5 critical factors in a successful Employment Pass application

6 minute read

Are you wanting to work and live in Singapore? An Employment Pass (EP) issued by the Ministry of Manpower is a common visa for professionals, managers, executives and technicians wanting to settle in this city-state.

Here we cover 5 critical factors that point to a higher likelihood of success when you apply.


Self assessment tool test (SAT)

The first step is to do a Self Assessment Tool Test (SAT) provided by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This test will help you understand the requirements needed for a successful application and also let you know if you qualify for an Employment Pass.

Although this test does not guarantee your application getting approved or rejected, if your test shows that you are eligible for an Employment Pass, the MOM has indicated that there is a 90% chance that you will get your application approved.
In order to complete the Self Assessment Tool Test, we recommend having scanned copies of your passport, educational certificates, salary history and resume/CV on hand to help you complete the form.

Fixed monthly salary

Your salary plays a huge role in your application. For your application to be successful, you are required to have a fixed monthly salary of at least S$4,500. If you have more experience in the work force, your salary has to be higher than the minimum salary. Generally, S$6000 to S$7000 is a good benchmark. Do note that each case is subjected to MOM approval.

Salaries are based on your skills and experience. If you do not meet the salary criteria, you will not be able to apply for an Employment Pass. You may however be eligible to apply for an S Pass.

An S Pass is for mid skilled foreign employees. You need to have a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,200. Diploma holders are welcome to apply for an S pass. Before applying, your passport validity has to be at least for 7 months. You can also do the Self Assessment Tool Test listed above to see if you qualify for an S Pass.

Bachelor’s degree

Singapore highly values tertiary education and bachelors or post-graduate degrees when it comes to issuing Employment Passes. Where the base criteria of salary and your company’s paid-up capital (see below) have been met, having more degrees and certifications from reputable institutions is likely to increase the chance of your EP being approved. Candidates who obtained their qualification from a Singapore institution also have an advantage.

If you do not have a tertiary degree, it can be compensated with an excellent employment history and high salary. Each application is evaluated based on its own merits – but we find candidates with a tertiary degree typically have an easier time being processed and approved.

A tip for non-English speakers: if your transcripts and certificates are not in English, they will need to be translated by an official translation service and provided with your application.

Paid-up capital

Companies that have been in operation for several years often have an easier time getting EPs approved than startups. However, newer companies can also get their EPs approved where they can demonstrate a large amount of paid-up capital to demonstrate to MOM that they have enough liquidity to pay salaries.

Business owners looking to incorporate a company in Singapore and obtain an EP are advised to have a minimum of S$50,000 paid-up capital for a higher chance of a successful application. This is a guideline – MOM perceives companies that have a higher amount of capital to be more credible. Your paid-up capital can be made in any major currency.

Once you have decided the amount, you will be required to inject your chosen amount into the company. This money does not have to be put away in a bank account for a specific period of time. Do remember that the paid-up capital cannot be used for non-business purposes.

Jobs bank

Under the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), a company applying for Employment Passes must post an advertisement on Jobs Bank 2 weeks prior to sending their EP application. This framework has been put in place to strengthen the Singaporean core in the working world.

All companies in Singapore need to adhere to the Tripartite Guidelines of Fair Employment Practices. This step can only be skipped if MOM has exempted the company/job from this requirement. Posting an advertisement on Jobs Bank has to be done by the company and not the applicant personally.
What should your job advertisement include?

  • Job title and job description
  • Job requirements (qualification, skills and experience)
  • Salary range
  • Statutory board employees or employees in the civil service

After posting your ad, you need to include the job posting ID in your application. If the requirements are not met, your application will be rejected. When filling out the ‘salary range’ section, we recommend that the proposed range is not too far apart. The maximum salary should not be more than 1.5-2 times of the minimum salary range.

Example: If $4,000 is your minimum amount, means your salary range should be from $4,000 to $8,000 (maximum).

You are allowed to edit your advertisement after posting it. If you make major changes to it, you will then need to keep the edited advertisement open for another 14 days.

How can you be exempted from posting an ad on Jobs Bank?

  • You have lesser than 10 employees in your company
  • The position you are applying for is paying a fixed monthly salary of $15,000 and above
  • The job is to be filled by an intra-corporate transferee (ICTs)
  • Statutory board employees or employees in the civil service
  • Your period of employment in Singapore is not for more than one month

Even if you are exempted, it is strongly advised to post your job vacancies on Jobs Bank. (Need tips on hiring foreign talent and how to apply for their EP? We have created a checklist to help.)

Other factors

All of the above critical factors are important and must be followed when it comes to applying for an Employment Pass in Singapore but other factors do play a part as well:

  • Age of applicant
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Reputation of the company
  • Applicant’s current citizenship

Next steps

If you’re ready to take your business from dream to reality, we can help you make it happen. Get tailored, practical advice from us about your situation – get in touch with us today.

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