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Work Passes and Permits in Singapore – The Different Types of Passes and Permits

Work Passes and Permits in SingaporeSingapore is a highly developed free-market economy. Singapore attracts a substantial amount of foreigners due to the high salaries, great job opportunities and a great tax system. Thus, attracting seasoned entrepreneurs and working professionals from around the world. Work Passes and Permits are required before one can start working in Singapore. 

There are different types of passes and permits. There are 5 categories of work passes and permits. Each category will be broken down and explained below.



There are three types of passes under this category.

  1. Employment Pass (EP)
    Those who are eligible to apply for an Employment Pass (EP) are foreign professionals, managers, and executives. A minimum salary of $3,600 is required to validate the eligibility of the candidate. Candidates are also required to have acceptable qualifications, such as a good university degree, professional qualifications or special skills. Take note that younger candidates from good institutions may qualify if their salary meets the minimum of $3,600. Likewise, the older the candidate it is expected that they are more experienced and thus require a higher minimum salary to qualify.
  2. EntrePass
    This is for foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start and operate a new business in Singapore. If you have started or have the intention to start a private limited company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority. The company must be less than 6 months old on the date of application if it is registered. However, if it isn’t registered you can simply do so after receiving the outcome of your application. You must also meet any of the innovative criteria for application as an entrepreneur, innovator or investor. There is no minimum salary required and the candidate may apply directly.
  3. Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)
    This is catered for high-earning existing Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals. The PEP offers greater flexibility than any other work pass. However, certain requirements need to be met before one is deemed eligible for the PEP. Those eligible to apply for this pass are an overseas foreign professional with a last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas of at least $18,000. Note, the last drawn salary must be within 6 months before you apply. For an EP holder, a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000 is required. In order to maintain a PEP, one must not be unemployed in Singapore for more than 6 months at any time. Also, a minimum salary of $144,000 per annum is also required regardless of the months you are in employment. The candidate can apply for this pass directly and a PEP will last for a period of 3 years. After which, a renewal is not allowed.


Skilled and Semi-Skilled Workers 

There are five different types of passes under this category.

  1. S Pass
    This is for mid-level skilled staff; the applicant is required to have a minimum salary of $2,400. The salary should reflect work experience, the older and more experienced applicants would need higher salaries to qualify.  The applicants should also have a degree or diploma. Technical certificates may be considered, however, the certification should require at least 1 year of full-time study. Relevant work experience is also required. An employer or employment agent must apply on behalf of the applicant and if the pass holder should change jobs, the new employer has to apply for a new pass.
  2. Work Permit for Foreign Worker
    This is catered for semi-skilled foreign workers from approved source countries in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process or services sector. Each sector has its own set of requirements.
  3. Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Worker
    This is for foreigners employed as domestic helpers in Singapore. The FDW is required to be female, aged 23 to 50 years old at the time of application, from an approved source country or region and has at least 8 years of formal education with a recognised certificate. Take note that for FDWs aged 50 and above, renewal of their work permits will only be allowed till they are 60 years old. In addition to the above, the employer also has to meet a few requirements in order to be eligible to hire an FDW. The employer is required to be 21 years of age, must not be an undischarged bankrupt and possess the mental capacity to fully understand and discharge your responsibility as an employer. Your financial ability to hire and maintain the upkeep of an FDW in acceptable accommodation will also be taken into account. For first-time FDW employers, you will be required to attend an Employer Orientation Programme. An employer needs to apply for the permit.
  4. Work Permit for Confinement Nanny
    This if for Malaysian confinement nannies to work in Singapore for up to 16 weeks starting from the birth of the employer’s child. to be eligible, you must be Malaysian, 23 to 70 years old at the time of application and work at the employer’s residence. Besides that, employers also have to fulfil certain conditions before they can hire a confinement nanny. At the time of application, the employer must be 21 years and above. A work permit needs to be obtained for your confinement nanny. A monthly levy is also required and you must also have a new-born under 4 months old. A monthly levy of $60, if the new-born is a Singapore citizen and $300, if the new-born is non-Singapore citizen, is required.
  5. Work Permit for Performing Artiste
    This catered to foreign performers working in public entertainment outlets such as bars, hotels, and nightclubs. Before an employer can hire a foreign performing artiste, they must first meet certain conditions. The business must first have a CAT 1 Public Entertainment Licence issued by the Singapore Police Force. Be open for operations for at least 6 hours a day and employ at least one local employee who earns the local qualifying salary.


