FAQs for WP
Unfortunately, the USA doesn’t belong to the approved sources (countries) which citizens can apply for this kind of work visa in Singapore.
Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t belong to the approved sources (countries) which citizens can apply for this kind of working visa in Singapore.
Unfortunately, Australia doesn’t belong to the approved sources (countries) which citizens can apply for this kind of working pass in Singapore.
Unfortunately, countries of the EU don’t belong to the approved sources which citizens can apply for this kind of working visa in Singapore.
No. This work pass belongs to the sponsored passes that are attached to an employer who hires a foreigner. It is impossible to get this work visa without a job offer because only the employer or an accredited agency can apply for this work visa based on the existing offer. The only visa that allows a foreign employee to arrive in Singapore before getting the job offer is the Personalised Employment Pass. This work pass is intended for high-paid professionals whose monthly salary is over 18,000SGD.
First of all, a foreigner must find a job in one of the approved niches such as construction, marine, manufacturing, process, or service. Then the employer can submit an application and all the required documents using the electronic system WP Online or the services of the accredited visa agency. The consideration takes only 1 working day if the MOM is satisfied with the quality of the submitted papers. After the working pass is approved, the foreigner can arrive in the country and start the registration process along with his/her employer. After the registration, the working pass card is usually delivered in 4 working days.
Actual fees can be found on the website of the Ministry of Manpower. The MOM takes fees both for the application and the issuance of a working pass.
A result of the work pass application is usually announced in 1 working day if the documents are of acceptable quality. If the MOM finds documentation obscure, it may require you to provide additional papers.
Yes, although some specific requirements may be implied such as a qualifying salary, a minimum amount and so on. These requirements will depend on the purpose of the account needed. Opening a bank account in Singapore is an easy and straightforward procedure; however, banks reluctantly open such accounts for foreigners working on the lowest work visa categories. Having a credit card is possible theoretically, but hardly achievable in practice.
An announced increase of a levy for a working permit is held off until 2016. The only sector that will keep the levies on the level of 2014 is manufacturing. It is because this sector is more productive and less crowded by unskilled foreign manpower. For construction niche, which is one of the most congested, the levy for basic-skilled foreigners will increase from 550 SGD to 650 SGD from July 1, 2016. The government sees this practice as a very helpful tool in reducing the inrush of working permit holders.
This work pass is usually processed in 1 working day unless there are some issues with the documentation.
If a foreigner loses his/her working visa card, an employer has to ask for a replacement using the service WP Online no later than 1 week after the event. A fee is applied, and it is threefold if the loss happens repeatedly. A new card is usually issued in 4 working days. If the lost card is found accidentally, it must be returned to the authorities immediately. It is worth mentioning that the work pass holders must always carry their card wherever they go.
If a working pass holder finds a better employer, a new WP must be processed. Working pass holders aren’t allowed to take part in a new working pass application until they resign from the previous job and cancel their present working visa.This rule isn’t applicable to the Malaysian working pass holders. An employer who wants to hire a Malaysian has to process a separate WP even if this worker already has a valid WP. Once the employer receives a letter that the new WP is ready, the previous WP must be cancelled by the past employer before or on the same day when the new WP is collected.
To cancel the pass, the employer must go to the account on WP Online and do the cancelling procedure.
The total number of WP holders was 991,300 in December 2014. These numbers include 222,500 domestic workers and 322,700 construction workers.
Yes. A Singaporean registered doctor must examine the working pass holder within 14 days after his/her arrival to the country. Every foreigner must be checked for such infectious diseases as syphilis, tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV. The doctor will also assess whether the employee is physically capable of doing the job he/she is being hired for.
No. This working pass is issued for work purpose only. However, combining study and work is possible for international students studying in Singaporean universities. They are allowed to work during their term vacations (without applying for a working visa) and even during their academic terms (but no more than 16 hours a week).
