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Work Permit in Singapore

Why is Work Permit Needed?

A work permit is a document or a pass for foreigners that offers and validates their right to work in Singapore. The type of work permit varies based on the nature of the job – skilled, unskilled, critical, entrepreneur, etc.

About the Singapore Job Market

Work Permit in Singapore

Number of Expats:


Expats Job Websites:

Popular Industries for Expats:

Finance, Banking, tourism and hospitality, retail and sales, education, information technology.

Types of Singapore Work Visa Available

Singapore work visas vary based on the nature of work, skill set, category of employment, etc. Here are the three types of work passes offered for foreigners:

Employment Pass:

An employment pass is offered for skilled foreign workers such as managers and executives who are compensated with a salary over $4,500 a month. An employee pass is issued for 1-2 years. These pass holders are eligible to apply for  PR in the long term. 


This pass is issued for one year and is for eligible  foreign entrepreneurs who intend to start a business based out of Singapore. The business should be backed by venture capital or possess innovative technologies. These pass holders are also eligible to apply for a PR in the long term. 
Personalized Employment Pass (PEP):
PEP holders are high-earning foreign overseas professionals who are also existing Employment Pass holders. These passes offer greater levels of greater flexibility than an employment pass.This pass is granted for 3 years. It is non-renewable. 

These pass holders are eligible to apply for a PR in the long term

Visas for skilled and semi-skilled worker

The Singapore government offers work permits for workers who perform jobs that do not require advanced or specialized training and skills. These workers can belong to various industries such as transport, shipping, manufacturing, process, or services sector. 

The work permits required for workers are as follows:

S Pass:

The S pass is a work permit pass for foreign workers in Singapore who perform mid-skilled labor and earn at least $2,500/ month. 
The pass is issued for 1-2 years. 
These pass holders are eligible to apply for a PR in the long term.

Work permit for a foreign worker:

These passes are for semi-skilled foreign laborers in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, or services sector.

Work permit for foreign domestic workers:

Employees can avail this work permit for foreign domestic workers.

Visas for trainees and students

Training employment pass:

Acquire this work permit for your foreign students who are undergoing practical training. These applicants must earn at least $3,000 a month. 

Work holiday pass (Under work holiday program):

Students and graduates who are 18 – 25 years old and come to work in Singapore on a holiday for a period of 6 months.

Work holiday pass (Under work and holiday visa program):

Australian students and graduates between the ages of 18-30 who want to work and holiday in Singapore for 1 year.

Training work permit:

Semi-skilled foreign trainees and students, who shall undergo practical training in Singapore for 6 months.

Exemptions and working while on a visa pass

Miscellaneous Work Pass:

Workers classified as foreign speakers, religious workers, journalists taking on short-term work lasting up to 60 days in Singapore. 

Work Pass Exempt Activities:

For workers who carry out short-term assignments without a work pass.

Work pass exemption for foreign students:

For foreign students pursuing full-time education at a university or school in Singapore.

Work passes for holders of Long Term Visit Passes issued by ICA:

Availed by foreigners married to Singaporean or permanent residents of Singapore. Also, issued to parents who accompany a child studying in Singapore.

Requirements for a Singapore Work Permit by Singapore Employers

Below is the list of requirements for acquiring an Employment Pass in Singapore:

  • Your company must be registered in Singapore
  • Your employee should have a job offer from your company
  • The employee should work with responsibilities as mentioned in the work permits issued by the authorities
  • The employee should hold a valid passport
  • You must be offering them a salary of more than $4,500
  • They must work in a managerial, executive, or specialized role
  • Your applicant must have a credible academic qualification from a university or possess experience as a specialist

These are the documents required to apply for a Singapore work visa. 

  • Valid passport
  • Duly filled application form
  • Copies of education certificates
  • Past employment testimonials
  • 2 recent color photographs
  • A detailed description of the type of work to be performed by the applicant in Singapore
  • Company’s appointment letter

A Step-by-Step Guide to Mastering the Art of Hiring in APAC

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Singapore Work Permit Application Process

The Singapore Employee Pass is the most common form of work visa requested by the employer.

Follow these steps to successfully apply for your work visa:

  • As the employer, you need to apply to the applicant you want to hire as a foreign worker. You’ll need written consent from the employee stating their desire to avail a Singapore work permit.
  • Complete the application.
  • Pay an online fee of $105 for the application.
  • Once the application process is done, you can check the status of the application after a week on the official website of the Singapore Work Permit.
  • Once the visa application is approved, a print of the in-principle approval letter (IPA) should be taken.
  • Within 2 weeks of the arrival of the employee, the employer or the agent has to get the permit issued. They have to provide an address where the work permit card has to be delivered, and they also need to nominate at least 3 recipients and submit their IC/FIN/ passport numbers and contact numbers.

The processing periods for each visa vary with the type of work permit you wish to offer for your foreign worker.

Timeframe for Work Permit Application

The processing periods for each visa vary with the type of work permit you wish to offer for your foreign worker.

Type of visaNumber of Days
Professional work visas<7 days when applied online,
6 weeks when applied manually
S pass<7 working days when applied online,
>5 weeks when applied manually
Work visas for trainees and students7 days – 5 weeks
Work permits1-7 days

How Does Multiplier Help With Work Permit?

As a global employer of record services solution, we have local entities in over 100+ countries enabling companies like yours to hire and employ people from all around the world. This suite of HR solutions accentuated by our in-house experts enables us to offer end-end solutions to our users.

Using our SaaS-based solution, you can request a Singapore work permit and our in-house experts will take care of the entire process encompassing the processing time, costs, document checklist, and keep you informed through the process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Unlike several other countries, the Singapore Ministry doesn’t accord a work permit. It issues something called a work pass that allows foreign nationals to legally work in Singapore.

No. An educational degree is not a requirement to acquire a Singapore work pass. Although, a professional degree may increase your chances of getting hired by an employer.

A Singapore Work Pass can be canceled via the myMOM portal.

You can cancel your work pass by requesting cancellation in the portal up to 14 days in advance.

Yes, you can extend your work permit by 2 years. 

Yes, work permit holders can apply for a permanent residency in Singapore in the long run.

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