What is an Employment Pass?

An Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of Singapore work visa issued to foreign Entrepreneurs, professionals, skill employees, managers and owners (shareholders)/directors of Singapore companies.

The EP does not fall under any quota system nor is there a monthly levy charge for EP.

You can apply for Employment Pass (EP) work visa, if:

  • You are a foreign entrepreneur, professional or managing director, shareholder or skilled employee of a Singapore company wishing to relocate to Singapore to manage company operations.
  • You are a locally-incorporated Singapore company and need to hire foreign employees.
  • You have an employment offer from a prospective Singapore firm. In this case, you will have to request the company to expedite the employment pass application on your behalf.

What are the Employment Pass eligibility requirements?

To be considered for an Employment Pass, you must have a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,000 and possess one or more of the following:

  • Acceptable educational qualifications e.g diploma or degree
  • Professional qualifications
  • Specialist skills
  • Work related experience

Possessing a recognised qualification does not automatically guarantee a successful Employment Pass application, as the applicant may need to satisfy other criteria, such as relevant work experience or professional skills.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) evaluates each EP application based on the individual applicant’s and hiring company’s merits.

Other factors which also play a role are:

  • Salary of applicant
  • Age of applicant
  • Roles & responsibility
  • Reputation of the company
  • Company paid-up capital
  • Applicant’s current citizenship

What are the various types of categories of Employment Passes issued?

Employment Pass Eligibility Summary Table
Pass Type Factor One Factor Two Factor Three
P1 Fixed monthly salary
> S$8,000
Professional, Managerial, Executive, Specialist jobs
P2 Fixed monthly salary
> S$4,500
Professional, Managerial, Executive, Specialist jobs Recognised qualifications
Q1 Fixed monthly salary
> S$3,000
Recognised qualifications In lieu of recognised qualifications, MOM may also consider compensatory factors such as skills and years of experience (MOM recommends a minimum of five years relevant work experience)

What is the base salary range to declare to secure an Employment Pass?

Depending on your salary, education and experience, you will be issued with one of the following types of EPs:

  • P1 Pass: for applicants with a base salary of above S$8,000 a month.
  • P2 Pass: for applicants with a base salary between S$4,500 and S$8,000 a month.
  • Q1 Pass: for applicants with a base salary between S$3,000 and S$4,500 a month.

The type of EP you are issued is at the discretion of MOM.

What are my chances of obtaining an EP?

The reality is that not all EP applications are approved. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) evaluates each applicant based on the individual’s and hiring company’s credentials.
Factors which play a very important role are:

  • Applicant’s age, salary, citizenship, education, professional experience and skills
  • Roles & responsibility of the applicant
  • Reputation of the company and its paid-up capital
  • Availability of local workers and economic viability of the company to Singapore

If the initial application is rejected, we will explore the grounds for rejection with MOM and if appropriate, file an appeal by addressing the issues raised by authorities. If the additional details submitted are satisfactory to MOM, the employment pass application will be approved. Please note that MOM will take a minimum of three weeks to review appeal application.

Can I apply for an Employment Pass prior to incorporating my Singapore company? Why do I need to appoint a resident director?

All Employment Pass applications can only be submitted once the Singapore company has been incorporated. In order to incorporate a Singapore company, you will require the following:

  • 1 shareholder (Either an individual or corporation)
  • 1 resident director (Either a Singaporean, Permanent Resident or Employment Pass, EntrePass or Dependant Pass holder). Rikvin can provide you with a nominee resident director to satisfy the statutory requirements until you secure your Employment Pass.
  • 1 company secretary (officer of the company) (This service is also provided by Rikvin.)
  • Minimum paid-up capital of S$1
  • A local registered office address (This service is provided by Rikvin.)

Once you have obtained your Singapore Employment Pass, you can act as the local resident director. All company incorporation registration process including work pass applications can be handled without your physical presence.

How long is the EP valid for?

The validity period for first-time applicants is up to two years. Employment Pass can be renewed subject to applications meeting the prevailing EP criteria.