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Singapore Employment Pass (EP): Latest 2024 Guide for Companies and Foreigners

Singapore Employment Pass (EP): Latest 2024 Guide for Companies and Foreigners

EP Renewal
Welcome to the gateway of opportunities in vibrant Singapore — the Employment Pass (EP). Since its inception in 2008, the EP has emerged as one of the most commonly administered employment visas, targeting foreign professionals, managers, and executives. 

An employment pass holder can access the lively, expat-friendly city-state, renowned for its robust economic infrastructure and cosmopolitan lifestyle. For professionals aspiring to excel in a competitive global arena, Singapore offers a thriving ecosystem that nurtures growth and innovation. 

It enables your employee’s journey into this bustling business hub, where multicultural experiences meet unparalleled professional opportunities. As a crucial tool for talent mobility, the EP aligns with Singapore’s strategic intent to attract skilled individuals who can contribute to its economic success.

Get Help With EP Applications

With the EP, your employee can enter a world of opportunities that promises growth, stability, and a high quality of life. 

This guide will equip you with essential insights into navigating the EP landscape for your foreign staff, setting the stage for a successful and enriching experience in Singapore’s thriving economic environment.

What is the Singapore EP? An Overview

The EP is a fundamental work visa in Singapore, designed for foreign professionals, managers, and executives. Here is a quick overview of its key features:

  • Purpose and Target Group: Primarily issued to foreign professionals, managerial personnel, and executives, the EP enables qualified individuals to work in Singapore, contributing to its economy.
  • Validity and Renewal: Typically valid for two years, the EP can be renewed for up to three years, offering flexibility and continuity for its holders.
  • Integration into Singapore’s Workforce: The EP is designed to integrate global talent into Singapore’s diverse workforce, enriching the professional landscape.
  • Gateway to Permanent Residency: Holding an EP can enhance the eligibility for permanent residency in Singapore, offering a pathway to long-term settlement and career development.

Eligibility Criteria for Singapore’s EP

To qualify for the Singapore EP, candidates must pass a two-stage eligibility framework that reflects the city-state’s aim of attracting high-quality talent. Understanding these requirements is crucial for applicants to gauge their eligibility and prepare for a successful application.

  • Singapore Employment Pass Salary Requirement: The cornerstone of eligibility is the EP qualifying salary. As of the latest guidelines, applicants must earn at least S$5,000 (S$5,500 for the financial services sector) monthly, with more experienced professionals expected to command higher salaries to qualify. The final minimum qualifying salary will depend on the candidate’s age and credentials.

    These employment pass salaries are benchmarked to the top one-third of local professional, manager, executive, and technician (PMET) salaries by age. This ensures that the scheme attracts individuals who can contribute significantly to Singapore’s economy.

  • COMPASS Framework: Following the salary requirement, applicants are evaluated through the Comprehensive Assessment Framework (COMPASS), introduced in 2023, which assigns up to 40 points across four foundational criteria:
    1. Salary: Earning 10 points for meeting the prevailing salary expectations for their sector and role.
    2. Qualifications: Evaluated for the relevance and quality of higher education and professional training. A recognised tertiary qualification is often necessary, alongside a proven track record in one’s field, demonstrating the expertise and experience required for the role.
    3. Diversity: Points are awarded based on the applicant’s contribution to the diversity of the company’s workforce.
    4. Support for Local Employment: Assessed on the company’s commitment to nurturing a strong local core alongside foreign talent.

COMPASS framework
Source: MOM

Each criterion is scored as:

  • 20 points: exceeds expectations
  • 10 points: meets expectations
  • 0 points: does not meet expectations

An employment pass application needs at least 40 points to pass COMPASS. Applicants can exceed certain criteria or earn additional points through bonus categories like possessing skills in the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) or contributing to strategic economic priorities. Employers can use the MOM’s Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to pre-check an applicant’s eligibility for the EP.

Applicants earning a fixed monthly salary of at least S$22,500 are exempted from COMPASS.

Related Read: Guide to the COMPASS Strategic Economic Priorities (SEP) Bonus

How to Apply for Employment Pass in Singapore

  1. Document Preparation: Gather all necessary documentation, including:
    1. The candidate’s written consent to apply for the EP
    2. Completed candidate’s form, which has information you will need for the application
  2. Application Submission: Applications should be submitted online via MOM’s EP eService system. This method is applicable only if the employing Singapore company has registered for an EP online account. Online applications are generally processed or updated within 10 days.
  3. Notification of Approval: Once the application is processed and approved, MOM will issue an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter to the employing company’s address to provide the employment pass status. The IPA is valid for 6 months from the date of issuance and includes details on the EP collection.
  4. Collection of EP: Employment pass applicants must come to Singapore with the IPA letter, passport, and any additional documents specified in the IPA for collection. A medical test may also be required. If applicable, Dependant Passes (DP) and Long-Term Visit Passes (LTVP) for family members can be collected simultaneously with the EP.

EP Renewal

Singapore Employment Pass Guide

To renew an EP, the application should be initiated at least six months before the current pass expiry through MOM’s online portal, myMOM.  Employment pass holders seeking renewal must continue meeting all the necessary eligibility criteria.

This includes the COMPASS framework requirements (for an EP expiring from 1 Sept 2024 onwards), to continue employment in Singapore. Timely submission of the renewal application is crucial to maintaining lawful employment status without interruption.

Appeals for a Rejected EP

If an EP application is rejected, the applicant or the sponsoring company may submit an appeal. This appeal must address the specific reasons for the rejection detailed by the MOM. 

It is crucial to prepare the appeal meticulously, providing any additional documentation or clarification needed. Appeals are typically processed within 4-6 weeks. This timeframe allows MOM to review the additional details provided and make a well-informed decision on the application.

Family Ties and Dependant Passes

Employment Pass (EP) holders in Singapore can sponsor their family members under specific conditions:

  • Dependant’s Pass (DP): Issued to the legally married spouse and children under 21 years of age of EP holders. The EP holder must earn a minimum fixed monthly salary of S$6,000 to qualify for sponsoring dependants.
  • Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP): Available for common-law spouses, unmarried handicapped children over 21 years old, and unmarried stepchildren under 21 years old. EP holders must also meet the same salary requirements as the DP.
  • LTVP for Parents: Parents of EP holders can be sponsored if the EP holder has a minimum fixed monthly salary of S$12,000.

These passes are aligned with the EP and expire simultaneously, providing a cohesive framework for family relocation and settlement in Singapore.

Where to Next With InCorp

While the process for obtaining a Singapore EP is designed to be straightforward, the complexities of eligibility criteria, documentation, and procedural nuances can pose challenges. 

Engaging an expert advisor like InCorp can be invaluable in enhancing the likelihood of success. InCorp specialises in assisting companies with their EP applications, ensuring compliance, and optimising the approval process. 

Ready to streamline your EP application process or need further guidance on living and working in Singapore for your employees? Contact InCorp today for expert assistance in Singapore.

FAQs About Employment Pass in Singapore

  • As of 2023, the minimum salary required for an Employment Pass in Singapore is S$5,000 per month for new applicants.
  • It can take up to 8 weeks to process an EP application in Singapore.
  • Required documents include a passport, educational certificates, a job description, and a company business profile registered with ACRA.

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About the Author

Mel Bakar

Mel specializes in Employment Pass and Work Pass applications through the Ministry of Manpower. She also handles Long-Term Visit Pass applications through the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.

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