Work Permit in Singapore

Work permite

Definition: What Is Work Permit in Singapore?

The Work Permit is an official name of the working pass given to unskilled foreign manpower that seeks for employment in various niches of Singaporean economy (construction, babysitting, services, housekeeping, marine and so on). Only employees from approved sources are eligible for this working permit provided that they meet certain criteria while their employers are ready to pay a levy and the security bond, meet the quota criterion, and provide the worker with a healthcare insurance.

Benefits and Features of Working Permit

  • This work pass doesn’t have a salary requirement; though basically, the salary of work pass holders is usually lower than 2,200 SGD.
  • Only an employer or an authorised agency can initiate processing of this work pass.
  • The working permit is usually issued for a period of up to 2 years; however, this term depends on the passport validity of the working permit holder, term of employment, security bond, and other details.
  • This working pass is renewable under certain conditions.
  • No passes for families are available for such work pass holders.
  • The working permit is subject to quota which means that only specific percentage of manpower can be hired by one employer under the working permit.
  • This working visa is subject to levies (an amount of money an employer must pay monthly for his/her every working permit holder).
  • Employers are obliged to buy a healthcare insurance for their every working pass holder.
The procedure of obtaining the work visa depends on the country of origin. The nationality also defines whether the security bond must be paid by the employer:
  • A special work visa for the Malaysians. An employer who wants to hire a Malaysian has to process a separate work pass even if this worker already has a valid work pass (WP). Once the employer receives a letter that the new WP is ready, the previous WP must be cancelled by the past employer prior to or on the same day a new work pass is collected. For the Malaysian workers, the employer isn’t obliged to pay a security bond of 5,000 SGD.
  • A security bond of 5,000 SGD must be paid for employees from the following “sources”:
  • 1) North Asian countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau;2) “Non-Traditional” countries such as India, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Philippines, and The Republic of the Union of Myanmar;3) People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Advantages of Work Visa

  • This work pass gives semi-skilled foreign manpower an opportunity to be employed by Singapore-based well-established companies and households and be protected by the Singaporean advanced employee-employer legislation.
  • Holders of the working pass are provided with the health insurance that covers their needs in healthcare and working traumas.
  • This working pass is renewable so the employees can stay employed as long as they fit the employer.

Disadvantages or Work Visa

  • This working permit is subject to levies (mandatory monthly payment), quotas (percentage of foreigners that can be hired under this working visa) and security bonds that restrict the employer and make hiring a foreigner under this work pass undesirable for him.
  • Holders of this work pass aren’t allowed to take their families along to Singapore.
  • Working pass holders aren’t allowed to get married with the Singaporeans and the Singaporean permanent residents unless they get a special approval from the government. Having children is allowed only within such “approved” marriages.
  • Permanent Recidence isn’t provided for Working Permit holders.
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Eligibility Criteria and Requirements of the Work Permit

Working permit conditions for the foreigner:
    • Every foreigner pursuing a working visa has to be aged at least 18. The age limit for the Malaysians is 58 years while for non-Malaysians it is only 50.
    • The foreigner must have a valid passport.
    • Foreigners are allowed to work only within the work scope specified in their working permits. Working for another employer or starting their own businesses is illegal.
Working pass obligations for the employer:
  • Paying the declared salary to the worker.
  • Paying for the medical care.
  • Purchasing and maintaining medical insurance for the overseas worker worth at least 15,000 SGD that covers the worker’s day surgery and inpatient treatment during his/her residing in Singapore.
  • Following all terms determined in the employment act.
  • Ensuring that the foreign worker doesn’t get involved in any other employment except the one this working pass was issued for.
  • Providing compensation insurance in case the worker gets injured at work.
  • Providing the working pass holder with an acceptable housing.
  • Paying the security bond of 5,000 SGD before the worker’s arrival.
  • Meeting the overseas worker’s recreational and social needs.
  • Bearing the costs of repatriation of the working visa holder after the work is over.