Foreign students who complete their studies in Singapore have a chance to get qualified for a suitable work visa. Such work passes as Employment Pass, S Pass and Working Permit require an offer from the Singapore-based company as they are sponsored visas. So an international student must find a work in Singapore first and then have their employers apply for an appropriate work pass for them. After you complete your course, you can stay in Singapore for a year under the Long Term Social Visit Pass and use this time for job-hunting. As long as you possess a degree or diploma from a Singaporean institution, it is possible to get an upper-level working visa such as the S Pass or the EP. Working permit doesn’t require high school education, but such work is paid lower.
After an application was submitted using the WP Online, the same service can be used for inquiring a result. If the status is stated as “Follow Up”, it means the MOM officers found documents you submitted either incorrect or insufficient (obscure). Please use the “Re-Submit” option on WP Online to provide MOM with higher-quality documents. The status can also be checked by SMS. Please visit the MOM website to find out how.
A foreign female employee working on WP is eligible for a government-paid 16-week maternity leave only if she is legally married to a Singaporean or a Singaporean permanent resident (it is possible only after getting a special approval from the government) and her child is a Singaporean citizen. One more requirement includes working for a Singaporean employer at least 3 months before delivering a child in Singapore. If a female employee gets pregnant being unmarried legally or her lawful husband isn’t a Singaporean or a Singaporean PR, she isn’t eligible for the maternity leave and her Working Permit must be cancelled immediately.
The working permit was designed only for work purpose: to enable unskilled foreigners to get temporary jobs in the country. The government reluctantly gives permanent residence to holders of this work visa. Getting a higher salary, having worked for more years in the country and getting married with a Singaporean citizen or a Singaporean permanent resident may help, but still doesn’t guarantee getting the PR. The outcome will rather depend on the employee’s personal merits.
No, the wages working permit holders get (below 2,200 SGD) is insufficient for getting qualified for the Dependant’s Pass. Today, the minimum salary that allows taking a spouse along is 4,000 SGD (5,000 SGD from September 2015).
No, holders of this work visa aren’t allowed to take their relatives along using the Long Term Social Visit Pass because their salary is insufficient. The minimum qualifying salary for this pass is 4,000 SGD (5,000 SGD from September 2015). The salary that allows bringing parents is even higher – 8,000 SGD.
It is allowed; however, it can be quite expensive. Since June 2015, working permit holders whose job is connected with driving must pass a practical driving test along with a theory www. This rule concerns drivers of the C category that includes cars, commercial vans, and buses. Please take into account that that holders of this work pass aren’t allowed to drive on public roads in the course of work unless they were hired as drivers (some service-related occupations that entail driving also may be allowed to drive).If you need to drive a car for your own purpose, you can use your driving licence during first 12 months of your stay in Singapore; to extend your right to use your car, you must convert your driving licence into the Singaporean one. But anyway, you should weigh all pros and cons as owning a car is very expensive in Singapore. Public transport and taxis are usual options for holders of this work visa.
Any income earned in Singapore is subject to the income tax. Its rate will depend on the number of days a foreigner spends in Singapore per year. If it is less than 60 days or the foreigner’s country has an agreement of double taxation avoidance with Singapore, this foreigner doesn’t pay any income tax. If the number of days a foreigner spends in Singapore is less than 183, he/she is considered a non-resident and is taxed at the rate of 15% or at the resident rate (the higher rate is applied). If the number of days you spend in the country is more than 183, you are taxed the same as a resident (at the rate of 2-28%).
Yes, it is possible theoretically; however, getting a loan for a foreigner won’t be as easy as for a native Singaporean or a permanent resident. Banks give loans reluctantly even for EP holders, and avoid dealing with WP holders, but licenced moneylenders come into play. Realizing that working permit holders are a risky category, they give loans but minimize the risk for themselves using special conditions.
