12 Things to Know about Visas and Work Passes Before Working in Singapore

 In Community, Living and Experiences, Visas

How can I get a visa to work in Singapore?

Learning about the various work visas in Singapore can be tedious research. MOM’s website lists all the possible variants of visas but it takes too long to read. Read everything here in less than 12 minutes!

1. What is the easiest way to get a Singapore work visa?

The most hassle-free way to get a work visa to Singapore is to secure employment with a Singapore registered company for an Employment Pass (EP). The more well-established the company, the better. This will most likely guarantee you no headaches as your employer will be processing all the work required to secure you a 2-year (maximum of 5) EP.

There are several minimum requirements, such as a minimum monthly salary of at least $3,600, which can be found on MOM’s website. Before you decide to work in Singapore, find out if you pass most of the basic requirements. The EP application process may take up to 6 weeks, and is relatively cheap.

The EP can only be processed by an employer, thus you will need to have secured a job in Singapore before moving to Singapore.

MOOVAZ Employment pass Singapore sample

2. What if my Salary does not meet the EP threshold?

You might consider applying for a Special Pass (S Pass) instead to work in Singapore.

If you are a skilled technician with advanced expertise in industries such as chemicals, electronics, aerospace engineering, marine, or pharmaceuticals, the S Pass might be a better visa for you to work in Singapore.

For an S Pass, all you need would be a minimum salary and acceptable qualifications. The minimum monthly salary requirement is 2,300 SGD, and the employee should hold diplomas, degrees, certificates or work experience related to the developing industry in mind.

This 2-year SP can be extendable for a further 3 years.

3. What if I haven’t found a job in Singapore yet?

You might want to consider the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP).

Think of the PEP as a VIP way to work in Singapore. It is much harder to secure, but if you do, you enjoy more perks.

The PEP demands a minimum monthly salary of 18,000 SGD and an outstanding employment history in Singapore’s developing industries. In return, you can enjoy employment freedom and flexibility because this work visa is personally yours, and not bound to your employer. Thus, you may swap employers as often as you like.

The PEP can also springboard you to a Singaporean Permanent Resident (PR) status relatively easily.

However, one drawback is that application has to be done by the individual. But you can always look for visa agencies to do the work for you.

4. What if I want to start my own business in Singapore?

If you are looking to be your own boss in Singapore, you can consider the Entrepreneur Pass (Entrepass).

Entrepass holders must be able to demonstrate an entrepreneurial, investment or business track record, such as previously founded companies or other important accomplishments.

Singapore has recently laxed the requirements in 2017 such that paid-up capital is no longer required. However, to secure an Entrepass you must plan to start, or have already founded a company that is innovative and would contribute to Singapore’s employment.

Founded companies must be registered within 6 months after Entrepass approval, and no less than 30% of shares must be held by yourself. The EntrePass has a rather short lifespan of one year, but can be repeatedly renewed for 2 years.

There are 3 ways to qualify for the Entrepass: be an Entrepreneur, Innovator or Investor, each with different innovative criteria for application.

Note: Businesses such as hawker centres, bars, massage parlours, or employment agencies are not eligible for an Entrepass.

5. What if I am just looking to invest in Singapore?

If you are a high-net individual seeking potential permanent residency for you and your family, instead of working in Singapore, the Investor Visa is a possible option.

To obtain an Investor Visa, you are required to make an investment of $2.5 million SGD into either a new/existing company or into a special fund under Singapore’s Global Investor Programme (GIP). There are other requirements as well, including financial statements of your own company from the last 3 years to demonstrate entrepreneurial success and a turnover of at least $50 million SGD. This must be a company where 30% of shares or more is owned by you.

Applicants who intend to invest in a new/existing company instead of a GIP fund must produce a 5-year business plan, carry it out, and present audited statements after the second and fourth year.

6. Can I bring my spouse, children, parents or other family members to Singapore?

If you’ve considered Singapore’s high cost of living and decide to bring your family with you, there are two main options: the DP and LTVP

For EP, S Pass, PEP and Entrepass holders, the most common way to bring your family with you when you work in Singapore is through the Dependant’s Pass (DP). Dependants include lawful spouses and unmarried native/legally adopted children under 21 years of age. Parents or other relatives are discussed later below.

For dependants of EP/S Pass/PEP holders, the pass holder must:

  • Work for a well-established firm in Singapore, and
  • Earn 6,000 SGD or more

For dependants of Entrepass holders, the pass holder must:

  • Have created 3 or more jobs for Singaporeans,
  • Exceed 100k SGD of business spending,
  • Earn 6,000 SGD or more, and
  • Successfully pass the first-year visa renewal

The EP/S Pass/PEP holder’s employer must lodge the DP applications. DPs are valid for as long as the related work pass is valid, up to 2-years. DP is extendable.

Note that the government might reject a DP application if they notice that the main work pass holder’s earnings are insufficient or if their employer is performing badly.

