Singapore is known as an economic powerhouse and one of the best places to work and live in Asia. However, relocating to Singapore for work is more complex. Foreigners require specific job passes to gain legal employment in Singapore. The work pass you obtain determines your eligibility to live and work in Singapore long-term. This article demystifies the different types of SG work passes, requirements, and how to successfully get employment in Singapore as a foreigner.
Overview of the SG Work Pass System
Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) regulates the employment of foreign nationals through the work pass framework. The work pass system aims to allow companies to hire qualified foreign professionals for roles they cannot fill with local Singaporean talent.
There are three main types of work passes in Singapore:
The Employment Pass (EP) is for foreign professionals, managers, and executives earning at least S$4,500 monthly. It allows you to work for any Singapore-registered company. EPs are typically valid for up to two years.
The S Pass is for mid-level skilled staff earning at least S$2,500 monthly. It allows you to work for a specific Singapore company. S Passes are valid for up to two years.
The Work Permit is for semi-skilled foreign workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sector. It allows you to work for an approved Singapore company in a specific industry. Work permits are tied to that employer and are valid for two years.
Eligibility Criteria for an SG Work Pass
To qualify for an EP or S Pass, you must:
- Have an acceptable degree or professional qualifications and work experience related to the job
- Earn a fixed monthly salary meeting MOM’s minimum threshold
- Be a skilled worker in an approved profession
Some professions have additional criteria like registration with professional bodies in Singapore. Your employer will apply for your work pass, so they must determine you meet the eligibility criteria.
For Work Permits, you do not need formal education. Eligibility depends on your skill level, industry sector, and monthly salary.
Applying for an SG Work Pass
Your Singapore employer will initiate the work pass application on your behalf. Here is an overview of the process:
Receive an Employment Offer
First, a Singapore company must offer you a job and employment contract. The contract should state your fixed monthly salary, job scope and starting date.
Complete the Application
Your employer will complete the work pass application and submit it to MOM on your behalf. Ensure they have all your details, educational certificates and employment documents.
MOM will assess and approve the application if you meet the eligibility criteria. The process takes 1-4 weeks. Check the status online with your FIN number.
Issuance of In-Principle Approval
If successful, MOM issues an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter for your work pass. This means it is approved pending your medical checkup and additional steps.
Take your medical exam by an approved doctor in Singapore within the IPA validity. This test shows that you are medically fit for residence in Singapore.
Issuance of Actual Work Pass
Finally, MOM will issue your actual EP or S Pass based on passing the medical. You can enter employment once you get the work pass card!
Finding Employment and Transitioning to Singapore
Here are some tips to find a job and transition smoothly to living and working in Singapore:
- Search for positions and apply directly on company websites, LinkedIn or job portals. Recruitment agencies can also match you with employers.
- Highlight your technical skills, qualifications, experience and international outlook in your resume/CV and interviews.
- Be clear and convincing about why you want to relocate to Singapore during the interview process. Show your long-term commitment.
- Once hired, obtain a copy of the signed employment contract stating your work pass eligibility and terms.
- Apply for accommodations in Singapore before your move. Rent an apartment near your workplace.
- Arrange insurance coverage adequate from your first day of employment in Singapore.
- Upon arrival, activate your mobile phone, set up banking, and settle before starting work.
- Register for your FIN and apply for the relevant dependent or spouse passes if needed.
With preparation and persistence, the SG work pass can provide exciting career opportunities as a foreign professional in Singapore. Follow the application process closely and utilise the support of your employer. With an approved work pass, you can launch your new life working in prosperous Singapore!