No. A special approval from the MOM is required for such marriage. Even if the working permit was cancelled or expired, such approval is still needed. This is explained by the pass’ destination: according to the government, work visa holders ought to come to Singapore only for job purpose, not for acquiring families and raising children there. The same rule concerns getting pregnant in Singapore. If the female holder of the working permit gets pregnant in the unapproved marriage, her working permit might be cancelled and she will be deported to her native country.
No. A special approval from the MOM is required for such marriage. Such approval is still needed even if the working permit was cancelled or expired. This restriction is explained by the pass’ destination: the government believes that work visa holders ought to come to Singapore only for work purpose, not for having families and children there. The same prohibition concerns pregnancy. If the female holder of the working permit gets pregnant in the unapproved marriage (or it is an out-of-wedlock pregnancy), her working permit might be cancelled and she will be deported to her native country.
Yes, unless they marry the Singaporeans or the Singaporean permanent residents. To marry these two categories, holders of the working permit must get a special approval from the MOM. This condition also concerns former WP holders.
Both work visas have such constraints as foreign worker levy and quota; however, S Pass holders aren’t subject to a security bond and many other restrictions WP holders face. As S Pass workers usually draw much higher salaries, they have a chance to bring their families to Singapore under Dependant’s Pass or LTVP. They are allowed to marry the Singaporeans or Singaporean permanent residents, get pregnant and deliver a baby in Singapore. WP holders are deprived of such privileges as their working visa was developed for work purpose only. The S Pass is better because it gives a foreigner higher salary, higher potential for promotion and a higher chance for getting the permanent residence. For working permit holders, upgrading to the S Pass is possible only if the foreigner is able to prove his/her valuable skills and acceptable educational qualifications (certificates, diplomas, degrees).
Every foreigner pursuing a working visa has to be at least 18 years old. The upper age limit for the Malaysians is 58 years while, for non-Malaysians, it is 50.
Holders of this working pass are allowed to keep and use their Malaysian-registered (any other foreign-registered) vehicle only under certain conditions:
- being a registered owner of this car;
- residing outside Singapore;
- holding a valid driving licence, insurance and having the Singaporean road tax paid;
- the car is going to be used at least 6 hours a day outside of Singapore.
Please find out other requirements on the official website of the Singaporean Land Transport Authority.
The status of your working visa application can be checked using the services WP Online or EP Online depending on which one was used for lodging the application. If your status is “Follow Up”, it means you uploaded incorrect or obscure documentation, and you must fix and re-submit your papers. You can also inquire about the status using the SMS service (find out more details on the website of the MOM).
Yes. Although this type of work pass is tied to a specific employer, the working pass holder can change the job, but the present working permit must be cancelled before a new employer applies for a WP for this foreigner. Only Malaysian employees can take part in a new WP application with a new employer while being still employed by the old employer. If the new application succeeds, the former employer must cancel the old WP before or on the same day the new WP is collected. Please take into account that when the work visa gets cancelled the foreigner must leave Singapore no later than 1 week after the pass cancellation, and the new application can be submitted only after a non-Malaysian worker leaves Singapore.
No. Such work visa doesn’t allow its holder to start his/her own business in Singapore. The work visa holder’s activity must be only within the job scope specified in the contract with the employer.
No, getting pregnant and delivering a child in Singapore while being employed under the working visa (WP) isn’t allowed unless the working permit holder is already married to a PR or a citizen (after special approval from the MOM).
No. Work pass holders aren’t allowed to give birth in Singapore unless they are married to a Singaporean citizen or a Singaporean PR after special approval of the MOM.
Yes, for working in Singapore under this kind of work visa, a degree isn’t required.
Yes, it is possible theoretically, especially if you plan to buy a car for your own money: banks and moneylenders reluctantly give loans to a holder of a working visa. You must have heard that buying a car in Singapore is very expensive. It is so because there are at least 6 components that increase the total cost of your car: the registration fee, the additional registration fee, the certificate of entitlement, road tax, excise duty, goods and services tax, and used car surcharge.
