Working in Singapore
Given that Singapore is one of the best places in the world in which to start a business, many professionals travel to Singapore seeking employment and business opportunities! See why Singapore is a great place to incorporate your company as a foreigner. As a foreign worker wishing to stay and work in the small and robust city-state, you have a lot of different visa options available.
No matter what type of visa you’re looking for, every single foreigner with the intention to work in Singapore must obtain a valid work permit. Work visa options in Singapore include: EntrePass, Employment Pass, S Pass, Personalized Employment Permit, and the Singapore Work Visa. Depending on the type of pass you want, you may need to meet certain educational requirements or a minimum monthly salary.
We’ll discuss each type of visa below and the requirements, benefits, and limitations of each. We’re focusing on the most common employment passes offered in Singapore, and sort them into two categories: professionals and lesser qualified professionals.
Pass types available:
- Employment Pass (EP)
- Personalised Employment Pass
The Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of work visa. It’s available for foreign professionals, managers, executives, owners, and directors who meet the eligibility criteria and wish to work in Singapore. The EP is valid for 1-2 years and renewable thereafter. An EP visa enables one to work and live in Singapore and travel in and out of the country freely without having to apply for Singapore entry visas. This makes it easier for entrepreneurs to not only runt their business, but also explore nearby parts of the world.
Candidates must meet these requirements in order to obtain an EP:
- Minimum monthly salary of S$3,000
- Degree certifying completion and passing of three levels from a reputable university
- Possess relevant professional experience
Please note that in some cases, lacking the necessary education level may be compensated by strong professional experience and a good salary
There are three types of Employment Passes – P1, P2, and Q1.
There are two options to file the application – Manual and Online. You are required to submit the completed form and the required documents to the Ministry of Manpower to process your EP application.
EntrePass is another visa option for foreign entrepreneurs wishing to start and operate a new business in Singapore. The EntrePass is valid for up to 2 years and is a good option for individuals who do not meet the educational requirements or who do not qualify for the Employment Pass. The EntrePass does, however, require a proven track record of successful entrepreneurial experience.
The biggest con associated with the EntrePass is the requirement that applicants prove to the government that they have the financial means to sustain your stay and start a business while in Singapore. To be eligible for the EntrePass, the candidate must fulfill the criteria outlined by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore:
You can apply for an EntrePass if you:
- Have started (or intend to start) a private limited company registered with ACRA
- If registered, the company must be less than 6 months old on the date you apply
- If not registered, you can do so after you know the outcome of your application
- Meet any of the following minimum eligibility criteria for application as an entrepreneur, innovator or investor
Applicant must meet at least one of the seven following criteria as an entrepreneur, innovator or investor:
- Has funding from a Government-recognised VC or business angel
- Is an incubate at Government-recognised incubator or accelerator
- Business network and entrepreneurial track record
- Holds an intellectual property
- Has a research collaboration with an IHL or research institute in Singapore
- Extraordinary achievements in key areas of expertise
- Investment track record
Personalised Employment Pass
A Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a special Employment Pass reserved for high-earning existing Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals with high salaries. The PEP offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.
You can apply for a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) if you are:
- An overseas foreign professional and your last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas was at least $18,000 (Your last drawn salary should have been within 6 months before you apply)
- An Employment Pass holder earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000
You are not eligible for the PEP if you are:
- An Employment Pass holder under the sponsorship scheme
- A freelancer or foreigner who intends to work on a freelance-basis
- A sole proprietor, partner or director and shareholder in an ACRA-registered company
- A journalist, editor, sub-editor or producer
To keep holding a PEP, you must:
- Not be unemployed in Singapore for more than 6 months at any time. Otherwise, you will need to cancel the pass
- Earn a fixed salary of at least $144,000 per calendar year, regardless of the number of months you are in employment
As a PEP holder, you should notify MOM of the following:
- When you start or leave a job.
- If you change your contact details, such as local contact person or address
- Your annual fixed salary (Must be declared to MOM by 31 January of every year)
Work Pass for Lesser Qualified Professionals
Pass types available:
- S Pass
- Singapore Work Permit
The S pass is meant for mid-skilled foreigners of all nationalities. Candidates must:
- Have a fixed salary of at least $2200. Older, more experienced applicants will require higher salaries
- Possess a degree or diploma
- Have years of work experience in a relevant field
Please note that older, more experienced applicants require higher salaries
Singapore Work Permit (WP)
There are actually a few Work Permit options available. WP Visas are granted to the following:
- Foreign workers who wish to work in Singapore: The workers should be from an approved source of country or territory. It depends on the sector in which the worker is going to work.
- Foreign domestic workers (who come to Singapore to work as domestic help): The employer needs to apply for this kind of visa. The validity of the visa is two years.
- Performing artists (who wish to perform at any Public Entertainment Licensed outlet in Singapore such as discotheques, bars, lounges, pubs, nightclubs, hotels, restaurants, or private clubs): The validity of the visa is six months.
- Confinement nannies (who come to work in Singapore for a short period of 16 weeks): The employer needs to apply for a confinement nanny visa.
Singapore offers several types of work related visas for foreigners who want to work in the country. Singapore’s government created straightforward and clear guidelines for each type of work visa. Still, it is helpful to seek the assistance of a corporate services firm if you are planning to apply.
Find out how much it would cost you to apply for some of those visas here.