapore registered company or engage a third party visa agency to assist with your submission. Online application typical takes 3 weeks upon submission.
  • Manual Application: Obtain the manual application form from MOM and attached all required documents to the form. This application can be submitted via singpost and processing time is 8 weeks. Also, if you are

We would strongly recommend Online application as manual application can lead to delays to your application and further complication when submitting additional documents.

Employment Pass Status

Typically, you can expect to get an update from MOM within 3 weeks upon your first submission of your application (except manual application). At this point of time, you may obtain a favourable outcome or MOM may send a request for additional support documents required further assess your case (In certain case, you may be rejected first). You will either receive an SMS or email notification on your application status depending on what you had declared to MOM on the mode of communication.

In case if you do not receive your Singapore employment pass status within 3 weeks after submission, you may check your MOM EP status here.

MOM Additional Documents Request

MOM additional documents request typically happens when your company is new or does not have enough financial in their records to proof that you have the revenue to sponsor a work pass holder. However, there can also be other reasons that are linked to the applicant’s credential like the applicant does not have the experience or qualification required for the work.

The first step is to analyse carefully on the list of documents that MOM are requesting for you to furnish. The documents provide to MOM must be strong enough to justify the hiring of foreigner to work in the company.

Appeal for Employment Pass (EP) Rejection

At this stage, you had probably submitted an application or an appeal for your employment pass application but your application is still rejected. There can be many reasons of rejection for an EP application but you should not be worry if you have a strong case. You can always appeal against a rejection if you have a strong reason on why the application should not be rejected.


You can submit your appeal on the EPOL portal via the employer or authorised third party agency like One Visa. You must submit your appeal within 3 months from the date of rejection. Therefore, you are given more than enough time to review the rejection reason(s) or seeking someone professional for advice before you submit all your required documents or justification letters. Do remember that you are only given 2 chances to appeal for a rejection so without the understanding of what the MOM officer wants, there is not point to waste your chance on an appeal. Always seek professional help if you are unsure of how to proceed with your appeal.

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Passes for the family members of Employment Pass holder

As an employment pass holder, you are only allowed to sponsor your spouse, children and parents. Additionally, you must earn a monthly income of at least 6,000 SGD per month to be able to sponsor your dependents. Additional income requirements to sponsor your parents.

Family Member Category

Type of Pass to apply for

Married Spouse & Unmarried Children (including those that are legally adopted)

Dependant Pass

Common-law spouse, unmarried handicapped children above 21 year-old & unmarried step-children below 21 year-old

Long Term Visit Pass

Parents
(Employment Pass holders must earn a minimum income of 12,000 SGD per month)

Long Term Visit Pass

Learn more about Dependant’s Pass and Long term Visit Pass.

Overseas Sponsorship case for Employment Pass

Overseas sponsorship Employment Pass is suitable for those overseas companies (with no local presence) who are planning to send their employee as a consultant for a 1-2 years project to be attached to a local client company in Singapore. The salary will still be remunerated from the overseas company but the client company is responsible for sponsoring the employment pass. You must clearly define the relationship between your overseas company and the local company as well as the nature of work for the overseas consultant. For this type of employment pass, you are only allowed to apply manually and it will take at least 8 – 12 weeks. So you must prepare well in advance if you are looking to apply for this type of employment pass.


Employment Pass Renewal

Typically, your employment pass is granted for 12 – 24 months and you are allowed to process your employment pass renewal 6 months prior to the expiry of your current work pass. However, the renewal of the EP is not guaranteed. The company sponsor will still be scrutinised on whether they have enough business activities to hire the existing EP holder. Therefore, it is always better to plan in advance on documentation required before you proceed with the renewal.


Important changes to notify MOM

There are certain changes that you should notify MOM. See below for details all the changes that you are required to update MOM:

  • Reduction of salary for employment pass holder
  • Update company’s name or paid-up capital
  • Update company sales turnover
  • Change in company address
  • Transfer of existing work pass holder to related company
  • If the work pass holder has gone missing
  • Change in work pass holder’s residential address
  • New details of the EP holder’s personal particular: Passport number, name or marital status, or new passport details

Cancellation of Employment Pass

The employer is given 7 days from the last day of work to cancel the employment pass of an EP holder when he/she is no longer working in the company. In the situation when the EP expires, you are given 1 days to cancel the pass. Only the employer or an employment agency can assist in the cancellation online.

For any cancellation of employment pass, the work pass holder will be given 30 days short term visit pass to arrange for his/her departure. Before the departure, it is the responsibility of applicant to seek tax clearance from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS). The employer must also settle all outstanding salary owed to EP holder.

Pathway to Singapore Permanent Residency

As an EP holder, you are eligible to apply for the Singapore PR but the Singapore Permanent Residency follows a different set of criteria. PR is assessed based on your contribution to Singapore as an individual, your family profile, and your ability to integrate to the Singapore culture. There is not fix number of years that you have to stay to be eligible for SPR. If you are interested, you can view our Singapore PR SERVICE.

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FAQs

The employment pass processing time is 3 weeks upon submission. In certain cases like MOM additional document request or appeal submission, you need additional 3 – 5 weeks upon submission of the additional documents or appeal.
No, quota only applies to S-Pass or Work Permit but you are required to justify substantially why there is a need for the applicant.
For new application, you are granted 12 – 24 months. For renewals, 12 – 36 months.
There is no official figure for the rejection rate but as long as you have a valid reason for hiring the applicant with fair hiring practice, you should be able to get approval.
The EP is assessed based on a wide range of criteria. As long as your company has financial ability and genuine reason to hire the applicant and the applicant has the right credential, you are able to obtain the approval for an EP with the right set of documents the strengthen your case. However, when Foreign Manpower policies keep changing, it is always important to seek someone professional for you . Contact us today for free assessment.
Yes, it is possible but requires extensive justification.
Employment Pass is for salaried employee to work for a company while the entrepass is for business owner or entrepreneurs to run their business lawfully in Singapore. Learn more about entrepass.

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