The Different Work Passes In Singapore

Singapore attracts companies from all over the world to set up shop on its shores. Inevitably, the nation sees experienced professionals continually arriving and add value to its economy. Concurrently, the service industry grows to support these companies and professionals. With people of all levels of skills arriving in Singapore, there has to be a way to manage their stay in the country. To this end, the Ministry of Manpower has in place a set of work passes catered to the different classes of foreign labour in Singapore.

Probably the most commonly-encountered pass encountered in the corporate environment, the Employment Pass (EP) is the document that is issued to foreign professionals and executives who work in Singapore. Most of the workers in the banking industry and the IT industry belong to this category. An EP is issued to a professional who already has a job offer in a managerial or executive position. Such a professional is expected to possess a good degree from a generally-recognised university or a professional qualification. He or she is also required draw a monthly salary is $3,300 (raised to $3,600 from 1 January 2017). It should be noted that the Ministry does not only consider paper qualifications in its evaluation. Someone who does not possess the necessary qualifications may not necessarily be rejected; the Ministry will also consider his or her skills and other factors.

Another pass that is catered to the professionals is the Entrepass. This pass is meant for people who wish to start companies in Singapore. The Entrepass is valid for one year only and there is a set of criteria that must be met. The applicant must have started or intend to start a Private Limited company with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). This company must have a minimum of $50,000 in paid-up capital and must be at least 30% owned by the applicant. The applicant must also be able to demonstrate to the Singapore government that he or she is a recipient of funding or investment from a recognised venture capitalist (VC), holds an intellectual property (IP) that is registered with an approved national IP institution, is involved in research with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) or a Singapore-based university, or is part of an incubation programme supported by the Singapore government. Whichever criteria the application is able to satisfy, he or she must also ensure that the IP, the research or the incubatee work must be related to the business.

Away from the realms of the professional workers, there are several work passes that cater to the semi-skilled workers. The ones that are associated with businesses are the S Pass and the Work Permit. The S Pass is issued to semi-skilled workers who find jobs in the technical fields and earn a minimum wage of $2,200 a month. Such workers are normally technicians in a manufacturing environment. While the Ministry mandates that these workers should have a degree or a diploma, it is prepared to consider applicants with lower qualifications but who possess certificates relevant to the fields in which they are working. The criteria of such certification should include at least a year of full-time study. One final consideration for the issuance of the S Pass is the number of years of experience in the industry. Ideally, they should have worked for a minimum of one or two years before applying.

The final tier of work passes is the Work Permit (WP). The WP is generally meant for unskilled workers who hail from certain approved countries. It caters to such diverse industries as construction, manufacturing, marine, process and services. The requirements for the issuance of the Work Permit varies between the industries, however, all employers are subject to a set of common requirements like the need for a security bond, medical insurance and medical examination, as well as housing requirements. While it may seem a herculean task to fulfill these requirements, they are necessary to ensure that the foreign unskilled workers are adequately taken care of and are able to work in their respective positions safely and productively.

The Singapore government, through the Ministry of Manpower, has in place a comprehensive set of work passes and associated requirements that cover the foreign workers who contribute to the economy. This system ensures that Singapore’s business landscape remains vibrant and inviting to companies.

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