How to apply for an Employment Pass (EP) with Sleek

7 minute read

Singapore is one of the best countries in the world to begin your business venture. However, there are some requirements to fulfill before you get started. In this article, we’ll describe the exact process of applying for an Employment Pass (EP) with Sleek. Let’s get started.

Overview:

What is the Singapore EP?

An Employment Pass (EP) is a type of renewable work visa issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that allows foreign professionals, managers and executives to live and work in Singapore. This is critical in setting up your business in the country.

Who can apply?

All foreign professionals (i.e. CEOs, managers, and executives) with the necessary qualifications and experience may apply for an EP.

How long can the EP be granted for?

Your initial application can be granted for 1 to 2 years while subsequent renewals can be granted for up to 3 years. Please note that actual duration granted is subject to the discretion of the MOM.

What are the expected salary levels to be required?

To qualify for the EP, the applicant needs to possess acceptable qualifications (i.e. a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialized skills), and earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$5,000 a month, or S$5,500 for candidates in the financial services sector. 

The MOM expects the salary offered to commensurate with the applicant’s qualifications and work experience. As such, older candidates will need higher salaries to qualify.

  • Generally for experienced applicants above the age of 40, the applicant may be required to earn high salaries of up to S$10,500 a month, subject to the individual’s profile.

From 1st September 2022, changes to visa requirements have been made.

  • The EP qualifying salary is now S$5,000, and S$5,500 for the financial sector.
  • For candidates in their mid-40s, they may be required to earn at least S$10,500, or S$11,500 if they are in the financial sector.

Since financial strength of the company can be part of MOM’s consideration factor, new companies may wish to strengthen the EP application by increasing their paid up capital before proceeding with the EP application.

Costs for Employment Pass (EP)

These are the relevant estimated costs when applying for an EP.

  • Incorporation: one-off fee of S$350 (inclusive of $315 government fees)
  • Corporate Secretary: from S$300/year (calculate your all-inclusive fee here)
  • Registered Local Address & Digital Mailroom: S$300/year
  • Nominee Local Director: S$800/6 months AND mandatory requirement to subscribe to one tax and accounting package (from S$900/year) OR provide a S$2,000 refundable security deposit
  • Employment Pass Application: one-off fee of S$980 (inclusive of all Government Fees, GST AND one free appeal)

What does the process look like?

Step 1. Sign up with Sleek

Create a free Sleek account and follow the easy steps to tell us about your company and select the services you will need from us including our all-inclusive Corporate Secretary Package, Local Registered Address and/or Nominee Director services.

Step 2. Let’s get to know each other

Once you’re set on which services you’ll need, it’s time for us to learn more about you. Complete Sleek’s Know-Your-Client (KYC) and EP questionnaire.

As part of our KYC process, some documents will be requested for each shareholder and director. All documents can be directly uploaded to our Sleek Platform. For the full list of documents, you can find the list here.

Step 3. It’s time to fill up your application

During your EP application, you will be required to provide a copy of the following:

  • Passport Copy (with at least 7 months validity)
  • Highest Education Graduation Certificate (i.e. Diploma, Bachelor or Master’s Degree)
  • Second Highest Education Graduation Certificate

For some cases, additional information may be requested if:

If you are required to provide verification proof of your education certificate, please note that the verification agencies charge a fee of S$200 to S$350 for verification reports. Processing time may differ depending on the agency that you engaged.

If any of the above documents are not in English, a certified translated copy must be provided. Applicants may choose to work with Woodsburg for such translations. Contact Wordsburg at i[email protected] with a Sleek referral mention.

Step 4. Await approval

And you’re good to go! The only thing left to do is wait for approval. Once submitted, your EP application can take between 4-8 weeks to process, subject to the discretion of MOM.

For newly set up companies, MOM may request for additional supporting documentation to understand more about the business during their assessment of the EP application. Our team can guide you further if this is required.

Step 5: Begin company incorporation process!

In the meantime, you may choose to start incorporating your company. From start to finish, incorporation with Sleek typically takes 3 to 5 working days and can be done entirely online.

Do note that to open a business in Singapore, you must have:

  • At least one Shareholder of any nationality (individual or corporate)
  • At least one Local Director (Singaporean Citizen/ PR residing in Singapore)
  • A local Company Secretary
  • A locally registered business address in Singapore

Step 6: Open a business account

Once incorporated, you can arrange to open a business bank account.

We highly recommend opening with the Sleek Business Account that is free for all Sleek clients. With Sleek Business Account, you can enjoy:

  • No set up or annual fee.
  • No minimum balance requirement.
  • Simple and fast onboarding process.
  • Automated bookkeeping.

Sign up for your Sleek Business Account here. Do note that your business account can only be opened after successful incorporation.

Step 7: Final steps

Once your company is registered, the company’s Unique Entity Number (UEN) will need to be updated in MOM’s system. This will typically take 7 working days.

The required funds to support the EP application will also need to be transferred into the company’s corporate account. Our Corporate Secretary team can then help to increase the paid up capital for the company with ACRA after which the EP application can then be submitted.

Considerations for EP application

To increase the chances of obtaining an EP, here are some tips for your consideration.

Company incorporation

The company should exist first, and once the EP is approved, the applicant can then be added.

As such, most clients will follow either of the two scenarios:

  1. Appointing a friend with Singaporean Citizenship/ PR to temporarily act as the local director and then replacing them once the EP is approved. Do note that you cannot use another EP, PEP or DP as the director, although they can be your shareholder.
  2. Taking up our Non-Executive Nominee (Local) Director service AND appointing a Second Executive Director (can be 100% foreign and living overseas) to help you open the company/bank account and then replacing them one your EP is granted.

Financial benchmarks

  • Salary
    • As salary is part of MOM’s assessment criteria, it is important to ensure that the salary allocated or offered commensurates with the applicant’s work experience and qualifications.
    • For directors, you may require a minimum salary of S$8k/ month.
    • You may assess your eligibility using MOM’s Self Assessment Tool.
  • Business
    • Generally, your paid up capital should reflect sufficient funds to sustain business operations for a year.
    • Financial overheads reflected on the company accounts should be a minimum of S$100k.

For more commonly asked questions on the EP visa, you may refer to our FAQ resource here.

Reach out to us

If you have any questions about the requirements, processes or costs, feel free to reach out to our friendly team at Sleek.

We’ll be happy to answer any of your important queries, so that you can get your business up and running in no time.

Start a business in less than 3 hours with us. Talk to our experts today.

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