Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a work visa that allows foreign professionals with an opportunity to work in Singapore in certain specialized, managerial or executive positions.
The minimum qualifying monthly salary for Singapore Employment Pass applications is currently SGD4,500 for candidates who are fresh university graduates while higher salaries are required for more senior and experienced candidates. 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 also assessed on the basis of social and economic impact they would cause on Singapore and its citizens.
It is not only the candidate who is assessed. The hiring companies are also evaluated in terms of their local headcount and nature of business activities. The Singapore authorities will scrutinize whether the company have hired any Singapore citizens or plans to hire Singaporeans in their business operations. Companies with a disproportionately large numbers of foreigners may get their EP applications declined or delayed as this could be deemed as not showing commitment to hiring or giving opportunities to locals.
Companies are evaluated in terms of their capital structure and ability to pay the salaries of EP holders. Documentary evidence such as payslips and income tax statements would be required for verification during the approval process. In situation where there are doubts, the employment pass if approved, it may be for a shorter term period then applied for, typically for one year period.
In situation where companies have a healthy ratio of Singaporean employees, they will find their application process smoother. The goal of the Singapore Employment Pass policy is to encourage companies to hire more locals, provide training opportunities and develop them for the roles within the companies as they grow so that companies can reduce their dependence on foreign talent over the long term.
There are no restrictions on the nationality of applicants for Singapore Employment Pass as Singapore is opened to accepting high level talents from anywhere around the world. The key factor is whether such talent are available locally and the justification provided when applying to hire foreigners for a particular role.
With effect from 1 July 2018, employers with 10 or more employees are required to advertise their job vacancies at the government administered portal known as https://employer.mycareersfuture.sg/ for at least 2 weeks before they can submit an application for Singapore Employment Pass for foreign candidates in the event they are not able to find any suitably qualified local candidates.