This kind of work pass doesn’t have the upper and the lower salary limit because it is the only working visa in Singapore that is intended for unskilled manpower. It is separated from the higher-tier S Pass not only with the salary barrier of 2,200 SGD but also with the skill and education requirement. So basically the salary of WP holders is lower than 2,200 SGD.
A card loss is a common situation as work pass holders are required to keep their cards wherever they go. If the employee’s work visa card was lost, damaged or stolen, the employer must require the replacement card using the account on WP Online. This must be done no later than 7 days after the accident. Over and above, if the card was stolen, police must be informed. A fee is applied, and it is threefold if the card loss repeats. The new card will be produced and delivered in 4 working days.
The quota depends on the sector of the economy. For example, it is 15% of the total workforce for service niche and 20% for construction, marine, domestic, process, and manufacturing workers.
The Employment Pass is a work visa developed for overseas talented professionals, managers and directors whose monthly salary starts from 3,300 SGD. In comparison with the WP, Employment Pass has a lot of privileges:
- an opportunity to take relatives and family along to Singapore (provided that the salary starts from 5,000 SGD);
- the highest possible chance for getting the status of a permanent resident;
- better opportunities in getting loans for buying property;
- starting a business is allowed;
- getting married, getting pregnant and giving birth to a baby in the country is allowed (however, the baby can stay in the country as dependant only if the salary of one of the parents is no less than 5,000 SGD);
- EP isn’t subject to quota, levies, and security bond.
The working permit (WP) was intended to enable foreign unskilled manpower to live and work in Singapore for a short period of time (2 years) and therefore, it doesn’t include benefits that motivate such employees to stay in the country permanently:
- WP doesn’t allow starting a business;
- marriages with the Singaporean citizens and Singaporean PRs are prohibited unless the government gives a special approval;
- WP holders cannot take relatives along;
- chances of WP holders for the permanent residence are very uncertain, though existing;
- employers that hire foreigners under WP must pay the security bond and a monthly levy for every worker, and ensure the ratio of WP holders to the total staff at his/her firm is no more than 15-20%.
The maximum duration of this working pass is 2 years, but it can be less as it depends on the validity of the foreigner’s passport, term of employment and the duration of the security bond the employer pays. 6-8 weeks before the initial working visa expires, it can be extended for a period of 2 years maximum (the duration of the extended visa will also depend on the passport’s and the security bond’s validity).
A renewal procedure can be made online (using WP Online) 6-8 weeks before the work pass expires. But before making this step, the employer must check the quota and prolong the worker’s insurance and the security bond. It is crucial to make the renewal in time as a fine is imposed for the delay. If the employer can’t meet the renewal deadline, it is possible to ask for an extension.
A working pass (WP) must be cancelled in 7 days after it expires or the employment ends. This can be done online using the service WP Online either by the employer or by the accredited visa agent. The procedure takes up to 3 working days. After cancellation, the acknowledgement letter and a special pass must be printed: they allow a foreigner to stay in Singapore before the departure. The departure must be organised no later than 7 days after the cancellation: the employer must buy the travel ticket and ensure the foreigner really leaves the country. Only after all requirements are met and the employee leaves Singapore in time, the employer can get his security bond refunded.
If the working visa application is successful, the result will be announced in 1 working day. It can be longer if the MOM requires additional documents. The employer can track the status of the application using the same account on WP Online that was used for submitting the application. Sometimes, if the documents are insufficient, the MOM officer informs about it with the “Follow Up” status. When the working pass is approved, the printed in-principle approval letter allows the foreign employee to enter Singapore. Once the worker is already in Singapore, the working pass is issued, the registration takes place and afterwards, the pass will be delivered in 4 working days.
This work pass doesn’t have a minimum and maximum salary as it is the only work pass designed especially for unqualified foreign manpower that arrives in Singapore for working purpose only. The salary is at the employer’s discretion. Taking into consideration that the employer must pay a security bond and a monthly levy for every foreign working visa holder, the salary is usually kept lower than 2,200 SGD due to these expenses.
