Singapore Visas, Employment, and Family Relocation

Singapore has a very competitive and hospitable environment for workers and professionals from all over the globe who would like the opportunity to work in this little island nation. It has always kept its doors open to foreign talent who will fill up sought after positions in different sectors, such as banking and financial services, tourism and hospitality, marine and construction, and many more. For the uninitiated, applying for employment passes and work permits can be a daunting task. But with Singapore’s creative and highly organized system in application and issuance of employment passes and work permits, this seemingly complicated task has become very easy and quick to accomplish.  

A) For Entrepreneurs / Business Owners

1 - Employment Pass

The Employment Pass is issued to foreign professionals, managers, and executives who receive at least S$3,300 a month (to be raised to S$3,600 effective 1 January 2017) and meet the qualifications of Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower. Employment Pass (E-Pass) holders should have a good degree from university, and possess relevant professional and specialist skills. There must be a proven track record and a notable skill set that will be considered, depending upon the situation. 

The Employment Pass can be granted to all nationalities. There is no quota and no foreign worker levy to be paid. For candidates who will be issued the Employment Pass for the first time, the validity is up to 2 years. Employment Pass renewals can be valid up to 3 years. 

Do note that if you intend to call Singapore your new home, there are minimum salary requirements to sponsoring your immediate family for their stay in SIngapore. If an Employment Pass holder meets the minimum monthly salary of S$5,000 a month (with effect 1st September 2015), the pass holder is able to sponsor the spouse / children to live and stay in Singapore under the Dependant’s Pass. A minimum monthly salary of S$10,000 will make the pass holder eligible to sponsor the parents under the Long Term Visit Pass. 


2- Entrepass

The Entrepass is issued to all eligible foreign entrepreneurs who want to set up and operate a new business in Singapore. To be granted the Entrepass, the candidate must have, or intend to start, a private limited company registered under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. 

If the candidate already has a registration, the company must not be older than 6 months upon date of application, and the candidate must have at least 30% of the company shares. The candidate must also have at least S$50,000 in paid up capital. Like the Employment Pass, the Entrepass is granted to all nationalities. No foreign worker levy or quota required.

If you are thinking of putting up a coffee shop, a hawker centre, or a food court, as well as bars, night clubs, karaoke lounges, massage parlours, employment agencies, or any kind of acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, or geomancy business, these are not eligible for the Entrepass.


3 - Personalized Employment Pass

The Personalized Employment Pass is designed for the high-earning existing Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals. Just like the name suggests, the Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) provides more flexibility than the Employment Pass.

If the candidate is an E-Pass Holder who receives at least S$12,000 fixed monthly salary, or if the candidate is an overseas foreign professional whose last drawn monthly salary was more than S$18,000, he is eligible for the Personalized Employment Pass. However, freelancers, journalists, editors, and producers, as well as sole proprietors, partners, directors, and shareholders of ACRA-registered companies are not. There is no foreign worker levy or quota required.

As part of the requirements of the Personalized Employment Pass, the pass will be cancelled if the PEP holder remains unemployed at any time for a period of more than 6 months. The pass holder should earn at least S$144,000 per year, regardless of how long he has been employed that year. The Ministry of Manpower must also be notified in case the pass holder switches jobs, or changes addresses and contact details. Before the 31st of January of the year, the pass holder must declare his annual fixed salary.  

With the Personalized Employment Pass, the pass holder can be employed in different jobs from different sectors, with no need to apply for a new employment pass each time. No need to worry about overstaying in Singapore, too, because the pass holder can stay in the country even without work up to 6 months. 


B) For your Employees

S Pass

The S Pass is applied for mid-level skilled staff who earn a monthly salary of at least S$2,200 and meet other S Pass criteria. They are usually degree or diploma holders and have more relevant professional experience. Technical certificates can be considered for technician and specialist courses, provided they include at least a year of full-time study. 

The S Pass is open to all nationalities. It is valid up to 2 years upon approval and issue, and employers will be subject to a quota of S Pass holders in their company, and levies will have to be paid for their S Pass employees. Medical insurance must also be provided by the employers.  

Work Permit for Foreign Workers

A work permit must be applied for semi-skilled foreign workers who will be working in the construction, marine, manufacturing, process, or services sector. The employer or the employer’s authorized employment agency shall apply for the permit. The work permit that will be issued is valid for up to 2 years, depending on the passport validity of the worker and the employment period. It can be renewed as well. However, unlike the Employment Pass and the S Pass, passes are not extended to the work permit holder’s family members. 

Employers will have to follow the quota requirements per industry and pay the levy for each worker. They must also provide medical insurance.  


C) For your Family

Dependant’s Pass

A Dependant’s Pass can be applied for a professional worker’s legally married spouse or unmarried children under 21 years, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for Employment Pass and S Pass. It is also applied for by the pass holder’s employer or authorized employment agency, and is usually valid up to 2 years, or until the main work pass is valid. It is renewable, and the Dependant’s Pass holder will be able to find jobs and work in Singapore.

There is no quota for the Dependant’s Pass, and no foreign worker levy will be paid. 

Long Term Visit Pass

The pass holder’s spouse, stepchild, or handicapped child can apply for the Long Term Visit Pass if the main pass holder meets the eligibility requirements for Employment Pass and S Pass. Pass holders who are earning more than S$8,000 can also apply for the parents. 
Like the Dependant’s Pass, the Long Term Visit Pass is applied for by the main pass holder’s employer or authorized employment agency, and has a validity of 2 years, or as long as the main pass is still valid. It is renewable after expiry, and the pass holder will be able to look for jobs and work in Singapore. There is no quota, and there is no foreign worker levy for this type of pass. 

Piloto Asia's team of experts on Singapore immigration advisory can provide you with solutions that your business needs. With their wide range of services, from tax and accounting, corporate services, start-up assistance, to digital solutions, Piloto Asia is truly the one-stop solutions provider trusted by many.