Work Pass Cancellation: An Employer’s Guide

Before beginning employment, every foreign national who plans to work in Singapore must have a valid pass, also known as a work visa. Learn about the work pass cancellation process, so you know when and how to cancel it and what legal obligations you have in the instance that your employees wish to leave their employment.

When to Cancel an Employee’s Work Pass

Here are the situation when you cancel your employee’s work pass:

  • Resignation/retrenchment wishing to leave Singapore permanently
  • Resignation/retrenchment wishing to join a new company in Singapore
  • Resignation wishing to start own business in Singapore

If the holder becomes a permanent resident, you no longer need to cancel the pass, as it will be cancelled automatically.

When leaving Singapore permanently

You have to cancel your employee’s work pass within seven (7) days of resignation or retrenchment notice. Passes such as Dependent’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass are also cancelled once a work pass is cancelled. The cancellation takes effect from the last day of employment. If the resignation or termination is sudden and there is an insufficient notice period before the last day of employment, you have seven (7) days from the date of termination to cancel the employee’s work pass and other related passes. The employee and the dependents will be given a 30-day Short Term Visit Pass (STVP) for them to have enough time to prepare for their departure. They will be asked to return the STVP to the Immigration Checkpoint Officer upon leaving Singapore. Finally, if the pass holder has left Singapore permanently, you must cancel the employment pass one week from the date of departure unless it expires.

When staying in Singapore for a job or own business

Since work passes are tied to specific employers, the new employer is responsible for getting the employee’s new work pass. It is recommended that the new pass must be granted before the cancellation of the existing pass. Similarly, when an employee resigns and wants to set up a company in Singapore, they must apply for the relevant pass (EntrePass). When a new work pass application is approved, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will forward the In-Principle-Approval to the address given in the completed application form. Upon receiving this letter, the employee can submit their resignation and request for the cancellation of their current work pass. But when your employee is leaving the company to establish their business in Singapore, they should process their Entrepreneur’s Pass themselves.

The Process of Work Pass Cancellation

The work pass can be cancelled via the myMOM Portal (cancellation must be requested up to 14 days in advance). The documents needed are the work pass itself and the employee’s travel document or passport. As the company representative of your employee, you will be issued an acknowledgement letter and a 30-day (90-day can be requested) Short-Term Visit Pass, confirming that the work pass has been cancelled. Upon receipt of the confirmation letter, the work pass and other related passes must be returned to the Ministry of Manpower.

Legal Obligations to Fulfill

As an employer, you must ensure that your employee has cleared all the tax they owe before leaving Singapore. On the day of termination or resignation, you should notify the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore of the payments due to you (as the employer), so they can withhold them. IRAS will conduct an assessment and issue a tax clearance certificate, confirming that the employee has paid all due taxes. You must pay the employee any remuneration due to them. The processing time takes about seven (7) to twenty-one (21) days. A stop order certificate may be issued if an employee attempts to leave the country before paying any overdue taxes. In this case, they will need to acquire a release letter from IRAS.


Knowing the requirements and process of cancelling an employment pass is important, especially when the pass holder no longer works for a Singaporean employer or plans to leave the city-state. It is the responsibility of the employer to look after their employees, and that includes their legal obligations to them. 

Posted in Company Incorporation
Tagged , , , , , .