If you’re a non-resident entering Singapore you must have a valid visa or work pass, and these fit into many different categories, so make sure you know which one applies to you.
Employment Pass (EP)
This is the main type of work pass for foreign professionals working in managerial, executive or specialized jobs. It has various conditions attached, and must be applied for by the employer or the agent. It is cancelled when the employment contract ends. Applicants need to hold recognized qualifications and should be earning a threshold amount to qualify for three different gradings:
P1: Foreigners earning more than $8,000 per month
P2: Foreigners earning between $4,500 and $8,000 per month
Q1: Foreigners earning more than $3,300
This pass is also applied for by the employer, and allows mid-level skilled non-citizens (eg technicians) to work. Applicants are assessed on a points system according to various criteria, and must be earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,200, and hold specific qualifications.
If you’re a foreign entrepreneur starting up your own business, this one’s for you. There is not so much emphasis on grades and qualifications; the onus is more on the type of company you are setting up and its potential. There are many requirements but here are the basics; you must be setting up a Private Limited Company that has at least $50,000 in paid-up capital, you must have a Singapore-based bank statement for verification, and applicants must hold at least a 30% share.
See our guide on starting a business for more information.
Work Permit Singapore
This pass is for foreigners who want to work in Singapore and are from an approved source or country. There are many specific categories, including Foreign Domestic Workers, Confinement Nannies and Performing Artistes. As with other passes, the employer must apply for the worker. The requirements are complicated and depend on the country the applicant is from, and which sector they are entering.
Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)
The PEP is an open work visa that is not linked to an employer and allows candidates to stay in Singapore for up to six months between jobs. It requires the applicant to be a foreign professional currently holding an EP with a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000.
Many visas are in place for those who are living in Singapore but not working, so you might belong to the family of the person with the Employment Pass, or you might be a student.
Dependant’s Pass (DP)
If you hold an Employment Pass (EP) or an S Pass and you’re bringing family with you, they will need one of these visas in order to stay here. The visa is for spouses (legally married) and unmarried children under 21 years of age. The EP holder who is applying must earn at least $4,000 per month.
Long-Term Visit Pass
This is also a visa that allows a person to stay in Singapore on a long-term basis, on the back of their partner’s Employment or S Pass – typically for a common-law spouse, unmarried stepchild under 21, or unmarried handicapped child above 21. There is a monthly salary requirement of between $4,000 and $8,000 for the applicant, depending on their situation.
This is a pass for foreign students. If the students are intending to work they need a Work Pass exemption, such as a Training Work Permit, Training Employment Pass or Work Holiday Program, details of which are on the MOM website. This pass is not necessary if you are the child of a person who has an EP or DP and attend a school that is registered with the Ministry of Education (MOE), but you will need one if you then wish to attend a Singaporean university or college.
Permanent Resident (PR)
A status awarded to expats who want to live in Singapore for the long-term, or a foreign resident whose spouse is already a Singaporean PR or citizen. Plenty of considerations are taken into account when a person is applying, and there are mixed blessings if you are successful; on the plus side, for instance, you’ll be eligible to be part of a national pension fund or buy a house, and could find it easier to set up a company. If you have a son, however, they will be expected to fulfil the national duty and carry out a two year stint of National Service (NS) – for better or worse.
We know – it’s a minefield, all of this, so to get the most up to date information on all things related to passes and permits, visit the MOM’s very thorough website.