Singapore Work Permit

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What Is Work Permit in Singapore?

The Work Permit is a employment visa that allows foreign unskilled labor force from approved Asian countries to pursue employment in Singapore’s booming and promising niches such as services, construction, manufacturing, marine, process and so on. Due to this visa’s low qualification criterion for foreigners, it implies higher demands and certain restrictions for hiring firms such as levies, quotas, a bond, and appropriate health coverage for every WP holder.


Eligibility Criteria and Requirements for Singapore Work Permit

Working visa demands for expats:

  • Foreigners must come from certain government-approved countries such as Malaysia, China, India, Bangladesh, Hong Kong – just to name a few. Please find out your country’s eligibility in our online consulting room.
  • Expats seeking the WP have to be at least 18 YO; the upper age limit is 58 YO for the Malaysians and 50 for other nationalities.
  • Expat’s passport must be valid.
  • Holders of WP can work only according to the specifications of their working visa. Getting involved in another employment or personal business is illegal and leads to the visa’s cancelation.

Work visa demands for the hiring firm:

  • Employer is obliged to pay an employee the declared wages.
  • Contract on WP is subject to such restrictions as a security bond of 5,000 SGD (for non-Malaysian expats), quota, and levy. Quota means that the firm isn’t allowed to hire more foreigners on WP than 20% of the firm’s staff (15% if the firm operates in the service sector). Levies are monthly payments for a hired unskilled worker. This amount of money is skill-dependent: the lower the worker’s skills are, the higher this levy would be.
  • Hiring firm covers the worker’s needs for healthcare: buying insurance (15,000 SGD) for the WP holder, paying compensations in case of getting work related injuries, and covering the employee’s medical expenses.
  • Employer is responsible for catering for the WP holder’s housing, social and recreational needs.
  • Hiring firm bears all costs of worker’s repatriation (buying tickets and so on).

Features and Benefits of Working Permit

  • Foreign worker isn’t allowed to apply for the WP; this option is only for the hiring firm (or a visa agency that acts on the employer’s behalf). Therefore, this work pass implies getting a job in Singapore first.
  • Only certain nationalities are eligible for the Work Permit. Please check your nationality’s eligibility for the chosen sector of SG economy in our online consulting room or on the website of the MOM.
  • Processing of this visa takes only 1 working day.
  • There are no salary demands for the WP; however, these salaries are lower than those of S Pass holders (below 2,200 SGD).
  • Maximum term of WP is 2 years, but in your particular situation, this term can be shorter depending on the expat’s passport validity, employment term, security bond, and other factors.
  • Hiring firm must pay a levy for unskilled staff employed on WP and watch over staying within the quota of 20% (15% for services).
  • Unless the expat comes from Malaysia, a security bond of 5,000 SGD must be paid for this worker.
  • Work visa can be extended if both the expat and the hiring firm meet the renewal criteria.
  • Foreigners working on WP aren’t allowed to have their families join them in SG.
  • Foreigners holding WP cannot run their own companies in SG.
  • WP holders aren’t eligible for getting the status of the permanent resident.
  • Only Malaysian Work Permit holders can swap employers without resigning from the old job first. WP holders of all other nationalities must get their visa canceled before processing a new WP for a new job.

The inrush of unskilled foreign manpower from Asian countries is terrific, and to hold back it, the government came up with strict criteria and restrictions that ought to make the local manpower more appealing for Singaporean companies. Employers who prefer to hire foreign employees on the Work Permit face tough demands that make rejections quite frequent. The reasons are many. For example, the MOM wouldn’t give approval if the employer exceeds the quota or a firm was spotted in violations of the local employees. If the firm is new and the government knows nothing about its activity, it can also cause rejection. Other reasons can be foreigner’s origin that doesn’t fit the scope of approved countries or bad educational qualifications (the employee hasn’t finished school, for example).

The rejection doesn’t mean the end as a well-considered appeal can save the situation. To strike a target, it is crucial to follow advisory the MOM gives in the rejection letter. The applicant must diligently consider the issues described and try to address them in an effective way. The authorities warn that if the applicant isn’t capable of addressing the problem, such appeal won’t be effective.

3 months the government gives for appeal are usually enough to fix the issue and prepare documents that reflect the change. If submitted in time, the appeal will be in processing during 3 weeks. If you have doubts that you are able to sort the issues out and do the appropriate paperwork, it’s essential to involve professional visa help for the timely and effective appeal.

Only online application is possible for the working permit. The employer or the visa agent that acts in the firm’s behalf should apply for this work visa using the firm’s account on WP Online service. Your request will be processed in 1 working day provided that no issues with documents occur.

If the outcome of the application is positive, the approval letter allows the foreigner to arrive in Singapore. Before the worker arrives, the hiring firm must pay the security bond (Malaysians workers do not need it) and buy an insurance for the worker. Upon foreigner’s arrival, a medical and visa registration must be passed.

After the visa is issued, it will be valid a maximum of 2 years. Your real term will be 1 month shorter than the passport validity or 2 months shorter than the security bond, but no longer than 24 months.

Like for any other working visa, for working permit, it is important that the foreigner and the hiring firm is represented from the most winning sides. If the firm is new and applies for the work visa for the first time, the authorities must get exhaustive information about the firm’s business model and employment policy (activity in creating jobs for locals). This requires an elaborate profile-building and meticulous paperwork. It’s crucial to learn your WP eligibility before lodging an application as new firms must meet lots of special criteria to become eligible to hire foreigners.

Even seasoned employers who already know the procedure sometimes lack professional backup in complex situations. Please bring your doubts to us and try our free assessment tool to find out your profile’s weaknesses that must be pulled up for getting a guaranteed WP approval.

If the visa is going to expire and an employer still needs a foreigner on the staff, the working permit can be extended for another 24 months. But to get it, the foreigner’s passport must be at least 1 month longer (25 months). The option of renewal is activated on WP Online approximately 8 weeks before the visa expires.

Key facts about WP renewal:

  • Renewal of this working visa is immediate; however, if you fail to renew it in time, a fee will be imposed.
  • If the employer knows in advance he/she won’t be able to meet the deadlines, an extension can be requested.
  • Renewals can be made only for those expats who are eligible (you can find the detailed info about them on your WP Online account). For ineligible WP holders, an appeal must be made.
  • In any case, a new run of the working visa obliges the employer to buy a new insurance and extend the security bond.

If you have any issues on any stage of this procedure, we are ready to assist you in getting necessary extensions and strategizing a winning appeal.

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