Deciphering the Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore

Employment Pass (EP) Summary: A pass that makes foreign individuals eligible to work a job in Singapore.

An Employment Pass (EP) refers to a work visa in Singapore granted to foreign professionals such as employees, managers, executives, and even owners or directors of Singapore-based businesses. This work pass not only allows them to work and reside in Singapore but also facilitates hassle-free travel to and from the country without the need for a separate entry visa. Valid for all nationalities, an EP is usually issued for up to 2 years and can be further renewed for up to 3 additional years.


Who’s Eligible for an Employment Pass?

Those looking to secure an EP must meet the following criteria:

  • Have secured employment in Singapore.
  • Serve in a managerial, executive, or specialist capacity.
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$4500*. The bar is raised higher for candidates who are more experienced and older.
  • Hold formal qualifications such as degrees or diplomas from reputed academic institutions.

*Keep in mind that the benchmark for minimum salary is subject to changes. For updates, refer to the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) website.

Interestingly, there’s no quota on the number of EPs for a company, nor is there a need to pay any foreign worker levy for EP holders within the organization. However, before an EP application, employers must post the job vacancy on MyCareersFuture for a minimum of 14 days and all applicants must be considered fairly. This measure is to ensure fair hiring practices and enhance transparency in the labor market.

Prospective EP holders can utilize the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to verify their eligibility. But note that even if the tool indicates eligibility, due to strict checks by the MoM, the actual pass approval rate is around 90%.


Who can Lodge an Employment Pass Application?

The responsibility of filing for an Employment Pass falls to the employer or any authorized third party. Companies without a registered office in Singapore must assign a Singapore-registered company as a local sponsor to process the application.


Can Employment Pass Holders Take Additional Directorship Roles?

EP holders are generally permitted to occupy a role in the company that applied for their pass. Exceptions can be made for EP holders to serve as directors of another company if it happens to be a subsidiary or a holding company of their primary employer. However, they must first acquire a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the MoM and be officially registered as a director with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) before performing their duties.


Can Employment Pass Holders Bring their Family to Singapore?

EP holders drawing a fixed monthly salary of S$6000 or more can bring their families to Singapore on a Dependant’s Pass (DP) or a Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP). These passes must be applied for by the employer or a third party authorized by them.

Any changes to the particulars including, but not limited to changes in the company name and address, employee salary, employee’s residential address, nationality, marital status, or passport details of the EP holders or their dependents, should be promptly reported to the MoM by either the employer or the pass holder.

An added advantage of holding an EP is that it lays the groundwork for pursuing Permanent Residence (PR) status in Singapore in the future.