Work Pass Processing in Singapore

Work Pass Processing in Singapore

•  Are you looking to hire foreign talent?

•  Are you looking for how Singapore’s Work Pass system works?

This post covers the basics, and the latest updates and criteria for hiring foreigners in Singapore, focusing on the most common work passes for our ecosystem – scale-up technology companies. We will examine critical differences between the Employment Pass and the S Pass, the work pass processing timeframe, and how cultivate can help you in this process.

What is a Work Pass?

All foreigners require a valid pass to start working in Singapore, which can be processed by the employer (company) or an Employment Agency (such as cultivate). The two most common types of Work Pass we process at cultivate are:

•  Employment Pass (EP): For managerial, executive, or specialist jobs, a minimum fixed salary of SGD 4,500 per month and a minimum of SGD 5,000 per month for the Financial Services sector. Note that the minimum salary will increase to SGD 5,000 – 5,500 in September 2022. While there is officially no quota for EPs, we recommend our clients maintain a solid local workforce of 60 – 70% of total headcount and ensure all EP applicants have acceptable qualifications, experience, and specialised skills.

•  S Pass: For mid-level skilled employees with a minimum salary of SGD 2,500. The minimum salary will increase in September 2022 to SGD 3,000 – 3,500. The number of S-Passes a company can hire is limited by a quota (10% of the total workforce). The employer must also pay a monthly levy. S Pass quotas will also be updated from 1 January 2023. S Pass holders also require medical insurance to be issued a pass.

It’s also important to note, to be eligible to apply for a Dependant Pass (DP) on either of these Work Passes, the candidate must have a minimum salary of SGD 6,000.

Timeframe for Work Pass Processing

At cultivate, we encourage our clients to align the Work Pass process to the hiring cycle. Use it to source and consider all candidates fairly and ensure no delays when it comes time to apply for a Work Pass.

Below we have outlined a timeframe following the recruitment process, the requirements asked for by MOM, and the application cost.

Recruitment ProcessItemDetails/ RequirementsCost (SGD)
Start of Hiring CycleMyCareersFuture (MCF) Job PostBefore applying for an EP or S Pass, employers must advertise on MCF for 28 days.

The MOM does offer some practical exemptions such companies with less than 10 employers, for candidates paid above SGD 20,000, short-term roles, or local transferees.
Interview ProcessSelf-Assessment Tool (SAT)Use the SAT to check a candidate’s eligibility before you consider applying for a Work Pass.Free
OfferWork Pass ApplicationTo apply for a Work Pass, MOM requests the candidate’s biodata, details of their experience and academic qualifications. They will also ask about the company’s recruitment process and the reasons for the rejection of other candidates.$105
3 Weeks Processing Time by MOMThere are three outcomes that can come from MOM- Approval, Additional Documents Required, or Rejection.
Additional Documentation Required by MOMMOM may ask for additional documentation from the candidate or the employer such as bank statements, a salary justification letter, employee data, payslips, or a job description. We typically welcome these types of requests, as it’s better than a rejection!

Please note that if this happens, there’s an additional 3 weeks of processing time from the date of submission.
Work Pass ApprovalCongratulations! At this point, you will know the length of the Work Pass granted, and you will be issued an In-Principal Approval (IPA) for the candidate and a Declaration form for signature.

The signed Declaration Forms will be used for issuance. Note that the employee must be in Singapore to issue the Work Pass. S Pass Holders require appropriate health insurance and may also require a medical examination.
Work Pass IssuanceThe duration of the Pass starts from the issuance date. Upon issuance, we will know if the employee is required to attend an appointment at the MOM for card registration.$225 - $255

Let cultivate help!

Work Pass processing is overwhelming and time-consuming, which is why cultivate is a trusted partner for many of Singapore’s top tech and scale-up companies.

We manage it all:

•  The creation and tracking of MCF posts.

•  Candidate communication from the biodata collection through responding to all questions and addressing their concerns.

•  The A – Z application process, any necessary appeals or requests for documentation.

•  Processing related Dependent Passes.

•  Receiving and sending the FIN Card to your employee.

And, we will remind you when it is time for renewal and do it for you.

Want to know more? Contact us at [email protected], or feel free to contact any of the team on LinkedIn.