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Employment Passes: What you need to know as an employer in Singapore

4 minute read

As an employer, securing top talent is a priority for your business. Often this means hiring individuals who need visas in order to work in Singapore. This guide steps through the process of applying for an Employment Pass (EP) for a candidate.


Key facts about the Employment Pass

  • Applicants must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$5,000 (*from Sept 2022 onwards), depending on their sector.
  • Applicants must have an employment offer in Singapore.
  • Applicants must work in a managerial, executive, or specialized job.
  • Applicants should hold appropriate academic qualifications (a university degree, or professional qualifications).
  • Applications typically take around three weeks to process.
  • You can appeal if your application is rejected.

What you need before you apply

Before you apply for the EP, you should have already extended an offer to your candidate. You will also need your candidate to supply you with:

  • Scanned copies of their passport and educational certificates
  • Salary history
  • Resume/CV

We recommend filling out the self-assessment tool to get an indication of whether your candidate would be successful in receiving an Employment Pass. These factors may also determine your candidate’s qualification for an EP:

  • Your candidate’s nationality.
  • The type of position – employment that requires higher qualifications or experience will fare better. A position in a niche role or industry helps too.
  • The more established your company is, the better. Factors include your company’s past revenue and paid-up capital.
  • Your employee’s salary should be commensurate with their skills and talent.

You may also need to advertise your position on Singapore’s Jobs Bank, unless you qualify for an exemption. You do not need to advertise your position if:

  • Your company has 25 or fewer employees.
  • The job position is paying a fixed monthly salary of S$12,000 and above.
  • The job is to be filled by an intra-corporate transferee (ICTs) – those holding senior positions in the organisation or have an advanced level of expertise.
  • The job is necessary for short-term contingencies (ie. a period of employment in Singapore for not more than one month).

The application process

Once you have all the required documents and information, you can apply either online or manually with the MOM (we recommend online, given the shorter processing time). Processing time usually takes about 3 weeks.

The review process by MOM is reasonably nuanced – although guidelines are available online, applications are not automatically approved and each application is judged based on its merits. This means that there is not necessarily a ‘golden formula’ to a successful application, although over time trends emerge around what makes a successful application.

Once the employment pass is approved, you’ll get a notification letter that allows your employee to start working, and traveling to and from Singapore while waiting for the EP card to be issued.

What happens if my EP application is rejected?

If your EP application is rejected, you have three months to appeal the decision. This typically involves offering clarifying information and documents to MOM. We would recommend using an immigration or visa specialist to review your application and analyze why it was rejected, as well as to amend your application to highlight the suitability and attractiveness of the candidate. Want to know more about common rejection reasons? Check out our guide on EP rejections.

If you do submit an appeal, the process can take at least three weeks to process. The status of the appeal can be checked online.

Need a hand preparing your application?

At Sleek, we process EP visas every day and understand the trends that lead to MOM approvals and rejections. We have an excellent track record of approvals and rescuing rejected applications. Increase your chances of approval and let us handle your employment visa needs – get in touch with us to learn how.


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