KNOWLEDGE BASE Singapore Hiring And Employment Permit Options

The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


Hiring And Employment Pass Options in Singapore


There are options for you for in expanding your work force in Singapore. Each has its own considerations, including the employment regulations that cover it.  If you want to jump straight into Employment Law first, you can get an overview for the regulations that will govern your employer-employee relations.  If you’d like to learn more about the work passes and permits required to work in Singapore as a foreigner, you can go directly to the Ministry of Manpower’s very comprehensive passes and permits site or read on below for an overview. Of course, these passes apply to you if you plan to work in Singapore, as well as to any foreign workers you employ.


Hiring expatriated employees

For many companies, having someone who has been employed at the home office and transfers that culture and experience to the new foreign office, sets up the office, and hires the first team, is the preferred approach for setting up.  Those employees from home  can begin to establish relationships in Singapore and hire the people who will help make the business a success.  

If you are going to be employing expatriates in Singapore, they’ll need to get an employment pass in order to work there.  As the employer, it will be your responsibility to ensure they have a work pass. The Ministry of Manpower  has a very thorough site that will answer all of your questions on passes and permits.

Any foreign worker you hire under an Employment Pass, an S Pass, or a work permit is covered by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA).


Foreign employees who are covered by the Employment Act are entitled to:


As part of the Fair Consideration Framework, you may be required to advertise your job opening on the Jobs Bank before you can submit an Employment Pass application. The advertisement must be open to Singaporeans and run for at least 14 days. The accompanying advertisements must include published salary ranges. Read the Fair Consideration Framework full requirements.



Employment Pass Options

There are 3 types of employment passes for professionals going overseas. Depending upon your qualifications, here are the options:


Employment Pass - professionals, managers, and executives

The Employment Pass allows foreign professionals, managers, and executives to work in Singapore. There are minimum monthly salary requirements, the employer or another authorized third party must apply for the pass on the employee’s behalf, and the applicant must meet certain qualifications.  


Who is eligible for the Employment Pass?

  • Foreign professionals with a job offer in Singapore and who work in a managerial, executive, or specialized job

  • Fixed salary minimum of  $3,300/month (more experienced people will require higher salaries and young professionals with a degree from a good institution can earn less than $3,300/month).

    • NOTE: Effective January 2017, the minimum monthly salary to employ foreigners on the Employment Pass will rise to $3,600

  • Have acceptable qualifications such as a university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills

  • No foreign worker levy or quota required


Who applies for the pass?

  • There are two options for who must apply for the Employment Pass.

  • The employer

  • An authorized third party

  • If an overseas employer without a registered office in Singapore:

    • You need to get a Singapore-registered company to act as a local sponsor and apply on your behalf.

    • The local sponsor must apply manually


What is the duration?

  • First-time candidates: up to 2 years.

  • Renewals: up to 3 years.


Can family members come?

  • Yes, for family members of those who earn at least $5,000/month and have an Employment Pass

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower has a very thorough site that will answer all of your questions on passes and permits.


EntrePass - entrepreneurs

The EntrePass is for eligible foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start and operate a new business in Singapore. They apply for the EntrePass themselves, and while there are no minimum salary requirements, there are some guidelines around how one can qualify and renew their pass.


Who is eligible for the EntrePass?

  • Eligible foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start and operate a new business in Singapore

  • No minimum salary requirements

  • You have (or intend to start) a private limited company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority.

    • If registered, the company must be less than 6 months old on the date you apply.

    • If you have not registered, you can wait for the outcome of your application before registering.

  • Your company has at least $50,000 in paid-up-capital. You need to provide a bank statement that shows at least $50,000 in a Singapore-based company bank account.

  • You hold at least 30% of the shares in the company.

  • No foreign worker levy or quota required


Who applies for the pass?

  • Candidate can apply directly


What is the duration?

  • Up to one year

  • Renewable depending on whether you have met your original business plan, created local jobs, and had certain amounts of business spendiing.  There are guidelines for meeting these commitments that you should be familiar with


Can family members come?

You can bring in certain family members if:

  • You have renewed your pass (you cannot bring in dependant on your first application)

  • You have met the minimum amount of total business spending

  • You have created the minimum number of local jobs


Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) 

Another pass, the Personalised Employment Pass, is for high-earning Employment Pass holders and overseas foreign professionals. It is not tied to an employer and offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass. Eligible high-earning foreign professionals can apply for a Personalised Employment Pass. Pass holders have greater job flexibility than with other work passes. However, they need to meet certain requirements to hold the pass.


Who is eligible for the PEP?

