Singapore’s reputation as a financial hub and business-friendly laws have inspired multiple organisations to establish presence in the market locally. Despite seeing an exodus of professionals during the two years of global pandemic, the number of approved Employment Passes in 2021 remains healthy at over 160,000.

While the majority of Singapore work visas are work permits, they are often given to domestic workers and those in the shipyard and construction, as well as S-Passes for semi-skilled workers. Those considered as PMEs (Professional Manager Executive roles) have to go via the route of an Employment Pass, and this starts with the EP application.


Who can apply for the Employment Pass?

The PMEs themselves cannot apply for the EP personally. EP applications have to be submitted by the employer or an appointed employment agent (EA). 

In order to ensure fair consideration of the role to both locals and foreigners, the employer must have advertised the job opening on MyCareersFuture before applying for the EP. There is also an online Self-assessment tool for employers to check on the eligibility of their applicants.


Associated fees

You’ll need to prepare SGD$105 for the administration of each EP application. After it has been approved and issued, you’ll need to pay SGD$225 for the physical pass, as well as SGD$30 for each Multiple Journey visa if required. 


Prepare these documents

To ascertain the candidate’s eligibility and validate their particulars, you’ll need to prepare these documents for the EP application:

  • Personal particulars page of candidate’s passport.
  • Explanation letter and supporting documents will be required in those instances when the candidate’s name on the passport differs from that on their other required documents.
  • Company’s latest business profile registered with ACRA.

Should the institution not be found within the dropdown options on the application page, one should provide the following supplementary documents as follows:

Do note that all non-English documents must be accompanied by a translated copy.

Certain roles and industries have additional documentation. These include:

  • Regional representatives of overseas companies.
  • Healthcare professionals, lawyers, football players or coaches.
  • Employees in food establishments.

An exhaustive list of the required documents for each of the above can be found here

Where to begin

Now that you’ve prepared the documents, you’re ready to start the EP application. Head on over to the official eServices page. You will be required to login using your SingPass. The service is available round the clock but an indicator will denote if it might be offline for maintenance or other reasons. Go Global Gem also provides a full end to end EP application service.


Waiting for the approval

After you have submitted the application, you can check the status online anytime here. If you’ve applied online, expect the application to be updated or approved within 10 business days. For overseas companies without a Singapore-registered office, you can expect the same within 8 weeks in most cases.

The application will result in an update for more details if needed to or an in-principle approval letter or rejection letter.


Converting to the pass

You have up to 6 months to convert the approval notification letter into the actual Employment Pass. While the candidate doesn’t have to be in Singapore for the duration of the application, they must physically be in the country during this process.

Login to the site again and provide the following details:

  • Candidate’s passport details
  • Candidate’s Singapore contact details
  • Candidate’s current Short-Term Visit Pass (STVP) or immigration pass details
  • Candidate’s Singapore residential address, which must meet the housing requirements
  • Singapore residential or office address to receive the candidate’s card
  • Details of up to 3 authorised recipients to receive the card (mobile number, email address and NRIC number/FIN/passport number) 


In certain cases, more details will be required, but if not, a notification letter will be provided immediately and the candidate may even begin work. Sometimes the letter may request for the candidate to register their fingerprints and photo. In this case, make an appointment for the candidate to visit the Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC). This must be done within 2 weeks of the pass being issued and they will need to bring their original passport, appointment letter from employer, and notification letter from Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

In about 5 working days after the submission, the candidate will receive their physical EP at the registered address. An SMS or email will notify the authorised recipients with the delivery details at least 1 working day before the delivery.

It’s good practice to verify the validity of the new EP by using SGWorkPass to scan QR code. One can also check the status, expiry date and more helpful information.


Updates to applications

As the foreign employment landscape shifts, it’s good to stay updated with any new requirements either through the agencies or experienced consultants. Doing so can minimise the application approval time and help facilitate a smooth employment process for your plans. Here are some to take note:

  • A Covid-19 update: As part of the From 1 February 2022, candidates must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (generally considered as three doses of a recognised vaccine) as a condition for their work pass approval.
  1. A salary benchmark: To move with market trends, the candidate should earn at least $5,000, or be benchmarked to the top third of local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) salaries by age.
  2. A new direction: To ensure that only high quality talents are selected, candidates must pass COMPASS, a new points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework starting from 1 Sept 2023.

While the new framework adds to the eligibility requirements, receiving your Employment Pass in Singapore is still very achievable. Use the guide here to help you be well-prepared, or speak to experienced agencies to help you with your EP application.


Remove the hassle of accessing your application for validity and leave it in the experienced hands of those at Go Global Gem.