What you need to know: Updates on S Pass and Employment Pass Eligibility
4 minute read
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is continuously making updates to the criteria of approving foreign work passes to help businesses to grow and ensure local candidates are fairly considered. There are different types of work visas issued by MOM in Singapore (E Pass/EP/Employment Pass, S Pass and One Pass) let’s go through each of them to understand the latest update on eligibility criteria.
The holistic view on Employment Pass is explained in this video by MOM.
- New requirements for EP Eligibility
- New requirements for S Pass Eligibility
- ONE Pass requirements
- Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)
New requirements for EP Eligibility
Since the last budget update, it remains that firms applying for new Employment Pass (EP) for foreign professionals, managers and executives will need to pay them a base salary of at least S$5,000 (*from Sept 2022 onwards), up from the current S$4,500.
Revisions to the salary criteria in recent years together with the business climate have significantly reduced the number of EP holders. From June to December 2020, the number of EP holders reduced from 189,700 to 177,100.
People working in the finance sector with an EP will have to earn a minimum salary of S$5,500, starting from 1st September 2022.
Qualifying wages for EP applicants in their 40s will also be increased accordingly and will remain approximately double the minimum qualifying wage for younger applicants.
For EP renewal, these new salary criteria will come into effect from 1st May 2021. (Source : MOM Employee pass eligibility salary slabs)
Comparison of minimum qualifying salary for new applicants
|Sector||From 1st September 2023||Till 1st September 2023|
(except financial services)
At least $5,000
(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $10,500 at age 45 and above)
(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $8,400 at age 45 and above)
At least $5,500
(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $11,500 at age 45 and above)
(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $9,300 at age 45 and above)
(Source – MOM E Pass Eligibility)
From 1st September 2023, EP candidates must also pass a two-stage eligibility framework. In addition to meeting the qualifying salary (Stage 1), EP candidates must pass a points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS) (Stage 2).
COMPASS enables employers to select high-quality foreign professionals, while improving workforce diversity and building a strong local core. It is a transparent system that gives businesses greater clarity and certainty for manpower planning.
Find out how COMPASS works.
New requirements for S Pass Eligibility
The minimum wage and qualifications required for S Passes will be increased as well. The minimum wage will be increased by S$500, from S$2,500 to S$3,000. The changes to the S Pass qualification wages will apply to new applicants as of 1st September 2022.
|Sector||Current Minimum Wage||Revised Minimum Wage|
(except financial services)
|At least $2,500 (increases progressively with age)|
(increases progressively with age from age 23, up to $4,500 at age 45 and above)
(increases progressively with age, from age 23, up to $5,500 at age 45 and above)
(Source – MOM S Pass Eligibility)
ONE Pass (Overseas Networks & Expertise ) requirements
The visa rules for high-salaried expats and a few other exceptional talents have been eased by the Singapore Government through a personalised pass for top talent in business, arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and academia and research. It provides employment flexibility by allowing eligible applicants to concurrently start, operate and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time.
The existing work pass holders and overseas candidates can are eligible for ONE pass if they meet either of the salary criteria i.e. Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000, or its equivalent in foreign currency, within the last 1 year or will earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 under their future employer based in Singapore.
Fair Consideration Framework (FCF)
When evaluating applications for EPs and S Passes, MOM will now also place more emphasis on whether the firm has continued to support its local PMET staff, or whether it has discriminated against qualified Singaporeans. Any discrimination in favor of foreign candidates will be sanctioned by the MOM and companies will have their Singapore work permits reduced and may be subject to prosecution.
To ensure that no discrimination occurs, employers will be required to give fair consideration to all applicants and will be required to advertise job offers on MyCareersFuture.sg (MCF) website. The minimum FCF job advertising duration for EP and S Pass applications will be doubled from 14 days to 28 days after 1st October 2020.
Singapore wants to remain a hub for international companies and continue to attract foreign investment. MOM is implementing new criteria to encourage companies to grow and create jobs for Singaporeans. The government does not close its doors to foreigners and recognizes the positive contribution of foreign labor. The government supports local businesses and is committed to a diversified workforce.
Yes, Singapore does issue work visas, every foreign worker needs to have a suitable Pass to work in Singapore. There are different passes that are available based on whether you are professional, Skilled and semi-skilled workers or students.
Based on the new permit, now foreigners earning a minimum S$30,000 per month can secure a five-year work pass, along with a provision to allow their dependents to seek employment.
The new work visa or permit has come into effect from January 1, 2023, which has set a new eligibility criteria.