As a reputable business and financial hub in Asia with a business-friendly climate, Singapore has proven to be highly attractive to entrepreneurs and working professionals from around the world. In this article, we summarise the various work permits schemes available in Singapore for foreign working professionals and entrepreneurs.
The Employment Pass is for foreign professionals who have been offered a managerial, executive or specialised position in Singapore. Candidates must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,600 a month and have acceptable qualifications such as a good university degree, a professional certificate or specialist skills. Employers (or appointed employment agents) may apply for an Employment Pass online.
Besides personal particulars and educational certificates, candidates may be required to furnish transcripts, mark sheets or verification proofs. Employment Passes last up to 3 years and may be renewed up to 6 months before expiry.
The EntrePass is for eligible foreign entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in Singapore. While there is no stipulated minimum salary, the EntrePass is intended for serial entrepreneurs, high-calibre innovators or experienced investors.
The criteria for renewing the EntrePass include incorporation of company, proof of business activities, at least 30% shareholding of the company, as well as a total annual business spending of S$100,000 to S$400,000, depending on the year of renewal.
Entrepreneurs must either:
- Have raised funding of at least S$100,000 from a government investment vehicle, venture capitalist (VC) or business angel that is recognised by a Singapore Government agency, such as Vertex Ventures and SGInnovate; or
- Be an incubatee at a government-recognised incubator or accelerator; or
- Have significant business experience or network and a promising entrepreneurship track record of starting highly-scalable businesses.
Innovators must either:
- Hold an intellectual property that is registered with an approved national institution; or
- Have an ongoing research collaboration with a research institution or Institute of Higher Learning (IHL) in Singapore; or
- Have exceptional achievements in an area of technical or domain expertise.
Investors must either:
- Have a good track record of investing in and driving the growth of a highly-scalable business; or
- Have spent a minimum of 8 years as a senior management professional or executive in a large corporation.
Personalised Employment Pass
The Personalised Employment Pass is for high-earning foreign professionals with a fixed salary of at least S$144,000 per calendar year. The Personalised Employment Pass is not tied to an employer and offers greater flexibility since pass holders can hold a job in any sector. Foreign professionals must have a last fixed monthly salary of at least S$18,000 within 6 months of application, or must hold an Employment Pass and earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$12,000.
Foreigners who are no longer employed in Singapore for 6 months or more must cancel the pass. Pass holders must also notify the Ministry of Manpower if they start or leave a job, or if there is a change in their annual fixed salary
Skilled and semi-skilled workers
The S Pass is for mid-skilled foreign employees such as technicians who draw a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,300. From 1 January 2020, the minimum fixed monthly salary will be raised to S$2,400. Candidates must furnish a degree, diploma or technical certificates. Employers (or appointed employment agents) must apply on behalf of the applicant online.
The Work Permit allows semi-skilled foreign workers from approved source countries to work in Singapore’s construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sectors. S Passes are issued for an initial 1-2 year term and employers (or appointed employment agents) must apply on behalf of the applicant online.
The duration of a Work Permit is generally 2 years and both employers and employees must comply with a set of conditions. For instance, employees must not take part in any other business or start their own business. Employers must also pay their foreign workers the fixed monthly salary as declared in their application.
Depending on your industry, you may be limited by a quota of Work Permit holders. You may also have to pay a monthly levy for each worker.
Short-Term Work Permits
Training Work Permit
Foreign unskilled or semi-skilled trainees or students posted to Singapore for practical training may obtain the Training Work Permit if their training does not exceed 6 months. Depending on your sector, the number of Training Work Permit holders may be capped. Employers must apply on behalf of the applicant online and provide medical insurance.
Miscellaneous Work Pass
Foreigners on short-term work assignments, such as speakers at a seminar, religious workers or journalists, may apply for the Miscellaneous Work Pass. An employer or local sponsor must apply on behalf of the applicant online. The Miscellaneous Work Pass is only valid for 60 days in Singapore.
Spouses and children of Employment Pass or S Pass holders may apply for the Dependant’s Pass if the pass holder earns a minimum fixed monthly salary of S$6,000. Parents of eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders may apply for the Long Term Visit Pass if the pass holder earns a fixed monthly salary of at least S$12,000.
EntrePass holders can only bring their spouse and children in if their total annual business spending is at least S$100,000 (or S$200,000 to bring in their parents). In addition, EntrePass holders must have created a specified number of jobs locally.
Get Expert Guidance from Corporate Services Singapore
Starting a business in Singapore can be easy and seamless when you engage Corporate Services Singapore. At Corporate Services Singapore, we help foreign entrepreneurs and business owners navigate Singapore’s immigration and employment policies while advising you on pre-application requirements for the various work visas.
Corporate Services Singapore offers a complete suite of corporate services and solutions, from company registration and corporate secretarial services to outsourced accounting, audit and tax. To set up an entity and work in Singapore, give us a call at 6602 8286 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get stared today.