Both the S Pass and the WP imply such constraints as the foreign worker levy and quota; nevertheless, S Pass holders aren’t subject to a security bond and many other restrictions WP holders face. Due to higher salaries of the S Pass holders, they have a chance to bring their families in Singapore when their salary reaches 5,000 SGD (the minimum salary for getting the Dependant’s Pass or LTVP for family members and relatives). WP holders are deprived of this privilege as well as of being allowed to get married with the Singaporeans and Singaporean PRs, get pregnant and deliver a baby in Singapore. An S Pass holder has a much higher chance for getting the status of a permanent resident while a WP holder’s odds for PR are quite obscure. For WP holders, upgrading to the S Pass is possible only if the foreigner proves his/her valuable skills and acceptable educational qualifications (degree, diploma, and certificates).
No. This working visa belongs to the sponsored visas, and it means that there must be an employer who will do the application process (although it may be done via a visa agency), pay the security bond (for non-Malaysian workers) and the monthly levy. This employer takes full responsibility for the worker’s health, job-related activity, lawful behaviour and housing conditions. So if you are interested in this working visa, you must find the job first. This can be done using the internet job banks.
First of all, you must register on the governmental service WP Online: submission of the application and the related documents takes place online in this electronic system. If you aren’t sure you would manage the online submission, you can entrust this task to an accredited visa agency. If this is the first time you need to apply for a working pass, you must ensure your business has an acceptable representation at the government. If you don’t know how to declare your business activity, this also can be entrusted to a visa agency. The list of the required documents can be found on the website of the Ministry of Manpower. Ensure your employee’s passport duration is sufficient for the planned term of the employment. Documents that aren’t in English must be translated into this language professionally. If you involve a visa agent, he will shoulder your paperwork and ensure the documents are compiled according to the latest trends of the MOM. When all papers are ready, the employer or the visa agent fills in the application form online and submits the documents. The result will be announced in 1 working day.
Yes. Only foreigners that hold appropriate work visas are allowed to work in Singapore. The working permit fits unskilled employees who don’t have an acceptable education and valuable skills. A foreign employee must find a job in Singapore first, and then an employer will apply for a suitable working visa for this employee.
Yes, a foreign employee can switch over to a new employer, but it means that a new employer has to apply for a new working pass for this employee. Unless the employee is Malaysian, new WP application can be submitted only after the present employment is closed up and the present WP is cancelled. Changing an employer is always a risk for a foreigner who holds the working visa (WP). The cancellation of the work pass means that the foreigner must be departed from the country in no longer than 7 days. If the employee is a Malaysian, a new work pass application can be submitted while the employee is still employed by his/her present employer. Then, if the application is successful, the old WP must be cancelled before or on the same day a new WP is collected.
An employer must report the loss and ask for the replacement card using the WP Online system no later than 7 days after the event. The fee is imposed for the lost card, and it is threefold if the loss repeats. The new card will be ready in 4 working days. If the WP card holder finds his/her old card accidentally, it must be returned to the authorities right away.
A work pass application is usually processed in 1 working day if there are no issues with documents. If the application is successful, the in-principal approval letter must be printed: it allows a foreigner to arrive in Singapore and get registered for the card issuance. After the registration, the card is usually delivered in 4 working days.
No. Any other activity that is not connected with a job (contract) is prohibited for a holder of this work visa (WP). The only working pass that allows a foreigner to open his/her own company is the Employment Pass.
The status of your working visa application can be checked online using the service WP Online. Despite the processing time of this work visa is very short (1 working day), it is crucial to check the status because the approval can be put off if there are issues with documents. If the status on WP Online account is stated as “Follow Up”, it means the applicant must re-submit the papers.
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.
An employer is obliged to take care of updating an employee’s actual address for the authorities. Every time the address changes, an employer must inform the MOM about the change using the Online Foreign Worker Address Service. You can find details on the website of the Ministry of Manpower.