What to Do if Working Permit Gets Rejected?

Working visa rejection is a common thing as the variety of requirements and conditions give enough space for mistakes. As foreigners who qualify for the work pass face fewer demands, most often the reasons for rejection come from the employer’s side. Common reasons for the rejection are:
  • the salary doesn’t correspond with the worker’s qualification;
  • the employer doesn’t meet the quota criterion;
  • the employer’s business isn’t well-established or it was spotted in the violation of the employment rights of the Singaporeans;
  • the foreigner has an insufficient educational qualification;
  • the employee comes from an unapproved source (country).
    The rejected pass can be appealed by the employer who is willing to hire the foreigner. The hiring company can appeal the rejected working pass successfully only if all of the problems the MOM points to in the rejection letter can be addressed. If you aren’t sure that you understand the reasons for rejection or that you would be able to address all of the issues carefully, it is better to involve the professional accredited visa agency that has a good track record in getting approvals for this kind of the work visa. Usually, 3 months are given for preparing for the appeal, and this time must be used efficiently to fix the problems, strengthen the weak points of the application and prepare the solid documentation.
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How to Apply: the Best Working Pass Scheme

It is crucial to analyse the situation and prepare the high-quality application and supportive documentation that represents both the employer and the employee from the best sides. If this is the first time the employer applies for a working pass, the MOM must be informed about the company’s activity. If the employer isn’t certain he would manage the online application process and achieve a winning representation of his/her business, it’s it better to entrust the case to an accredited visa agency. The benefit of involving an agency is in the full package service. You not only get your case assessed professionally and the potential weak points detected but also get your paperwork done, your business represented and the application prepared. The submission of the work pass application and documentation must be done online using the service WP Online. The consideration is quick and usually takes only 1 working day. It can be more if the MOM is unsatisfied with the quality of the documents you provide. The duration of the approved working visa is usually 2 years. However, if the work visa holder’s passport (or the employer’s security bond) expires earlier than in 2 years, the work visa’s duration will be defined either as the passport’s validity minus 1 month or the security bond’s validity minus 2 months. The security bond and the medical insurance must be bought (paid) before the foreigner arrives to start working.

Work Pass Renewal Process

When the first run of the working visa comes to an end, the working visa can be extended provided that the holder’s passport has enough validity. For example, the maximum renewal validity can be achieved if the passport’s validity is at least 25 months. An employer or an accredited visa agency can make the renewal procedure 6-8 weeks before the work pass’ expiry date using the service WP Online. This is a quick procedure, and the result can be found out immediately. Sometimes it happens that the employer cannot make the renewal in time because the foreigner’s passport is in the processing. In such cases, the employer can ask for an extension. A new security bond must be bought and the healthcare insurance must be extended for the term of the renewal. Once the renewal procedure is successful, the printed notification letter allows the foreigner to come to the country and wait for his/her work visa card.

Why Use Professional Agents/Consultants to Get Work Visa?

Due to a large quantity of requirements to both an employer and an employee, it is important to ensure that a business gets a decent representation at the MOM and all of the requirements can be met. Free assessment service a visa agency offers can be very helpful as you can get your situation estimated according to the MOM latest criteria before moving on to doing any paperwork. The visa agents are aware of the MOM public and undercover principles that may impact your case. It is even more crucial for a business to enlist a professional visa agency if this is the first time a working pass for a foreign staff is needed. The MOM seeks having sufficient information about every business that hires foreign manpower in order to track its hiring policy and avoid any employment discrimination concerning the local manpower. Therefore, for a company it is important to get all documents done according to the MOM standards. The visa consultant would check all the details and prepare a winning application that has a strong chance for approval.

Get FREE Work Permit Eligibility Assessment Today!

It is possible to find out the perspectives of your situation even before starting any application procedures. Book a free assessment of your eligibility and get a piece of pro advice on what you should fortify in your profile in order to increase the chance for the working visa approval.

