Who Is It For?

Employment Pass (EP) is the highest level of work pass category which a foreigner can be issued to work in Singapore. This type of work pass is targeted at highly skilled and well educated professionals, business people of any nationality to do business or work in Singapore.

Key Features of Singapore Employment Pass Work Pass

  • All Employment Pass (EP) applications must be sponsored by a local employer. Foreigners are not allowed to apply for Employment Pass (EP) until the foreigner has found an employer willing to hire him/her. Only the hiring party (employer) or licensed agency is authorised to lodge the applications.
  • The current qualifying salary benchmark (SGD4,500 per month- typically for fresh graduates) has been raised over the years. For more experienced, senior executives and mature foreign applicants, the salary requirements would be higher according to age and experience.
  • The initial approval period is typically 2 years but renewable prior to expiry subject to qualifying conditions.
  • The salary threshold to be able to sponsor dependents is SGD6,000 per month for immediate family members and SGD10,000 per month for parents.
  • There are no restrictions in terms of quota for Employment Pass (EP) applications. There is also no levy payable. However, employers with more than 10 employees must advertise the job vacancy first for 28 days at a government job portal known as mycareerfuture  before any Employment Pass (EP) application can commence.
  • Employment Pass (EP) Holders can be shareholders, partners and directors of local companies employing them. 
  • EP cannot be transferred. If Employment Pass (EP) holders wish to change an employer during the term of employment, a fresh application is required to be done by the new employer to the rules of approval prevailing at the time of application.
  • Employment Pass holders are eligible to apply for Permanent Residency after working for several years.

Foreigners without any Job Offers Cannot Apply.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, the employer may need to apply for first before bringing in Singapore.  The employer is also responsible to comply with all the latest government advisory and guidelines. For example, upon arrivals, successful applicants may need to undergo quarantine first, go for a swab test to obtain a health clearance before proceeding with pass activation and work.

For more information, please contact us here.

More information can be found at Ministry of Manpower


What Does It Take for a Singapore Employment Pass Application to be successful?

1. Fresh graduates with limited or no work experience from good institutions can qualify for the Singapore Employment Pass if they earn at least SGD4,500.00 per month.

2. Managerial and more experienced candidates need higher salaries up to SGD6,000.00 to SGD10,000.00 per month or higher to qualify.

3. Academic qualification is important and needs to be accredited. If the applicant’s qualification is not accredited, then it needs to be verified by any global verification agencies recognised by MOM before an employment pass application can be submitted. There is no published list of approved universities or institutions that are recognised. Each qualification is evaluated holistically based on a wide range of criteria such as global and country rankings, graduate quality, and reputation.

4. Candidates without acceptable qualifications may not necessarily be rejected. Similarly, having acceptable qualifications does not guarantee approval.

5. Every employment pass application is different and not the same as others. The authorities look at many factors in each case such as work experience, skill sets, availability of local candidates, whether candidate’s and employer’s backgrounds match etc.

What documents and steps are required to prepare for the Singapore Employment Pass Application?

1. All employers are encouraged to advertise the job vacancy at the government managed job portal MyCareersFuture before submitting an Employment Pass application.

The job advertisement needs to be open for at least 28 days. During this period, employers are required to consider all candidates including locals fairly. A questionnaire would be provided for employers to declare their recruitment process in terms of the number of applicants who applied for the vacancy, and how many have been interviewed and offered the job.

2. Once the job advertisement period of 28 days is over, and suitable local candidates cannot be found, employers can consider a suitable foreign applicant for the job vacancy and start the employment pass application process.

3. Although employers can apply directly, it would be best to engage the services of a work pass application agency to apply on their behalf to navigate the various complexities. If an agency is appointed, an authorisation and declaration form stating that the employer has complied with fair employment practice including Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices

4. The documents required for the employment pass applications are
a) Passport Copy;
b) Highest Academic Qualification;
c) Copy of Employer’s ACRA Business Profile;
d) Completed Employee’s Personal Data Form or detailed personal CV;
e) Authorisation and Declaration Form.

5. If an appeal is required, additional documents such as financial statements and proof of business may be needed.

What is the Processing Time for the Singapore Employment Pass Application?

In general, for a straightforward case, it would take about 3 weeks from the date of application to obtain a result. However, employers need to take into account the requirements for job advertisements of 28 days or 4 weeks and additional time for appeal and follow up.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic and border restrictions, entry approval is required for candidates arriving from overseas and quarantine requirements. Employers should plan for at least 4 to 8 weeks for the arrival arrangements once in-principle approval has been obtained.

So, altogether, a planning period of 8 weeks would be required for candidates currently in Singapore and upto 16 weeks for candidates arriving from overseas.

Singapore Employment Pass Application Process Chart (COVID-19 Measures Considered)

Candidate Already in Singapore

Singapore employment pass application for candidate already in Singapore

Candidate Not In Singapore

Singapore employment pass application for candidate not in Singapore