S Pass Singapore

Singapore S pass

Definition: What is S Pass Visa in Singapore?

The S Pass is a working visa specially designed for mid-level skilled foreigners who seek employment in engineering, electronics, oil, chemical, and other industries Singapore specialises and desperately needs skilled hands in. This visa allows Singaporean companies to hire overseas technicians at a salary of no less than 2,200 SGD provided that the foreigner possesses a valuable working experience and knowledge in the niche as well as that the hiring company meets requirements for a quota and levy.

Benefits and Features of S Pass

  • The pass can be applied for only by the local eligible employer or an authorized visa agency.
  • Foreigners mustn’t be in the country while the visa is being processed. They can arrive only after the approval.
  • The minimum salary that allows a company to hire an overseas technician under S Pass is 2,200 SGD.
  • The visa is valid during the period of up to 2 years after which it can be extended on the assumption of meeting the criteria.
  • Some categories of S Pass holders can take their families along as dependents provided that their salaries meet a certain benchmark – 4,000 SGD (5,000 SGD from September 2015).
  • Employers who employ under S Pass are subject to buying medical insurance and paying levies for every employee, as well as meeting quota requirement.
  • Foreigners holding S Pass in Singapore cannot start their own businesses.
  • S Pass holders can get married in the country, but having children (dependents) is regulated by the salary criteria for sponsoring dependents.

Advantages of S Pass

  • The salary criterion is much lower for S Pass (2,200 SGD) than for Employment Pass (3,300 SGD).
  • The visa can be extended after the first run of validity (≈ 2 years) for another 3 years (or less if the foreigner’s passport expires earlier).
  • S Pass allows a foreigner to pursue Singapore’s permanent residence in due time.

Disadvantages of S Pass

  • To get qualified for Singapore’s Permanent residence, the S Pass holder will probably have to work in the country for years (the “lower” the pass is, the longer it takes to get PR).
  • Getting a job under S Pass is harder because this visa is subject to restrictions and financial obligations for the employer: not only is the employer allowed to hire only a certain percentage (15-20% depending on the sector) of workers under S Pass (it is called quota), but also he must pay a levy for every S Pass holder (315-550 SGD depending on sector and percentage) and buy him a medical insurance.
  • Unless the salary is 4,000 SGD (5,000 SGD from September 2015), the foreigner cannot take his family along to Singapore. If the salary is lower this benchmark and children are being born during S Pass holder’s stay in the country, they will have to be sent overseas.
  • S Pass holders aren’t allowed to buy landed property in Singapore.
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Eligibility Criteria and Requirements to Get S Pass in Singapore

Foreigners from all countries are required to meet tough demands of the Ministry of Manpower which are:
  • The salary. Although the expected salary must be at least 2,200 SGD, it still must correspond with the person’s age and experience. The older or more experienced the technician is, the higher salary he must command.
  • Education. The government seeks for diplomas and degrees from respectable institutions, as well as for certificates of courses for technicians that include no less than a year-long full-time study.
  • Relevant experience. Successful candidates are expected to showcase years of experience in the niche. The older the candidate is, the richer his working history must be.
  • The validity of the foreigner’s passport must be no less than 7 months. This validity will impact the duration of the S Pass visa (the visa’s validity will be 1 month shorter than the passport’s one).
Requirements to the hiring side:
  • The company must be a well-established and have its account at the CPF board. If the company is going to submit its first S Pass application ever, the company’s activity must be declared for the government.
If you have doubts you would meet all of the above-mentioned criteria, don’t hesitate to book our free assessment that will help you to get prepared for the successful application.

Reason for S Pass Rejection

Commonly, if the application is prepared professionally and the supportive documents provide a solid proof of the declared merits, the government gives a green light to such overseas worker. If the pass gets rejected, it means that either the hiring company or the foreigner failed to meet the requirements:
  • this S Pass application transcends the quota for the employer;
  • the employer has problems with his CPF account;
  • the foreigner’s qualifications weren’t substantiated with relevant documentation;
  • the foreigner’s declared salary doesn’t correspond with his experience and age (this concerns both underselling and overselling the candidate);
  • the foreigner’s declared skills are in abundance in Singapore or (and) the employer failed to prove this specific foreigner was crucial for the company’s business;
  • the foreigner’s passport has a small validity period.
The Ministry of Manpower usually explains the reason of the rejection in the letter (or it can be found on the company’s EP Online account). The employer is given 3 months for preparing and submitting the appeal. It will be successful only if it addresses the problem stated by the MOM.
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How to Apply: the Best S Pass Scheme