You can apply for a PEP if you are:

  • An overseas foreign professional and your last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas was at least $18,000. Your last drawn salary should have been within 6 months before you apply
  • An Employment Pass holder earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000


Who applies for the pass?

  • Candidates can apply directly themselves


What is the duration?

  • Up to three years

  • The PEP is not renewable. If your PEP is expiring, you will need to get an Employment Pass or S Pass to continue working in Singapore. You do not have to cancel the existing PEP for your employer to apply for the new pass


Can  family members come?


Other Pass Options

There are additional pass options for skilled and semi-skilled workers, such as the S-Pass.  You can learn more about these options on the Ministry of Manpower’s Work passes and permits site.

You can easily go through the process of getting visas yourself because Singapore is very organized and provides you with step-by-step instructions or you can get assistance from companies such as


Hiring local talent

Singapore has low unemployment at 2% and it’s a very competitive job market. Most Singaporeans are more comfortable working for established and well-known companies with good benefits. According to Singapore’s department of statistics, the average monthly wage in Singapore for  the first quarter of 2015 was S$5259 and dropped in the second quarter to S$4611. Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower  also provides a number of labor market key indicators such as the unemployment rate, real income growth rate, and weekly hours worked.  

The government is putting pressure on companies to hire locals instead of foreign staff. Depending upon the skills of the workforce you need, especially highly skilled workers are in great demand so be prepared to be very competitive with pay and benefit packages. There is even a wage subsidy for jobs that pay over $4,000 per month starting Oct 2015 for 2 years.  Singapore is also kicking off a program, the Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to find ways to adapt and grow in a manpower-lean economy. One of LED’s goals is to reduce the reliance on foreign workers.

Under the Fair Consideration Framework regulations, companies that have over 25 employees are required to advertise new job openings with Singapore’s National Job Bank for at least 14 days before they can open those jobs up to foreign workers, with several exceptions.  As a general rule, Singapore will be looking at any pass requests to determine if an attempt was made to hire a local before looking to other countries, so do consider hiring locally first.  


Employment contracts and key employment terms

All types of employment require very detailed contracts that stay current. Everything sould be agreed to in advance and you’ll want some help from your legal advisor or an employment agency. The agreement can be in writing, verbal, expressed or implied. It can be in the form of a letter of appointment or employment, or an apprenticeship agreement. However, to minimize disputes on the agreed terms and conditions, the contract should be in writing.

The Singapore Ministry of Manpower provides information on employment contracts, but you should also consider obtaining legal and HR guidance in Singapore. You can find qualified companies to assist you in the Globig Marketplace.

A contract of service is an agreement in which:

  • One person agrees to employ another as an employee

  • The other person agrees to serve the employer as an employee

Contracts can include the following information:

  • Position applied and hired for

  • Detailed job description

  • Performance goals if applicable

  • Buy out for early leave

  • Any sort of trial period or probation period and length of contract if applicable

  • Salary or wages

  • Bonus structure and any qualifiers

  • Expectations of performance

  • Expected hours of work

  • Benefits package clearly defined

  • Dress code

  • General code of conduct

  • Reasons for termination

The contract is in effect when the new recruit turns up for work on the appointed starting date.


Key employment terms

From 1 April 2016, all employers are required to issue key employment terms (KETs)

in writing to employees covered under the Employment Act.



Employers must issue KETs in writing to all employees who:

  • Enter into a contract of service on or after 1 April 2016

  • Are covered by the Employment Act

  • Are employed for 14 days or more

Items to Include in Your KETs

KETs must include the items below, unless the item is not applicable. For example, if the employee is a professional, manager, or executive (PME) and overtime pay does not apply, the KETs issued do not need to include items 11 to 12.


The Ministry of Manpower provides more information on the terms used in the table above.

  • Basic rate of pay

  • Salary deductions

  • Overtime rate of pay

  • Leave


Help for Employers

For help complying with these requirements, you can use the Employment Act  assistance package for employers. On this government site, you’ll find information, templates, tools, workshops, and advisory services.


Ministry of Manpower

Ministry of Manpower’s passes and permits site

Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA)

Employment Act

Fair Consideration Framework

Jobs Bank

Employment Pass


Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority

Personalised Employment Pass

S Pass

Dependent’s Pass

Long Term Visit Pass

Ministry of Manpower labor market key indicators

Lean Enterprise Development (LED) Scheme

Key Employment Terms (KETs)

Basic rate of pay

Salary deductions

Overtime rate of pay




KNOWLEDGE BASE Singapore Hiring And Employment Permit Options