Challenges & Obstacles In Obtaining Employment Pass

Singapore Employment Pass is a work visa available to foreigners to work in Singapore in certain specialized, managerial or executive positions. Generally speaking, it is one of 3 types of Passes that do not have a quotas assigned to them.

The other 2 passes are the  Personalised Employment Pass (PEP),  and Entrepreneurial Pass (EntrePass) which have more stringent requirements than the Employment Pass.

Recently Introduced criterions for Singapore Employment Pass (EP)

The application process for Singapore Employment Pass has been made stricter by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). But well qualified foreigners are able to gain the Employment Pass (EP). The minimum qualifying salary for applications has been raised to S$3600 from S$3300.  Candidates must have acceptable qualifications too ( ie  a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills.). Generally, these would be a minimum guideline to obtain an EP.

Previously, the applicants were only assessed on the basis of their academic qualifications, professional skills and expertise and their salary. However, now foreigners applying for the SIngapore Employment Pass are now also assessed on the basis of social and economic impact they will have on Singapore and its citizens.

It is not only the candidate who is assessed. The hiring Companies are also assessed on things like their local headcount. There needs to be a commitment by the company to hire Singaporeans. Companies with a disproportionately large numbers of foreigners may get their EP applications rejected as this is deemed as not showing a commitment to hire locals. These companies will get blacklisted and will find it hard to get their new or renewal applications for the work passes.

Companies may be asked to prove their cash flow to pay the salaries of employees. The extent of this could reach examining the companies’s bank accounts.  In extreme cases, even the candidate’s bank statements can be demanded. Additionally, the EP if approved, it may be for a shorter term period then applied for.

On the other side of the spectrum, Companies with a healthy ratio of Singaporeans will find their passage for approval made faster and smoother. The goal of this policy is to hire locals and train them for the roles.

Prospective applicants can do a self assessment test through the following link:

However, please note that this is not a guarantee of approval as the employer will also need to be assessed for eligilibility.

Alternatives Passess to the Singapore Employment Pass.

Though not ideal, there are alternatives to the EP. These passes, amoung other criterions, have quotas attached to their approval.

The S-Pass is for for mid-level skilled staff. Candidates need to earn at least $2,200 a month and meet the assessment criteria. These would include a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,200. Salary should reflect work experience.  The more experience a candidate has, the higher the salary should be. Technical certificates, such as courses for qualified technicians or specialists would be considered. These certification should include at least 1 year of full-time study. Relevant work experience is also taken into account.

Work Permits (WP) are for foreign workers from approved source countries working in the construction, manufacturing, marine, process or services sector. The Work Permit is usually used for low skill or unskilled labor.

Click here for more information about MOM Singapore work permit.


Singapore employment pass

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