Only the employer or the authorized visa agency are allowed to submit the application. Preparing the prominent application includes paperwork, checking details, and, in most cases, building up the employee’s profile to ensure that his skills get the best representation. All documents must be in impeccable order and unless they are in English, translated professionally. Both the employer and the employee must ensure that they meet the basic demands of the Ministry of Manpower and that all facts declared in the application are substantiated by sufficient documentation. The MOM takes care of the country’s professional face and therefore it toughens the demands to sift out the most valuable workers. If the employer isn’t sure he would manage the application with all its pitfalls, it’s better to entrust the case to a visa professional. The S Pass processing takes up to 7 working days provided that the submitted documents are acceptable. This time can be longer if the MOM requires additional documents.

S Pass Renewal Process

S Pass belongs to renewable visas; it means that if the expiry date approaches and the overseas workers are still employed, they can get their passes extended for another 3 years provided that they meet criteria such as:
  • the foreigner is still employed and meets the initial S Pass requirements;
  • the employee holds the passport with a validity period of no less than 7 months;
  • the hiring company still meets the quota criterion.
If the hiring company has an account on EP Online, it can renew the S Pass 6 months before the visa expires (but no later than the expiry date). If the S Pass was applied for manually (by post), the company will receive a letter with the renewal form 3 months before the expiry date. Please take into account that the government must receive your request no later than 2 weeks before the expiry date. If the company misses this deadline, this S Pass will be cancelled, and a new S Pass must be processed from the very beginning. If you aren’t sure you would handle the renewal procedure, meet the deadlines, reason the employee’s importance well or there are some non-fitments either from the company’s or from the employee’s side, it’s better to have the professional agency do this renewal procedure. The validity of the renewed pass is 3 years maximum, but if the foreigner’s passport expires earlier, the validity period will be set as the passport’s validity period minus 1 month. Electronic renewal application takes up to 7 days to process whereas the one submitted by mail will take up to 5 weeks.

Why Apply for S Pass with Help of Professional Agents/Consultants?

Due to the years of successful work in the immigration niche and collaborating with the government, our visa agents are aware of the latest government’s trends and some principles the authorities never share. Our seasoned visa consultants are able to handle the whole S Pass application process from the beginning (starting assessment) and till the approval outcome. If you entrust your case to us, you will have your documents put in the perfect order and correspondence with the authorities’ standards as well as have your company’s merits and the employee’s skills presented in the most favourable light. Due to the diligence, professionalism and well-tuned communication with the government, applications handled by the visa professionals have far higher approval rates than those handled by the inexperienced employers.

Get FREE S Pass Eligibility Assessment Today!

With the experience in S Pass cases we have, we are able to efficiently check your eligibility according to the latest MOM demands. Not only will you learn your chances for fortunate S Pass application, but also you will get guided in the next steps that lead you to your visa approval. Applicants who get their fitness assessed in the very beginning avoid pitiful mistakes and boost their chances for approval at the first push.

FAQs for S Pass

+ What is the Singapore S Pass processing time?

The result of the visa application is usually announced in 7 working days. Sometimes it takes longer if there are issues with argumentation or documents.

+ What are the minimum and maximum salaries for Singapore S Pass?

The lower salary limit for S Pass is set at the 2,200 SGD. Theoretically, there is no upper limit, but if the foreigner’s salary is high enough, it is worth trying to apply for the Employment Pass (the lowest limit there is 3,300 SGD, but the salary must be much higher to correspond with the experience). Another important point is that to become eligible to take the family along, the foreigner’s salary must be at least 4,000 SGD (5,000 SGD from September 2015).

+ What qualification do I need for S Pass in Singapore?

The government expects you to have a relevant diploma or a degree from a well-established university and certificates for other courses relevant to the job specialization. Only certificates for at least 1 year of full-time education are eligible. The candidate must possess valuable skills in the niche of the specialization.

+ What to do if my S Pass was rejected?

A rejection can be successfully appealed if the MOM’s demands are respected and addressed carefully. The company (or the visa agency that represents it) is given 3 months for making the appeal. If the deadline is missed, the S Pass must be applied for from the beginning. First of all, it’s important to find out the reason for rejection. It is usually described by the authorities in the letter or on the EP Online account. If it is still unclear or you don’t know how to address it, it would be wiser to involve a professional S Pass help. The visa agency will investigate into the reason, make the necessary changes in documents or build up the profile to ensure the problem that blocked your approval is removed.

