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Work permit for Singapore and the application process

If you are planning on an overseas career in Singapore, you must first find a job in Singapore and then apply for a work visa to work in that country. The work visa for Singapore is called a work permit which allows foreigners to work in the country either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Apart from the Personalized Employment Pass (PEP), all work visas in Singapore are connected with the Singapore employer.

Here are details of three common work permits in Singapore:

Employment pass (EP)

If you’re a professional, first get a job in Singapore. Only your employer can apply for an EP on your behalf. You can get the Employment Pass (EP) or S Pass, depending on your experience and qualifications.

You must receive at least a fixed monthly salary of 3,900 Singapore dollars and have strong credentials to apply for the EP. If you have more qualifications or experience, your salary will be equal to the experience. To qualify for the S Pass, which is for mid-level skilled staff you need to earn a salary of 2,400 Singapore dollars per month.

You must have one or more of the following to be eligible for an Employment Pass:

  • Diploma or degree from a recognized institution
  • Qualifications (professional or educational)
  • Specialized knowledge
  • Work experience
  • Job knowledge

In certain cases, an applicant who lacks accepted educational credentials may not be automatically disqualified for an EP if he or she has other compensating positive factors in his or her favor, such as:

  • Current job, pay, and job experience should all be positive
  • Good track record from employers, high paid-up capital, and tax contribution

Have in-demand skills

Personalized Employment Pass (PEP)

The PEP is independent from any employer, allowing you to pursue opportunities in Singapore without affecting the Pass ‘s validity. Once you hold a PEP, to pursue a new job opportunity, you can stay in Singapore for up to 6 months, in between jobs. The catch is the PEP is only valid for 3 years and is non-renewable.

To apply, you must either be a current EP holder, or you must be an overseas employer who has not been unemployed for more than six months when you are applying for the PEP.

S Pass

You must be a current EP holder or an overseas employer who has not been unemployed for more than six months while applying for the PEP to be eligible.

  • Individuals with medium skills who have been offered a job in Singapore are granted this form of work visa.
  • A minimum monthly salary of 2,500S$ and, if not a proper degree, at least a professional diploma is required.
  • This form of work permit is usually valid for 1-2 years and can be extended as long as the employee is still employed by the company.
  • After working for a certain number of years in Singapore, you can apply for permanent residency.
  • It costs $105 to apply for an S Pass.

Documents required

  • ACRA should have the most recent business profile or instant details from the company.
  • Page of the candidate’s passport containing his or her personal information.
  • If the candidate’s name on the passport differs from their other documents, all of the following must be included: Letter of explanation and supporting documentation, such as a deed poll or an affidavit.

Dependent's pass (DP)

If you have moved with your spouse or parents to Singapore, who may be holders of EP or PEP, you will most likely be given a Dependant ‘s Pass (DP). As a DP Holder, you’re permitted to work without a work visa in Singapore. Your employer will then apply for a LOC (Letter of Consent) to require you to work legally.

The table below gives details of the three types of work permit in Singapore.

Name of work permit


Employment pass

For the academics, administrators and executives of foreign countries. Candidates must earn at least $3,900 a month and have the required qualifications.

Personalized employment pass

For existing high-earning Employment Pass holders or foreign professionals from outside the country. The PEP provides more flexibility than an Employment Pass.

Dependent's pass

For spouses or children of employee or S pass holders.

Work permit application process

Organizations are expected to apply for work passes on behalf of the employee. Your employer may be hiring an employment agency to help with the process.

Employers abroad must ask a Singapore-based firm to act as a local sponsor. The local sponsor is to apply on behalf of the employee.

Documents required

  • Written permission for your company to apply on your behalf
  • Copy your passport’s Personal Information page
  • Your certificates of education verified by a recognized verification agency
  • Your company’s latest business profile as registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)

Once the application has been submitted, the processing time is usually three weeks for online applications and eight weeks for manual applications.

Eligibility requirements for a work permit

  • Applicants must have a valid passport.
  • Applicants must be at least 18 years of age
  • The applicant may work within the scope of work specified by the authorities in the work permits given


Conditions of the work permit

  • Must not take part in any other business, or start your own company.
  • Work only in the occupation in the employer-specific work permit.
  • Must not marry a citizen of Singapore or a permanent resident in or outside Singapore without the permission of the Minister of Manpower.
  • Reside only at the address given at the beginning of the employment by the employer.
  • Carry the original work permit at all times and produce it for any public official to review on-demand.
  • The processing time for the work permit is usually three weeks for manual applications and eight weeks for manual applications.
  • Singapore offers options on the work permit and those who want to work here can choose the most appropriate one.

For more information or to see if you qualify, please make an enquiry with one of our qualified and experienced Migration Consultants.

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