During the last decades Singapore has become a regional business hub in Southeast Asia. Rich in history, culture and traditions blended with dynamically growing business environment and ambitious economic policies, the country is a popular destination for foreigners who look to find jobs or further their careers. According to the annual HSBC Expat Explorer survey, Singapore was ranked as the best expatriate destination in 2015 and 2016, outshining countries like New Zealand and Canada.
Before making a decision to accept a promising job offer in this country, make sure to learn all the nuances about securing a Singapore Employment Pass (EP).
Who is Eligible?
Since the 1st of January 2017, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has indicated that new applicants for Singapore work permit must earn a minimum monthly salary of S$3,600. However, depending on the qualification, skills and experience of the applicant the stipulated minimum salary may even be higher. In addition to the salary requirement, the applicant will need to demonstrate that he has satisfactory qualifications such as educational, professional or specialist skills. Other requirements the applicant must fulfill include either having a job offer or already being employed in a managerial, executive or specialised role.
Who Can Apply?
Persons of any nationality are eligible for a Singapore Employment Pass. But foreign employees cannot submit their own applications. It must be done by the employer or an authorised third party.The application can be submitted online. In the event that the employer is overseas-based with no registered office in Singapore a local sponsor is needed to make the m anual application on your behalf. The local sponsor needs to be a Singapore-registered company.
How to Apply?
In order to apply for a Singapore work permit, the applicant's personal particulars passport page and educational certificates are needed. Chinese and Indian nationals must provide additional documents related to their educational certificates. For professionals working in select industries such as food and beverage, or healthcare, other documents will be requested. Applicants, who are acting as regional representatives for overseas companies, will also be asked for additional supporting documentation. Should the documents not be in English, the documents in their original language must be submitted together with a translated English version from a translation service provider.
A S$70 fee needs to be paid upon the submission of the application, with a S$150 fee for the Employment Pass issuance.
After the submission of the application the employer or the authorised third party will receive an in-principle approval or rejection letter and then. When the pass is approved, the employer will receive the work permit itself. The worker will need to register his fingerprints upon his arrival and obtain the acknowledgement of card delivery together with his employer or authorised third party at the MOM. The final step will be to obtain the Employment Pass card.
The processing time is typically three weeks for online applications, and eight weeks for manual applications.
What about Family Members?
A person under the EP scheme is eligible to bring over his family members to Singapore provided certain requirements are fulfilled. The key criteria is that the EP holder must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$5,000. The application must be submitted by the employer. It can be done during the EP application process or separately.
The EP holder can obtain Dependant's Passes for his legally married spouse, and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 including children who have been legally adopted. A common-law spouse, unmarried children with disabilities above the age of 21 or unmarried stepchildren under the age of 21, as well as parents of a EP holder can obtain Long Term Visit Passes. EP holders who want to bring their parents to Singapore must receive a monthly salary of at least S$10,000.
How to Renew the EP?
An employment pass can be renewed six months prior to its expiration. The renewal application must be submitted by the employer or an appointed employment agent. The renewal procedure takes three weeks, if done online or eight weeks, if it is an EP sponsorship. The validity period of a renewed EP is up to three years. However, the renewal of an EP is not guaranteed, and will instead go through an evaluation process based on the existing criteria.