Singapore is building its future economy to take advantage of globalisation trends. As such, attracting international expertise, skills, and knowledge in specific targeted industries is key. With its small land size, slow population growth, and lack of international exposure within the local workforce, Singapore must hinge on talented foreigners to plug skill gaps and facilitate knowledge transfer.
Engage IASG to take advantage of Singapore’s growing economy!
Contribute to Singapore’s Economy Through Highly Talented Manpower
Foreigners who intend to work in Singapore need to ensure that they have a valid work pass. This functions similar to a work visa. The Singapore Government Agency responsible for the administration of Work Passes in Singapore is the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). There are various types of work passes available to support the varying skill-levels of talent. Candidates (through their Employers or Employment Agency) may apply for a Work Pass according to their respective eligibility.
Balancing Singapore’s local and foreign talent pool is vital to the nation’s economic and social interests. As such, policies surrounding labour law are forever intertwined with immigration policies so as to ensure Singapore’s manpower is functioning efficiently and productively to support the industries.
The IASG team is experienced and well versed in the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) regulations and requirements and undergoes regular training sessions to keep current. With exposure to various cases, we can advise accurately on your prevailing circumstances, anticipate success or failure, and maintain a 98% success rate on applications. We do this with speed and precision to meet your business needs.
Determining a Pass that is Suitable for You
Immigration@SG (IASG) helps individual candidates, business owners, and Human Resource Departments of MNCs and SMEs with the various types of work pass applications and visas.
We will perform an initial profile analysis with you, free of charge. This is a key phase in the entire application process as we will use this session to understand your background, reasons for applying for a Work Pass as well as analyse your current strengths and weaknesses in relation to what the Singapore Government is looking for. You can also use this session to clarify any queries pertaining to any application and immigration policy matters.
With your background information, we will be able to advise you on the correct pass type to apply for and we will provide advisory and instructions that can help boost your chances significantly.
Benefits of Working In Singapore
Singapore Immigration Roadmap
How IASG Boosts Work Pass Applications
IASG adopts an effective strategic and thoughtful approach to all Work Pass applications to ensure the highest probability of obtaining approval. Unlike many employment agencies, IASG does not approach Work Pass applications simply as an over the counter or transactional business.
IASG takes pride in understanding the nuances of business requirements. With an in-depth understanding of governing policies and an ever evolving policy landscape, IASG has maintained a high level of work pass approvals for clients ranging from Multinational Corporations (MNCs) , Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Startups, Family Offices, and also sole proprietors or lone Directors who wishes to establish their first foothold into Singapore.
Approach to Work Pass Applications
We will handle the entire pass application process with the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and/or other government agencies, which involves:
1. Collating relevant documents required for the application
2. Drafting and submitting applications electronically/manually
3. Providing additional documents, if requested by MOM
4. Issuing passes electronically/manually
5. Assist on medical examinations, if required by MOM
6. Prepare appeals (for rejected applications)
Post-Application Management & Advisory
Once the application has been submitted, we will be tracking and updating you on the status of your pass applications, including arranging for the collection/delivery of physical cards. We will also assist in monitoring pass expiry dates for future action, which consist of:
There are five categories of work passes in Singapore.
- Professional – Employment Pass (EP), Entrepass, Personalised Employment Pass (PEP), Tech.Pass, and effective January 2023, the One Pass.
- Skilled and semi-skilled workers – S Pass, Work Permit for migrant worker, Work Permit for migrant domestic worker, Work Permit for confinement nanny, Work Permit for performing artiste
- Trainees and Students – Training Employment Pass, Work Holiday Pass (under Work Holiday Programme), Work Holiday Pass (under Work and Holiday Visa Programme), Training Work Permit
- Family members – Dependant’s Pass, Long Term Visit Pass, Pre-approved Letter of Consent, Letter of Consent for ICA-issued LTVP/LTVP+ holders, Letter of Consent for Dependant’s Pass holders who are business owners
- Exemptions and working while on a visit pass – Miscellaneous Work Pass, Work Pass Exempt Activities, Work pass exemption for foreign students, Work passes for holders of Long Term Visit Passes issued by ICA
If you are currently or previously an Employment Pass (EP) or S Pass holder, you can marry a Singaporean. However, if you are currently or previously a Work Permit holder, you will need to get an approval from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
The duration of stay after a work pass expires is at the sole discretion of the Ministry of Manpower. By default, an S-Pass or Employment Pass / PEP holder has to make arrangements to leave Singapore within 1 month from the date of pass expiry. Work Permit holders on the other hand have about 2 weeks on average.
However, the duration may change depending on the circumstances that led to the pass expiry or termination, including but not limited to Employment Termination, Misconduct, Criminal Charges, Resignation, and closure of business entities just to name a few.
