Work Permits for Singapore

There are three kinds of work permits for Singapore expats are most likely to apply for.

The Employment Pass is for qualified professionals, the S Pass is for mid-level candidates and the Work Permit is for semi-skilled workers in fields like construction.

To qualify for any of these permits, expats will first need to secure a job offer in Singapore.

Work permits for Singapore

Employment Pass (EP)

To qualify for an Employment Pass for Singapore, candidates need to have an offer for a specialised or management-level job in the country.

Applicants that are recent graduates of a good internationally recognised university will need to be set to earn at least 3,600 SGD a month, though more experienced candidates would likely need to be offered more to qualify – the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) determines whether the amount is in line with local standards.

Expats wouldn’t apply for themselves, however; it’s done by the employer or an employment agent on their behalf before they arrive in Singapore.

The duration of an EP is up to two years for first-time applicants and can be renewed for up to three years.

Candidates who earn 5,000 SGD a month or more can have their employer apply for a Dependant’s Pass for their (legally married) spouse and children younger than 21 years old. Separate applications will need to be made for each family member.

S Pass

To qualify for an S Pass in Singapore, candidates would need to have a job offer that pays at least 2,200 SGD a month but reflects their level of experience – so more senior applicants would need to be paid more.

Applicants also need to have relevant work experience and have earned a degree, diploma or technical certificates that includes at least one year of full-time study.

The employer in Singapore has to apply for the candidate before they arrive in Singapore. They also have to provide the candidate with medical cover.

S Passes are valid for two years and can be renewed for up to three years at a time – renewals should be applied for at least three months in advance.

As with the EP, candidates who earn more than 5,000 SGD a month can have their employer apply for Dependant’s Passes for eligible family members.

Work Permit

Work Permits for Foreign Workers in Singapore are aimed at semi-skilled workers in fields like construction, manufacturing and services.
Each of the fields covered by the work permit has its own requirements. Being granted this kind of work permit for Singapore has become more difficult in recent years. The government has tightened quotas and many businesses have started focusing on retaining existing staff. Expats in the country on this permit also can’t sponsor any family members to join them.

The work permit is valid for up to two years, depending on the expat’s contract.