Given Singapore’s reputation as the premium financial hub of Southeast Asia, it is unsurprising that many global conglomerates are planning inroads into the country and expanding their businesses. As part of the expansion, many crucial employees are relocated to Singapore to ease the transition and oversee vital operations.
However, these corporations must first obtain a work visa for their employees to enable them to work in Singapore. There are various work passes employees can qualify for. The most common work visa is the Singapore Employment Pass (EP).
An EP is a work visa issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to foreign professional directors, employees, managers, and owners of a Singapore company, allowing them to live and work in the country. Passholders can also travel in and out of Singapore during this period without having to apply for an entry visa.
Please note that the EP is usually valid for 1 to 2 years. Passholders can choose to renew the permit if necessary. In fact, many who wish to remain in Singapore long-term and apply for Singapore PR opt to do so, as the pass offers them various benefits, such as enabling them to open a savings or current account, rent a property, and purchase local medical insurance. Moreover, passholders qualify for PR application after working in Singapore for a year.
Effective 1 September 2023, new candidates must pass a 2-stage eligibility framework to qualify for EP application. Firstly, they must earn a prefixed qualifying salary, which is benchmarked to the top 1/3 of local PMET (Professionals, Managers, Executives, and Technicians) salaries by age. Secondly, they must pass a point-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) unless exempted.
The qualifying salary requirements for new applications and renewals are as follows:
As for employees renewing their EP expiring on 1 December 2023, they must earn at least SGD5,000 if they do not work in the financial services sector. However, they need not pass COMPASS as this framework only applies to renewals of EPs expiring on 1 September 2024 onwards.
As for COMPASS, there are four foundational – salary, qualifications, diversity, and support for local employment – and two bonus criteria – skills bonus and strategic economic priorities bonus – that encompass this framework, with applicants capable of earning up to 20 points per foundational criterion. Applications must earn a minimum of 40 points to qualify for an EP.
Businesses submitting an EP application must upload the following requisite documents as part of the application process:
MOM may also request additional supporting documents if they deem necessary, such as corporate bank statements or work contracts. Please note that all documents submitted must be in English. If not, candidates must translate them into English through a government-approved translation service. Applicants must also upload an explanation letter and supporting documents if the candidate’s name on the passport differs from the other uploaded files.
Businesses can apply for an EP online or through an appointed employment agent. Employers should ensure that their candidates meet the qualifications before submitting their applications, along with the relevant testimonials.
Once the documents are submitted, they will be processed or updated within 10 business days. Overseas businesses without a Singapore-registered company must wait 8 weeks for the entire process to be completed. Please note that companies can expect a longer processing time during peak seasons or when contributions from third parties are required.
Obtaining an EP brings about various benefits, allowing expatriates to live, work, and play in Singapore. It also serves as a crucial first step in applying for Singapore PR, with passholders qualifying for PR application after working in the country for a year.
If you are an EP pass holder who has enjoyed your stay in Singapore and wishes to become a permanent resident, look no further than Singapore Immigration Partners to assist you in your PR application. Having worked with numerous clients to obtain approval for their PR application, our PR application agency is familiar with the intricacies involved, and we can help you navigate the process seamlessly. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our consultants!