MOOVAZ dependent pass Singapore sample

7. How do I bring in my parents and relatives if they don’t meet the DP criteria?

To bring your parents with you to Singapore, apply for a Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP), which is valid for the shorter of 2 years, or the main pass holder’s validity. This pass is also suitable for informal spouses, step/handicapped children, or other relatives.

The requirements for pass holders to obtain an LTVP for their parents are:

  • Work for a well-established firm in Singapore, and
  • Earn 12,000 SGD or more (6,000 SGD or more for children)

8. What about my children who are above 21 years old?

If your children is above 21, then they need to apply for LTVP too if they do not intend to work in Singapore. If they intend to work in Singapore then they should embark on an application for a separate EP/PEP/S Pass/EntrePass independent of their parents’ passes.

9. Can DP holders work in Singapore?

For DP holders to work in Singapore, the dependant would require a Letter of Consent, which is only available for dependants of EP, Entrepass or PEP holders. Dependants of S Pass holders must apply for a Work Permit, S Pass or EP instead.

Your employer should apply for the Letter of Consent on your behalf and you can only start working in Singapore after approval of the Letter of Consent.

10. Can LTVP holders work in Singapore?

Unfortunately, LTVP holders will not be able to work in Singapore without first obtaining either a work pass (EP/S Pass/Work Permit) or marrying a Singaporean or Permanent Resident.

11. Can pass holders start a family in Singapore?

If the monthly salary of either parent is at least 6,000 SGD, then the child also qualified for a special baby pass, otherwise the child must be deported overseas within 6 weeks.

12. How do I apply for a Permanent Residence (PR) in Singapore?

EP/PEP/S Pass/Entrepass holders are eligible to convert to a Permanent Resident (PR), through submitting salary slips from their past 6 months of working in Singapore after at least one year of working in Singapore.

The PR status is automatically granted to investors and their families when they make the minimum investment of SGD 2.5 million.

The perks of the PR status causes even the most premium employment visa to pale in comparison. Affordable housing and healthcare, better education for kids and business freedom are just some of the many perks that the PR enjoys.

Visa Types
Who is it For?
Minimum Monthly Salary (MMS)
Validity Term
Renewable?
Eligibility to bring Family:Family Pass Type
(Dependant's Pass)

Family Pass Type
(Long Term Visit Pass)
Can Pass Holder's Family Work in Singapore?
Employment Pass (EP)Foreign professionals with a job offer in Singapore
> $3,600
2 years
Yes
MMS at least 6,000
Legal Spouse, Children under 21 Common-law spouse, Stepchildren below 21, Parents
Dependant's Pass - Yes, with a Letter of Consent

Long Term Visit Pass - No
S PassMid-skilled technical staff
> $2,300
2 years
Yes
MMS at least 6,000
Legal Spouse, Children under 21
Dependant's Pass - No

Long Term Visit Pass - No
Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)High-earning overseas foreign professionals
> $18,000
3 years
No MMS at least 6,000
Legal Spouse, Children under 21
Common-law spouse, Stepchildren below 21, Parents
Dependant's Pass - Yes, with a Letter of Consent

Long Term Visit Pass - No
Entre Pass
(Spouse and Children Pass Only)
Foreign entrepreneurs who want to start and operate a new business in Singapore
No stipulated minimum salary
1 year
Yes
Total Annual Business Spending: >100,000 SGD

Employ: 3 FTEs or 1 PME
Legal Spouse, Children under 21 Dependant's Pass - Yes, with a Letter of Consent
Entre Pass
(With Parents Pass)
Foreign entrepreneurs who want to start and operate a new business in Singapore
No stipulated minimum salary
1 year
Yes
Total Annual Business Spending: >200,000 SGD

Employ: 6 FTEs or 2 PME
Legal Spouse, Children under 21 Common-law spouse, Stepchildren below 21, Parents
Dependant's Pass - Yes, with a Letter of Consent

Long Term Visit Pass - No

Note: Local FTEs refer to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents who earn a monthly salary of at least $1,200.
Local PMEs refer to professionals, managers and executives who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents, earn a monthly salary of at least $3,600.                        

CONCLUSION

There are many reasons to consider working in Singapore, and after this article demystifies the type of work visa most suitable for you, why not consider a change in lifestyle now to one of the world’s best places to work in?

Comment down below a reason why Singapore is a great place to work in!

Other Useful Weblinks:

Ministry of Manpower: mom.gov.sg 
Expat Living in SG: expatliving.sg
Singapore Employment Pass: singaporeemploymentpass.sg
Money Matters for Expats: moneymatters.com.sg
Singapore Personal Access (SingPass): singpass.gov.sg 
Entrepreneur’s Resource Centre: erc.com.sg 
EnterpriseOne: entrerpriseone.gov.sg 
International Enterprise (IE) Singapore: iesingapore.com 
Economic Development Board: edb.gov.sg 
Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority: acra.gov.sg 

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