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The Available Immigration Schemes in Singapore and Requirements
Singapore is fast becoming the ideal business hub in Southeast Asia due to its immigration policies that attract foreign professionals from across the globe. There are various work permit schemes, Singapore immigration schemes available in Singapore for foreign talents and seasoned entrepreneurs.
Below is the useful information for you to know more about the immigration schemes and requirements in Singapore.
Entry Visa Application (For Foreigners Visiting Singapore)
a. Visa application form
b. Visa application
Visa application can be done through a local contact in Singapore (here refers to a Singapore citizen or a Permanent Resident) who has a SingPass/CorpPass account. You can apply the visa online via your local contact in Singapore through the SAVE system at Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (“ICA”)’s website (note: ICA is the authority that is responsible in visa handling). Once the visa application is complete, the local contact in Singapore can help you to either print out or collect the visa at ICA and mail it to you.
c. Visa and Entry Requirements
All foreigners who visit Singapore must meet the entry requirements as set out by the authority:
- Must have a valid travel document (with a minimum validity of 6 months at the time of departure)
- Must have confirmed onward or return tickets (whichever applicable)
- Must have entry facilities to the next destination (including visas)
- Possesses sufficient funds to support themselves when they are in Singapore; and,
- Possesses visa for entry into Singapore (as and when applicable)
- Yellow Fever Vaccination (as and when applicable)
- Check eligibility
The citizens of ASEAN countries and most western countries can enter Singapore without a visa for up to 30 days with the condition that they have passport with 6 months validity (beyond the intended duration of stay), an onward/return ticket as well as sufficient funds for their stay. However, according to ICA, travellers holding passports from certain countries or regions must apply for an entry visa (for Business or Social Visit) prior of their arrival in Singapore.
Work Permit Schemes for Foreign Talents & Entrepreneurs
1. Employment Pass Scheme
The Employment Pass (“EP”), as the name suggests, is one of the work permits in Singapore meant for company owners or skilled employees who will be working in Singapore. One of the requirements is the application is that the applicant’s fixed monthly salary must be more than S$3,600.
Validity of EP: An EP is initially issued for 1-2 years and it is renewable as long as the applicant’s employment contract continues.
- He or she is a working professional, be it company owners and skilled staff who works in a managerial, executive or specialised job.
- Possesses a tertiary degree from a renowned university.
- Possesses a strong professional employment history.
- Fixed monthly salary during employment in Singapore must be more than S$3,600.
Quota System: No quota
Permanent Residence Eligibility: EP holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
2. Entrepreneur Pass (“EntrePass”) Scheme
Another work permit, the Entrepreneur Pass (“EntrePass”) is a variation of the Employment Pass. EntrePass is known as the primary type of work pass for company owners of newly incorporated (or to be incorporated) who intend to relocate to Singapore to run their new business.
Validity: An EntrePass will be issued for 1 year. The renewal depends on factors such as incorporation of company, proof of business activities, all of which is capable to prove that the business is viable.
- He or she has or intends to incorporate a private limited company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) in Singapore. For the case of a recently registered company, the company must be less than 6 months old on the application date.
- He or she has to hold at least 30% of the share capital of the company.
Quota System: No quota
Permanent Residence Eligibility: All Entrepreneur Pass holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
3. Personalised Employment Pass (“PEP”) Scheme
The Personalised Employment Pass is meant for high-earning EP holders and foreign professionals. One thing that distinguishes PEP from EP is that PEP does not tie to an employer and provides greater flexibility. Another point worth mentioning is that the PEP holder can switch jobs without re-applying for a new EP with the condition that he or she is not jobless for more than six months. He or she is allowed to stay in Singapore for a continuous period of up to 6 months without a job to look for a new employment opportunity. However, a PEP holder cannot start his or her own company in Singapore, which is the biggest downside of this type of work permit.
Validity: PEP will be issued for 3 years and it cannot be renewed.
How to keep holding PEP:
- He or she must not be jobless in Singapore for more than 6 months at any time.
- Earn a fixed annual salary of at least $144,000, regardless of the number of months he or she is in employment.
- An overseas foreign professional with his or her last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas was at least $18,000. Please note that the last drawn salary cannot be more than 6 months old before you apply.
- An EP holder with a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000.
Quota System: No quota
Permanent Residence Eligibility: All PEP holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
4. S Pass Scheme
S Pass is meant for mid-skilled employees with a minimum fixed monthly salary at $2,200. S Pass applicants will be assessed based on employer’s quota eligibility as well as applicant’s qualifications.
The basic qualification includes
- A degree or diploma.
- Technical certificates may also be considered with the condition that the certification must have at least 1 year of full-time study.
Validity: S Pass is issued for 1-2 years and it can be renewed as long as the applicant’s employment continues.
Eligibility: Mid-level technical staff.
Permanent Residence Eligibility: S pass holders can apply for PR where the application will be assessed based on the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority’s (“ICA”) PR criteria.
5. Miscellaneous Work Pass Scheme
Miscellaneous Work Pass, as the name suggests, will be issued to foreigners working in Singapore on short-term assignments. To be precise, he or she will be issued a Miscellaneous Work Pass if he or she
- has direct involvement in activities related to
- the organisation or
- conduct of any seminar (or conference, workshop, gathering or talk concerning any religion, race or community, or political end;
- is a foreign religious worker/religious leader who will be giving talks relating directly or indirectly to any religion; or
- is a foreign journalist (e.g. reporter or an accompanying crewmember) who is not sponsored by any Singapore Government agency.
Quota System: No quota
Permanent Residence Eligibility: Please note that Miscellaneous Work Pass holders are NOT eligible to apply for PR.
Other Immigration Visa Schemes
1. Dependent Pass Scheme
A Singapore Dependent’s Pass (“DP”) is a family relocation visa issued to selected family members (i.e. spouses and unmarried children below 21 years) of EP holders, S Pass holders, EntrePass holders or PEP holders. Please note that EP/S Pass holders must earn at least S$6,000 every month.
DP is valid as long as the employment of the main Singapore work visa holder continues. DP pass holders are granted the liberty to live, enter and leave Singapore freely without having to apply for a separate Singapore entry visa.
2. Permanent Residence (“PR”) Scheme for Work Pass Holders
Professional work pass holders are eligible to apply for PR in Singapore in due course.