FAQs for WP

+ What are the Singapore work visa requirements for the US citizens?

Unfortunately, the USA doesn’t belong to the approved sources (countries) which citizens can apply for this kind of work visa in Singapore.

+ What are the Singapore work visa requirements for the UK citizens?

Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t belong to the approved sources (countries) which citizens can apply for this kind of working visa in Singapore.

+ What are the Singapore work visa requirements for the Australian citizens?

Unfortunately, Australia doesn’t belong to the approved sources (countries) which citizens can apply for this kind of working pass in Singapore.

+ What are the Singapore work visa requirements for EU citizens?

Unfortunately, countries of the EU don’t belong to the approved sources which citizens can apply for this kind of working visa in Singapore.

+ Can I get the Singapore work visa without a job offer?

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.

+ How to obtain a working visa in Singapore?

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.

+ What is the working visa fee for Singapore?

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.

+ What is Singapore working visa processing time?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder open a bank account in Singapore?

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.

+ What are new rules and regulations for the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ What is Singapore Work Permit processing time?

This work pass is usually processed in 1 working day unless there are some issues with the documentation.

+ How to report the loss of the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ How to cancel a Work Permit in case of changing a job?

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.

+ What is the number of Work Permit holders in Singapore?

The total number of WP holders was 991,300 in December 2014. These numbers include 222,500 domestic workers and 322,700 construction workers.

+ Do I need a medical check up for a Work Permit Singapore?

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.

+ Can I study in Singapore with Work Permit?

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).

+ Can I get the Work Permit after studies in Singapore?

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.

+ How to check my Work Permit / pass status Singapore?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder go on maternity leave in Singapore?

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.

+ Can I convert a Work Permit into Singapore’s PR?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder apply for the Dependant’s pass for his/her spouse?

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).

+ Can a Work Permit holder apply for a Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTVP or LTSVP)?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder drive in Singapore?

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.

+ What is the Work Permit income tax rate?

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%).

+ Can a Work Permit holder get a personal loan in Singapore?

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.

+ Can a Singaporean PR marry a Work Permit holder?

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.

+ Can a Singaporean citizen marry a Work Permit holder?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder get married in Singapore?

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.

+ What is better: Singapore S Pass vs Work Permit?

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).

+ What are the age limit requirements for the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder drive a Malaysian car in Singapore?

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.

+ How to check the Work Permit status in Singapore?

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).

+ Can a Singapore Work Permit holder change an employer?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder register a business in 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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder get pregnant in Singapore?

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).

+ Can a Work Permit holder give birth in Singapore?

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.

+ Can I get a Singapore Work Permit without a degree?

Yes, for working in Singapore under this kind of work visa, a degree isn’t required.

+ Can a Work Permit holder buy a car in Singapore?

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.

+ What are the minimum and the maximum salaries for the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ What to do if I have lost my Work Permit card in Singapore?

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.

+ What is the quota for the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ What is the difference between the Employment Pass and the Work Permit Singapore?

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%.

+ What is the Work Permit duration?

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).

+ When to renew the Work Permit Singapore?

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.

+ How to cancel the Work Permit Singapore?

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.

+ How much time does it take to get the Singapore Work Permit?

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.

+ What are the minimum and the maximum salaries for the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ What is the difference between the S Pass and the Work Permit Singapore?

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).

+ Can I get the Singapore Work Permit without a job offer?

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.

+ How to apply for the Work Permit for an employee in Singapore?

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.

+ Is the Work Permit required for working in Singapore?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder change the job?

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.

+ How to replace the lost Work Permit Singapore?

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.

+ How long does it take to get the Work Permit in Singapore?

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.

+ Can a Work Permit holder register a company in Singapore?

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.

+ How to check the Singapore Work Permit status?

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.

+ How to change an address in my Work Pass?

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.
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)

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

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