Differents types of of professional visas exist in Singapore: employment passes, work permits, Working Holiday Visa (WHV), etc...
In order to work in Singapore, foreign nationals must apply for a work visa. Known as “employment Passes”, there are various types of work visas adapted to each situation:
- Employment Pass P1:
The employment pass P1 is a work visa designed for executives, managers and highly skilled foreign workers. In the framework of employment pass P1, applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of more than SGD $7,000 in Singapore. Employment pass P1 is generally valid for 1 or 2 years and is renewable.
Two months before visa expires, the employer in Singapore receives a renewal notification. A new employment pass application must then be filed by the employer to the “Work Pass Division”. Note that renewal is not automatic and remains at the discretion of the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.
Application procedure for pass P1 can be initiated by the “sponsor”, i.e. the company that wants to hire a foreign worker in Singapore. Applicants may be required to provide complementary documents themselves.
Dependants of P1 pass holders have to apply for a “Dependant Pass”. The dependant pass is a residence visa only; it is strictly forbidden to undertake any paid activity on a dependant pass. However, dependant pass holders are allowed to work in Singapore provided that they hold a specific work permit: the « Letter of consent ». Companies that want to hire dependant pass holders must submit a “Letter of Consent” (LOC) application to the Ministry of Manpower.
Unmarried partners of P1 pass holders must apply for a « Long Term Social Visit Pass ».
- Employment Pass P2:
Employment pass P2 is very similar to employment pass P1. The only real difference lies in the level of remuneration: only applicants earning a fixed monthly salary ranging between SGD $3,500 and SGD $7,000 in Singapore can apply for an employment pass P2.
Employment pass P2 applicants must have recognized professional qualifications assessed by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.
Family entry and settlement in the framework of employment pass P2 is exactly the same as in the framwork of employment pass P1.
- Employment Pass Q1:
Employment pass Q1 is very similar to employment pass P2. Only applicants earning a fixed monthly salary of more than SGD $2,500 can apply for employment pass Q1.
Employment pass Q1 allows family entry and settlement for married couples (and children), but does not allow family entry and settlement for unmarried partners (and children).
- Employment Pass S - designed for mid-level skilled workers:
Employment Pass S is a work visa designed for mid-level skilled workers holding specific qualifications in demand in Singapore. Only applicants earning a fixed monthly salary of more than SGD $1,800 in Singapore can apply for employment pass S. Family entry and settlement for married couples (and children) is allowed if the fixed monthly salary of the S pass holder is of more than SGD $2,500 ONLY.
Applicants to employment pass S are assessed on the following criteria:
- expected wage in Singapore;
- nature of the position;
- study level;
- professional qualifications.
Quotas of S pass holders apply in Singapore and companies should not exceed 25% of S pass holders in their staffs.
- Personalized Employment Pass (PEP):
The Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is an open work visa. Contrary to the other types of employment passes, the PEP is not tied to a specific employer. Personalized employment passes are granted on the strength of an EP holder's individual merits. A PEP holder is able to remain in Singapore for up to six months in between jobs to evaluate new employment opportunities.
PEP applicants are assessed on the following criteria:
- Foreign professional whose last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas was at least of SGD $7,000;
- Former P1 Pass holders who are living abroad and not ununemployed for longer than a continuous period of six months at the time of application;
- P2 Pass holders that have at least two years' working experience on a P Pass. They should earn a fixed salary of at least SGD $30,000 in the preceding year;
- Q1 Pass holders with at least five years' working experience on a Q1 pass. They should earn a fixed salary of at least SGD $30,000 in the preceding year;
- Foreign graduates from institutions of higher learning in Singapore with at least two years' working experience on a P or Q1 Pass. They should earn a fixed salary of at least SGD $30,000 in the preceding year;
The PEP visa is not renewable. Dependants of PEP holders can apply for a social visit pass or a dependant pass according to their situation.
Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC):
The Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) is a very specific visa which enables foreign nationals to settle in Singapore up to one year in order to find employment in the country. The EPEC employment pass is mainly designed for trained foreign nationals and former holders of employment passes the country. The EPEC employment pass is not a work visa: if an EPEC pass holder finds employment in Singapore, an application for an employment pass (P1, P2, Q1, Q2 or S) must be filed to the “Work Pass Division” directly in the country.
Work permits in Singapore (WP)
The work permit in Singapore is a work visa designed for skilled foreign workers holding specific qualifications in demand in Singapore. Application procedure for a WP must be initiated by the employer and submitted to the « controller of work permits ». Foreign workers on a work permit in Singapore should not earn more than SGD $1,800 per month and must hold specific professional qualifications. The work permit does not allow family entry and settlement in Singapore.
Working Holiday Visa
Nationals from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States can travel to Singapore within the framework of the working holiday visa. The working holiday visa is designed for young people aged between 17 and 30 years old wishing to work, study or travel to Singapore for a period up to 6 months. Visa requirements may vary from one country to another but in general, it is necessary to be holder of a valid passport issued in one of the above mentioned countries, have sufficient financial guarantees to sustain oneself in the country, be in possession of valid return tickets and have a minimum study level.
How to apply for a working holiday visa in Singapore?
Step 1 - Go to http://www.mom.gov.sg/ and download an application form (in MS Word format);
Step 2 - Return the application form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.SGD (with “Application for WHP” as subject of your message). Attach soft copies in jpeg format of your school diplomas, your certificates and/or a letter of acceptance from a university.For non-English diplomas transcripts, submit your original copies and official English translations certified by your university.
Step 3 - If your application is accepted, you will receive an « In-Principle Approval letter » - IPA. Upon reception of the In-Principle Approval Letter, you have three months to leave for Singapore. Visa fees are of SGD $40 for a single entry visa, SGD$ 60 for a multiple entry visa.
Final step - Upon arrival in Singapore, go to the “Ministry of Manpower” at the “Work Pass Division” to collect your visa. Do not forget to provide your travel documents, your In-Principle Approval Letter and your passport.
Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower
18 Havelock Road,