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5 ways businesses can benefit from Singapore’s new work pass

7 minute read

On August 29, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced a new work pass that aims to attract top talents in their fields to work in Singapore. The Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass also allows these high-earners and high-achievers to live in the country before securing a job.

This is good news for Singapore businesses wanting to attract experienced candidates to the country or for companies looking to establish business operations here. The goal of the ONE Pass is to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global hub for top talent. This new work pass entices overseas candidates to build a career in Singapore and take advantage of the country’s other benefits such as economic stability and low tax rates.

This article will discuss what this new work pass entails and how it can benefit your company.


What is the Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass?

The ONE Pass applies to top talent in several fields – business, arts and culture, sports, science and technology, as well as academia and research. It is a personalized pass tied to the individual. Therefore, it provides employment flexibility by allowing successful candidates to concurrently start, operate and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time.

There is no need to reapply for a new work pass if they change jobs. Also, if applicable, their spouse will be able to work on a Letter of Consent.

How can businesses benefit from this new work pass?

Here are five main ways this new work pass can be advantageous for businesses.

1. Longer work pass duration

The ONE Pass is valid for a duration of five years, which is longer than the two or three years for typical Employment Pass (EP) holders. This is an advantage for employers as it’s easier to plan the candidate’s career path over a longer term.

2. Greater business opportunities

The work pass is not restricted to just one business, so pass holders have the ability to start multiple businesses and the flexibility to take on multiple roles. This allows them to spread their expertise across various companies, bringing immense benefit to the industries they’re in.

3. No restrictions of the type of company structure

Currently, Employment Pass holders cannot operate a business as a sole proprietor or a partnership. This rule doesn’t apply to ONE Pass holders.

4. Exemption from certain requirements

This new work pass exempts businesses from the COMPASS framework and FCF advertising requirement. They do not need to reapply for another pass if they decide to close and start another company or decide to be a salaried employee.
However, pass holders are not exempt from accountability. MOM will request information from them annually, to ensure that they are utilizing the flexibilities accorded to contribute meaningfully. It’s also in order to assess their eligibility for renewal.

The information relates to:

  • Details on their professional activities over the past year.
  • Annual salary they have earned from all professional activities.

5. Faster approval times

ONE Pass holders can save time from getting MOM approval to take on additional roles. This is because the work pass is tied to the individual and not to any company or position, so there is no delay when it comes to switching roles.

The ONE Pass makes Singapore an attractive option for high-talent candidates as they’re not tied to any one job or company. If you’re looking to hire candidates that need employment passes, Sleek can help your business with immigration and visa services. Contact us here for more information.

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply for the Overseas Network & Expertise Pass?

Anyone who has an existing work pass in Singapore or is a foreign professional looking to work in Singapore can apply for this new work pass as long as they meet the salary criteria.

What are the requirements for the Overseas Network & Expertise Pass?

In order to qualify for the ONE Pass, applicants need to meet a salary threshold of S$30,000 a month. This relates to either of the following two situations:

  • They have earned a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 (or its equivalent in foreign currency) in the last one year, or
  • They will earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 under their future employer based in Singapore.

Who qualifies for the Overseas Network & Experist Pass?

Foreign professionals who meet the salary criteria also have to show that they have been working for an established company for at least one year, or will be working for an established company in Singapore. MOM defines an established company as one that has a market capitalization of at least US$500 million or an annual revenue of at least US$200 million.

Individuals who have “outstanding achievements” in the fields of arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and academia and research can qualify too, even if they do not meet the salary criterion.

When do applications open?

Applications will be open from January 1, 2023. Candidates can apply directly via MOM.

What are the renewal conditions?

When renewing the work pass, the pass holder must satisfy either of the following points:

  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 on average over the past five years in Singapore
  • Started and is operating a Singapore-based company that employs at least five locals. Each of these employees must be earning at least S$5,000 (pegged to the minimum qualifying salary).

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