Trainees and Students

There are four kinds of passes.

  1. Training Employment Pass
    This is for foreign professionals undergoing practical training. The minimum salary required is $3,000 or you must be studying at an acceptable institution. In the event you fail to qualify for the Training employment Pass, you may apply for the Work Holiday Pass (foreign students) or the Training Work Permit (foreign trainee). This pass is valid for a maximum of 3 months and is not renewable.
  2. Work Holiday Pass
    This first one is under a Work Holiday Programme. This is for students and graduates aged 18 to 25 who want to work and holiday in Singapore for 6 months. Note that only 2,000 applicants are accepted at any one time. The second is under the Work Holiday Visa Programme and this caters to Australian students and graduates aged 18 to 30 who want to work and holiday in Singapore for a year (12 months). This pass only has a capacity of 500 applicants at any one time. This pass can be applied for by the candidate themselves.
  3. Training Work Permit (TWP)
    This is for semi-skilled foreign trainees or students undergoing practical training in Singapore for up to 6 months. foreign students studying in institutions in Singapore, training must be part of their course requirements.


Family Members

There are 4 different types of passes under this category.

  1. Dependant’s Pass
    This is for spouses and children of Eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders. This pass has a validity of 2 years, and it is tied to the validity of the main work pass. The applicant may apply for this pass if he is earning a minimum of $6,000
  2. Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP/LTVP+)
    This is catered for parents, common-law spouses, step-children, or handicapped children of eligible Employment Pass or S Pass holders. $12,000 can bring parents. This has a validity of 2 years and is tied to the validity of the main pass.
  3. Pre-approved Letter of Consent (PLOC)
    This is for eligible spouses or children of Singapore citizens or Permanent Residents holding an LTVP/LTVP+ issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). The holder is then pre-approved to work in Singapore. During the time when applying for or renewing the LTVP/LTVP+, they can only apply for a PLOC.
  4. Letter of Consent (LOC)
    This is for eligible spouses or children of EP holders who hold a Dependant’s Pass, or an LTVP/LTVP+ issued by the ICA. The LOC allows the holder to work in Singapore. The employer must apply for the LOC.


Exemptions and Working While on a Visit Pass

There are 4 types of passes under this category.

  1. Miscellaneous Work Pass
    This is for foreigners taking on a short-term work assignment of up to 60 days in Singapore. Not renewable.
  2. Work Pass Exempt Activities
    This is for performing eligible short-term activities without a work pass. Candidate must still notify the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of their activities. Obtain a valid Short-Term Visit Pass. Comply with other Singapore legal requirements. 90 days validity.
  3. Work Pass Exemption for Foreign Students
    This is for foreign students studying full-time at an approved school or institution in Singapore. They’re allowed to work during their vacation if they have fulfilled the conditions required. The candidate must be a full-time student in one of the approved institutions, be 14 years old and above and hold a student pass issued by the ICA. The candidate need not notify MOM before starting work.
  4. Work Passes for Holders of Long Term Visit Passes Issued by the ICA
    This is for foreigners married to a Singaporean or permanent resident, or parents accompanying a child who is studying in Singapore.


In conclusion, a majority of passes must be applied through the employer and a few can be applied for by the applicant. There are certain criteria that needs to be fulfilled before applying for a work pass or permit.

Work Passes and Permits in Singapore