Few highly developed countries would issue work visas to immigrants and leave them inside uncontrolled. Singapore isn’t an exception. It just can’t open its border for the intense inrush of immigrants and let them do whatever they want in Singapore (we mean jobs unrelated to their specialization). That’s why the government requires work visas to be tied to a particular employer who acts as a sponsor. This way the authorities can control the salary and qualifications of the foreign employee to ensure they let only the most talented workers in.
Sponsorship needed to apply for Employment Pass really complicates the procedure, but it is the only way to keep immigrants tied to specific employers and their relevant niches (to control that managers work as managers, designers as designers and constructors as constructors). It may sound funny, but there are immigrants from poor countries who strive to force into Singapore at any cost saying they are “ready for any job.” Such approach totally disagrees with the MOM’s firm intention to provide Singaporean jobs for immigrants with exceptional and relevant skills. The authorities don’t feel like provoking the local talents for indignation by stepping on their rice bowls.
If you have already found a job with an expected salary of at least $3,600, your Singapore-based employer can apply for your Employment Pass and act as your sponsor. The local sponsor is responsible for ensuring that the foreigner will work within a legal framework and within his specialization. The sponsor is also responsible for repatriation. If you haven’t found the job yet, we have a few options for you:
- If the reason why you can’t land a job in Singapore is in misunderstanding, a visa agency can help. When the employer informed about MOM’s harsh regulations hesitates hiring a foreigner (you), you can bring your problem to our visa consultants. Very often such fears are caused by misconception of the situation. After our consultants provide competent consulting and explain the employer all benefits and responsibilities of hiring foreign staff, the employer might be more open and give you a job offer. This smart solution has already helped to persuade a lot of Singaporean companies and fulfill the desirable employment.
- You have a few of absolutely legal ways to arrive to Singapore for job-hunting: Social Visit Pass or Work Holiday Pass. SVP gives you up to 4 weeks you can use for looking for a job, interviews and other activities except work. This visa can also be prolonged for another 3 months. WHP is a great opportunity for students and fresh graduates. The visa gives a right to live in Singapore up to 6 month while having an internship. This time can be used for searching a job as well.
- If you are a mid to senior executive with exceptional work experience who earns a salary of at least $18,000, Singapore offers you a self-sponsored visa that is tied to you, not your specific employer – Personalized Employment Pass. You don’t need sponsorship for this Employment Pass. Holding it, you can arrive to Singapore before starting your job-hunting. Plus you can stay in Singapore for 6 months between jobs (you can switch them at your own discretion). This pass is a tremendous opportunity to have a comfortable start in Singapore. 3 years it gives you in Singapore are more than enough to find a decent job and even apply for Permanent Residency. PEP can’t be renewed, so after the initial 3-year period, the pass must be substituted with other suitable work visa, for example, Employment Pass that will require sponsorship.
Selection of EP candidates is very tough. Except the sponsorship requirement, the MOM will assess the applicant’s education, work experience, skills relevant to the job scope, nationality and company’s business indices. To provide insight into MOM’s criteria, we should say in a nutshell that the government prefers talented and highly experienced workers who are degree holders, graduated from reputable institutions and who possess prominent and asked-for skills advantageous for Singaporean economy. The company that acts as a sponsor must be well-established and show good track record including that in hiring local manpower.
Requirements for the renewal procedure remain also tough as the MOM needs to make sure you still fit the criteria. In any case it’s better to have your situation assessed by a qualified visa agent. A simple and free readiness test will estimate your eligibility and help to outline the next step of successful application.