How to Get the Employment Pass Work Permit for Singapore

Learn how to get an Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore quickly and easily
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Singapore is a hot travel destination for tourists from all over the world. It’s also quickly becoming a major relocation destination for skilled professionals looking to find work abroad.

Professionals in a variety of industries are flocking to Singapore to explore new opportunities. Those in the tech industry, in particular, are eager to relocate here and play a role in building Singapore’s rapidly growing tech sector, which now hosts major companies like Google, Facebook, and Stripe.

Have you been considering looking for work in Singapore? Before you pack your bags and start planning your big move, remember that you’ll need to be approved for a work permit before you can be legally employed here.

Lots of options will come up when you’re looking for a work permit in Singapore, but the Singapore Employment Pass is one of the most well-known permits. Read on to learn all about it.

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What Is the Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore?

Singapore Employment Pass is one of the most popular work visas for Singapore-bound professionals. It is issued by the Ministry of Manpower and is available to a variety of foreign employees, including industry professionals, managers, and executives, as well as the owners and directors of various Singaporean companies.

Once you’ve obtained an Employment Pass work permit in Singapore, you’re legally allowed to live and work here. You can also travel in and out of the country without applying for a new entry visa each time.

What are the Employment Pass Permit Requirements and Eligibility Criteria?

Like other types of employment visas, the Singapore Employment Pass work permit comes with a specific set of requirements that you must meet before you can apply and be approved. The following are some of the most important requirements for applicants to meet if they want to be considered eligible:

Monthly Earnings

To qualify for the Employment Pass work permit, you must earn a certain amount of money per month. For young professionals (those under the age of 40), your minimum monthly earnings must be at least $4,500 (or $5,000 if you work in the financial sector).

Singapore’s monthly earning requirements vary depending on the amount of job experience you have, too. For older professionals, you will need to have a higher monthly income (closer to $9,000 per month) to be eligible for an Employment Pass.

Education

Employment Pass eligibility is also dependent upon the qualifications you’ve received from accredited institutions.

The Singaporean government has created a list of approved institutions, and you must have received training from one of them before you can be approved for an Employment Pass. The list of acceptable institutions can be found here.

Singapore Employment Pass Self-Assessment Tool

After reading through this list of requirements, are you still confused about whether or not you should apply for the Singapore Employment Pass?

If you’re on the fence, the Employment Pass Self-Assessment Tool, which is created by the  Ministry of Manpower and available through their website, can help. This easy-to-use tool is accessible 24-7 and asks a series of questions to help you to decide whether the Employment Pass is the right work permit for you. 

You can gain a lot of valuable information from the Employment Pass Self-Assessment Tool, and it can save you (and your employer and the government) a lot of time.

However, you should also remember that the results you get from this tool won’t serve as a guarantee that your application will be approved. You and your employer will go through a series of checks before you can receive your Employment Pass.

How can I Apply for the Employment Pass in Singapore?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of this work permit, let’s explore the specific process you’ll need to go through to get your hands on it:

Receive a Job Offer

Foreign job seekers must remember that only a representative from a Singapore Registered Company can apply for an Employment Pass.

In other words, you must receive a job offer from an approved business before you can begin the application process. You can’t fill out the forms online and then start searching for a job once you arrive in Singapore. 

If you haven’t yet received a job offer from a company in Singapore, this is where the process begins. Hop online and search for businesses that are hiring workers with your experience level and unique skill set.

Not sure where to start your job search? Head to the GrabJobs Singapore Jobs page to learn about openings throughout the country and in your specific industry. This tool makes it easy for you to search based on a variety of factors, including skills requirements, salary, education requirements, and location.

When you’re looking at listings for Singapore jobs, be sure to double-check that, for each ad you’re thinking about responding to, the company has also listed the position on the MyCareersFuture website.

This is a government website, and the Singaporean government requires all eligible companies to list jobs here as well as on other sites when it opens up positions to foreign workers. This helps to ensure that Singaporean workers aren’t excluded from the application, interview, and hiring process.

If you need additional help finding a job in Singapore, check out some of the other GrabJObs guides. The GrabJobs Salary Guide Article, Salary Guide Tool for Singapore, and list of the Most In-Demand Jobs in Singapore can all help you find the right job faster.

After receiving a job offer, your potential employer will need to take the reins. They’ll go through the following steps to get your Employment Pass and set you up for a successful work-life in Singapore.

Submit an Application

Once you’ve received a job offer, your employer will need to submit an application to the Ministry of Manpower for you to get your Employment Pass.

This process begins with written consent from you giving them permission to apply on your behalf. Once you’ve given permission, they’ll fill out the application online and will pay a fee of $105.

It typically takes about 3 weeks for your application to either be approved or denied. If more information is needed, though, it may take longer for you to get approval.

If and when the pass is approved, your employer will receive an IPA (In-Principle Approval) letter, a well as a passholder’s copy addressed to you. This copy includes a pre-approved, single-entry visa that allows you to enter Singapore legally.

Travel to Singapore

After receiving the IPA letter, your employer has 6 months to bring you to Singapore and continue with the pass issuing process.

You will likely need to undergo a medical examination when you arrive in Singapore, and you will need to comply with certain health regulations. This includes Stay-Home Notices and required COVID-19 tests to ensure you are in good health and aren’t contributing to the spread of the virus.

Singapore takes public health measures surrounding COVID-19 very seriously, and you will need to as well when you arrive here.