No, you would need to have a job offer by a Singapore-registered company first. The employer or an authorised employment agent will apply for your work pass on your behalf to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Yes, it can be challenging to secure a work visa in Singapore. Due to Singapore’s size, reliance on foreign talent is dependent on gaps in the workforce that locals are unable to fill. Gaps could also be present in areas where locals lack the talent and expertise. For such, the Singapore Government is reliant on highly qualified foreigners to complement the local talent pool.
Qualified candidates may thus find it relatively easy to get a Singapore work pass, depending on the type of employment and the type of pass you are eligible for. A foreigner needs to be offered a job by a Singapore-registered company first before getting a work pass. Most of the work pass can only be applied by the employer or an authorised agent on behalf of the candidate.
Business owners on the other hand can secure a valid Work Pass as the Director of their own newly incorporated business fairly easily, so long as they have the right documentation and possess a relatively clean record during the necessary due diligence checks.
No, once you attain an IPA for whichever pass, you are required to complete the issuance process before you are eligible to commence working. With the issuance done, MOM will provide a temporary documentation (Notification Letter) that allows the applicant to commence working.
He/She is concurrently required to schedule an appointment at the MOM Pass office to register their biometrics and iris scans. The actual pass will then be ready for collection in a couple of weeks time.
You can stay in Singapore for the period of your travel visa only. An IPA is not treated as a travel visa. Although IPAs typically have a 3-6 month validity, successful applicants are advised to complete the IPA processing as soon as possible to avoid any complications that may arise due to overstaying.
The main difference is in salary scales and job technical expertise. The respective passes are meant for professionals with mid-level skills and high-level qualifications and technicians. Apart from the eligibility, S Pass holders are granted mandatory medical insurance while Employment Pass (EP) holders are granted more perks, such as family passes, should their salary threshold meet minimum requirements. Further, business will need to adhere to quota requirements before qualifying to apply for an S-Pass. However, there are no quotas set out for Employment Passes (EP).
No, S Pass and Work Permit are two different work passes in Singapore. S Pass is for mid-level skilled workers while Work Permit is for semi skilled and migrant workers.
As of 1 Sep 2023, a minimum fixed monthly salary of $3,150 is needed for a candidate to be eligible for an S Pass in non-financial related positions. This figure will increase progressively with age and may have a base requirement of up to $4,650 for candidates aged 45 years old and above.
For applicants in the Financial Services sector, the fixed monthly salary is S$3,650 and will increase progressively with age and may have a base requirement of up to $5,650 for candidates aged 45 years old and above.
There will be further changes to the S Pass qualifying salary on 1 September 2025 onwards.
Both the E Pass (aka Employment Pass or EP) and S Pass have their own distinct features. One is not better than the other. Depending on one’s qualifications and experience plus the employers company hierarchy and structure, attaining an S-Pass or EP may serve the same purpose. It is best to seek the advise from a professional like IASG before embarking on one’s foreign talent staffing strategy.
With the borders opening up and Singapore’s further enforcement of the Fair Consideration Framework, it is becoming increasingly challenging to attain an Employment Pass (EP). Jobs which can be fulfilled by locals should ideally be accorded to such. There has a seismic shift now in looking on to foreign talent that can immediately complement the local talent pool.
For candidates who meets such criteria or possess such skillsets, it is relatively easy to get an Employment Pass in Singapore, as long as the candidate meets all the other prevailing eligibility criteria.
Employment pass may be rejected due to the reasons below:
- Tightening of regulations by MOM
- No efforts in hiring local workers by the employer
- Company does not have sufficient funds
- Candidate’s proposed salary
- Job scope and candidate’s qualifications do not match
- Position can be easily replaced by a Singaporean
- Applicant did not fulfil the eligibility criteria
- Discrepancies in applicant’s personal information
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), 85% of online applications are processed within 3 weeks. For overseas companies without a Singapore-registered office, it will take within 8 weeks for most cases.
MOM will exercise best practices to process all applications within its standard service level agreement requirements. However, there could be times when there are influx of applications that may surge and cause delays in overall processing times. For example, when the Singapore Government announced easing on border measures, there was a surge in EP and SPass applications that delayed overall processing time.
An Employment Pass allows a foreigner to work in Singapore without the need for attaining any other special visas. After 2 years, the foreigner is eligible to apply for a Singapore Permanent Residence. EP holders who earns the minimum threshold may also be eligible to sponsor their Spouse and Children below 21 years old under a Dependent’s Pass (DP).
An EP is typically granted for 2 years. Employment Pass (EP) may be renewed thereafter for up to 3 years at a time. This is again at the sole discretion of the Ministry of Manpower.