+ What is the quota for S Pass in Singapore?

The quota depends on the sector of the economy. In services niche, it is 15% of the total staff. For other sectors, it is 20%.

+ What is the Singapore S Pass duration?

Usually, a foreigner is given an opportunity to spend up to 2 years in Singapore under the S Pass. However, this validity run can be shorter if the person’s passport expires earlier. In such case, the visa’s validity would be calculated as a passport’s validity minus 1 month. S Pass can be extended; the term of the extension is usually 3 years.

+ Can an S Pass holder get PR in Singapore?

Yes. The chance of becoming a Singapore’s permanent resident is given to holders of all visas; however, S Pass requires a longer period of working in Singapore for getting qualified. In due time, S Pass holder can submit a PR application at the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority. Please contact our consultants to find out when is your due time.

+ How fast is the S Pass application procedure in Singapore?

The authorities usually need 7 days to process the request and submitted documents. If there are some issues with documentation, the processing can take a little bit longer. The applicant can track the process of consideration using an EP Online account (if the application was submitted online) or get updates from the appointed visa agent.

+ Can an S Pass holder work part time in Singapore?

The government doesn’t allow foreigners to have dual jobs and penalizes for such activity.

+ Can an S Pass holder drive in Singapore?

Yes. Nevertheless, driving in Singapore is an expensive option unless your company provides you with a car. It is much cheaper to go places by taxi or public transport. But if driving a car is crucial for you, you must know that you can use your foreign driving licence no longer than 12 months. After this period of time, you can drive only if you convert it into the Singaporean driving licence. Please take into account that unless you have an international driving permit, your licence must be translated into English.

+ How many S Pass holders are there in Singapore?

In December 2014, there were 170,100 S Pass holders.

+ Can an S Pass holder get pregnant in Singapore?

Yes, getting pregnant is allowed for holders of S Pass. However, if you are going to go through the renewal soon, you must inform the government about your pregnancy.

+ Where to apply for S Pass in Singapore?

Only a hiring company or a visa agency are authorised to submit the application. This can be done either online (using an account on EP Online) or manually (using post). Another way to manage the submission is to involve a skilled visa agent that will not only take care of the documents and help to compile a winning application, but also do the submission for you and track your application until approval.

+ What is Singapore S Pass income tax?

The rate and the taxed amount depend on the tax status (resident / non-resident) of the S Pass holder. If you have worked in Singapore only during 60 days a year or less or if your country has an agreement to avoid double taxation with Singapore, you pay no taxes. The foreigner is considered a non-resident if he/she has worked (and spent) in Singapore 183 days a year (or less). Then the income will be taxed at the rate of 15% (or at a higher residential rate). If the period of stay and work is more than 183 days, a foreigner is taxed the same as a resident (2-28%). The revenue the foreigner gets outside of Singapore isn’t taxable.

+ What qualification is needed for the Singapore S Pass?

A successful candidate is expected to possess a diploma or a degree from a well-established institution and certificates about full-time studies relevant to the job scope. The government seeks for highly experienced foreigners to plug the gap among local technicians.

+ Can an S Pass holder get married in Singapore?

Yes, getting married is allowed, but the S Pass holder must inform the authorities about the change of status, name and passport’s particulars. This update can be done using the company’s account on EP Online or the form of Amendment of Personal Particulars which can be found on the MOM website.

+ Can an S Pass holder buy a house in Singapore?

No, landed properties such as private houses, bungalows, semi-detached houses, as well as HDB flats are restricted for foreigners to buy. S Pass holders can buy condos if they can afford the downpayment which is 20% and provided that they are found trustworthy by the bank.
If you have any other questions that aren’t covered in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact our expert team. You can always book our competent assessment for free.

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Harry Goldman (United Kingdom)

Let me take this opportunity to thank Visa Express. With their guidance, I managed to get 3 awesome years of employment freedom in Singapore with my Personal Employment Pass. I have found their service professional & exceptionally good. They truly know the approach to the MOM.

Angie Webb, IT Company (Singapore)

Thank you for your assistance in processing the Employment Passes for us.

Moira Bell, Shipping Company (Singapore)

Your services have been excellent and I would like to take this opportunity of thanking you for all your support and co-operation in obtaining the passes, without which I would have struggled to get the passes myself.
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