Get the Employment Pass

After you arrive in Singapore, your employer can move forward with getting your employment pass issued to you. To do this, they’ll need to log in to the Ministry of Manpower portal and provide additional information and documents. They’ll also need to pay a fee of $225 for your pass, plus $30 for a Multiple Journey Visa (if relevant to your position at the company).

Once the pass has been issued, you’ll receive a notification letter via email (as will your employer).

This letter, which is valid for 1 month, allows you to start working in Singapore, as well as travelling in and out of the country while you wait for your official pass card. It will also indicate whether or not you need to have your photo and fingerprints taken to register your card.

Some of the documents your employer will need to get your pass issued include:

  • Your passport details
  • Your Singapore contact details
  • Your current Short-Term Visit Pass details
  • Your Singapore residential address
  • Your Singapore office address
  • A list of up to 3 authorised individuals who can receive the card (plus their contact information and passport details) 
  • Your passport page that shows the date you arrived in Singapore 
  • Your completed medical examination form
  • Your completed declaration form (attached to your IPA letter)

Register Fingerprints and Photo

If your notification letter indicates that you must register your fingerprints and photo, this is the next step in getting your official Employment Pass.

To complete this step, you must visit the Employment Pass Services Centre (or EPSC). Bring the following documents with you:

  • Your original passport
  • Your appointment letter
  • Your notification letter

 Remember, you’ll need to register your photo and fingerprints within 2 weeks of receiving your notification letter.

Receive the Employment Pass

Finally, you’ll be ready to receive your official Employment Pass card. 

This card will be delivered to the address listed on your application within 4 working days of having your documents verified at the EPSC. You and the other authorised recipients will receive an SMS message or email with specific delivery details at least 1 working day prior to the delivery.

If the delivery fails 2 more times after the initial attempt, you (or another authorised individual) will need to go to the EPSC and pick it up. You can do this 3 working days after the second failed attempt. You don’t need to make an appointment, but you will need to bring the following documents:

  • Your original passport
  • Your notification letter

Employment Pass Frequently Asked Questions

At this point, you might still have some questions about the Employment Pass work permit and how it differs from other Singapore job visa options. If this is the case, read the answers to these frequently asked questions, or visit HRPlus so you can gain some more insight

How Long Does It Take to Get Approved?

For most work visas in Singapore, including the Employment Pass, it initially takes about 3 weeks to have your application approved or denied. It can take up to 8 weeks for employers that don’t have a Singapore-registered office, though.

Once you arrive in Singapore (within 6 months of your application approval), the process moves fairly quickly. Within a few weeks, typically, you’ll be able to start working and traveling normally.  

What About My Dependents if I Have an Employment Pass?

After you’ve been approved for an Employment Pass, you can apply for a Dependent Pass in Singapore for your spouse or children. The Dependent Pass in Singapore allows them to travel to and live in Singapore with you.

The Dependent Pass is currently available to legally married spouses, as well as unmarried children under the age of 21. Legally adopted children are eligible for the Dependent Pass, too. 

What Is the Difference between Employment Pass and S Pass in Singapore?

When you start searching for a work pass in Singapore, you may face some confusion when trying to differentiate between the Employment Pass and the S Pass.

One of the main differences between these two passes is that the S Pass is meant for unskilled and non-technical workers. The Employment Pass, on the other hand, is meant for highly skilled professionals and executives.

There are also differences in income requirements. S Pass applicants must earn at least $2,500 per month, while Employment Pass applicants must earn at least $4,500-$5,000 per month.

Can I Get Medical Insurance with an Employment Pass?

Another primary difference between the Employment Pass and the S Pass has to do with medical insurance.

Employers that apply for an S Pass for a foreign employee are legally required to pay for medical insurance for that employee for as long as they work for them. Employers that apply for an Employment Pass can provide medical insurance for their employees, but they’re not required by law to do so.

Many employers still choose to offer insurance to their employees after offering them a job and obtaining an Employment Pass for them, but it is not a guarantee. This is something worth discussing with your employer before accepting their job offer.

When Do I Need to Renew My Employment Pass?

As a first-time Employment Pass holder, you’re able to work for 1 year before renewing your employment pass. After it’s been renewed, it can be granted for up to 3 years, but some work pass renewals may only be granted for only 1 or 2 years.

How Often Can I Renew My Employment Pass?

You can renew your Singapore employment pass an indefinite number of times.

There are no restrictions on renewals. However, there are also no guarantees that your renewal will be approved.

The Singaporean government reserves the right to deny a renewal request for any reason they deem fit. They also are not required to share that reason with you. 

Final Thoughts on the Singapore Employment Pass

Now that you know more about what’s required to apply and get approved for a Singapore Employment Pass, are you ready to start the process?

From landing a job to renewing your work permit, everything you need can be found in this guide. Keep it in mind and the whole application process will be much easier to manage.

Before applying for a Singapore job visa, remember that you need to first get hired by an approved company. Do you need help finding job openings?

If so, head to our career resources page today. It’s full of helpful information, including job search tips and guides that will help you impress during every job interview.

Valentin Berard

COO at GrabJobs. Valentin leads strategic and operational activities regionally. Background in Business Development and Recruitment. Passionate about social innovation, he constantly strives to find solutions to real-world problems through harnessing smart technology. Read more: https://www.linkedin.com/in/valeberard/