Since Singapore has many visa types that skilled workers may qualify for, organizing the proper permits is an important part of moving into this country for work.
If you would like to know who requires a work permit visa and residents permits, as well as what to expect in the application and the processes in obtaining work and residents permit visas, then make sure to read the rest of this guide.
Applying for a Work Permit Visa in Singapore? Here’s How:
So you want to apply for a work visa permit in Singapore. This is a fairly simple task for the majority of people. Your company, or an agent you authorize, can handle the application process on your behalf. In Singapore, there is no immigration points system for workers, and most visas allow you to bring dependent family members with you.
For foreigners relocating to Singapore, an employment visa (or work permit) is required, not a business visa, in order to legally work in the Lion City. Fortunately, there are numerous work visas and permits to choose from. These passes are usually only good for two years, and possessing one does not make you a permanent resident of the country.
What are the Requirements for a Work Visa in Singapore?
To be eligible for a Singapore work visa, employees must meet the following requirements:
- have a valid passport;
- must be at least 18 years old;
- possess the necessary qualifications for the position (as evidenced by documents from accredited institutions);
- must only work within the parameters of their job.
All employees must be in possession of a valid work visa. If you’re moving with a company, they should be able to assist you here. If they don’t, skilled expats will almost always require one of the following visas:
- Employment Pass: For foreign professionals, managers, and executives with relevant qualifications who will earn at least 3,600 SGD (2,600 USD) per month. Valid for a period of up to two years.
- S Pass: For mid-level skilled workers with a monthly salary of at least 2,400 SGD (1,700 USD) and who meet the assessment criteria. Valid for a period of up to two years.
Employees in the entertainment, construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, or services industries can also apply for specific work permits.
The Singapore Work Visa Application Process
The good news is companies must apply for employment passes on behalf of their employees. You should be aware that your employer may use the services of an employment agency to assist you with the process.
Employers from other countries must enlist the help of a Singapore-based company to act as a local sponsor. The employee’s application will be submitted on their behalf by the local sponsor.
The procedures for obtaining a work permit or an S permit are similar.
You will need to gather the following documents before submitting an application for employment or an S pass:
- written permission for your company or agent to apply on your behalf;
- a copy of your passport’s personal information page (along with an explanation letter and supporting documents, such as a deed poll if your passport name differs from other documents); and
- your educational certificates verified by a global verification agency (if they are from an institution that is not listed on the application form).
Your company will be required to provide its most recent business profile or instant information, as filed with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
After an application is submitted, it usually takes three weeks for online applications and eight weeks for manual applications to be processed.
After the Application
An In Principal Approval (IPA) letter should be sent to your employer. You’ll get a copy, and your employer has six months to bring you to Singapore and issue an employment pass, or sixty days if you’re applying for an S pass. To receive your pass, you must be in Singapore.
There are a few things you’ll need once you’ve arrived in Singapore to get your pass:
- current immigration pass and disembarkation/embarkation card information;
- a medical examination or a health declaration form that has been completed;
- a Singapore address that satisfies the housing requirements.
You will receive a notification letter once your employer has completed the necessary issuance steps and your pass has been granted. The validity period is one month, but it can be extended. While you wait for your pass card, you can start working and travel in and out of Singapore with this letter.
Employees are also informed whether they must register their photo and fingerprints within two weeks of receiving their pass in the notification letter. This will take place at a Ministry of Manpower Services Center. You should bring the following documents to your appointment if you need to register:
- original passport;
- appointment letter;
- notification letter;
- any documents listed in the IPA letter and notification letter.
If you don’t need to register, you should receive your pass card within four days of submitting all of your documents. If you do need to register, you should receive your card within four days of doing so.
Residency Permits: Temporary and Permanent
If you intend to stay in Singapore for an extended period of time, you should understand how to become a Singapore permanent resident. It is not necessary to apply for a temporary residence permit.
A residency permit is not the same as a work permit. As a resident of Singapore, you have access to a wide range of opportunities that you would not have as a non-resident. This is sometimes literal: Singaporeans have access to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a mandatory savings scheme that provides you with lower-cost housing and a pension, among other benefits.
Tourist Visa in Singapore for Filipinos
Filipinos are welcome to visit Singapore for a maximum stay of 30 days. Do note, however, that it is illegal to work while on a tourist visa. Doing so could get you either fined, jailed, deported, or a combination of these. So don’t even think about it!
How to Check Singapore Work Permit Status Online?
As per the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), there are numerous situations in which it is necessary to exercise caution and ensure that a work permit is valid. Here are some of them:
- Work pass holder – Check your work pass from time to time to ensure it has not been cancelled prematurely.
- Premise owner or main contractor – Ensure that all employees who enter your building or worksite have valid work permits.
- Landlord renting room to a foreigner – Ascertain that the prospective tenant is legally residing in Singapore.
Work pass holders can check the validity of their new cards with a QR code using the SGWorkPass app on your mobile phone to scan the QR code for pass expiry date and other details.
Alternatively, you can head over to the MOM website and enter the card serial number printed on your card.
Those who wish to view the status of work permit for foreign workers can visit this website, then use this function:
- Enquire > Foreign Worker Details
- Enquire > Work Permit Validity/Application Status
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Singapore Visa Permit?
The cost of a work permit in Singapore has risen in recent years to reflect the increased effort required for a more thorough application review. That said, an employer will pay for the work permit application of their prospective employee, which costs $35. An S Pass costs S$ 175 ($125) whereas an Employment Pass costs S$ 230 ($165).
Singapore Work Visa Processing Time
- Work visas for professionals are processed more quickly when applications are submitted online; 80 percent of all online applications are processed within seven working days. Manual applications may take up to 6 weeks to process.
- When applying online, the processing time for an S Pass is 7 working days; when applying in person, the processing time is 5 weeks.
- Work Permits take 1-7 working days to process.
- Work visa processing times for trainees and students range from 7 to 5 weeks.
- When applying online, a Training Work Permit can be processed in 1 working day for interim approval.
Singapore is tightening its rules and standards for work permits and visas for overseas workers, owing to a workforce that is nearly 40% non-residents. As a result, Singapore work permits are more difficult to obtain, and processing times are longer than in the past, requiring global mobility professionals to plan ahead of time to meet the requirements.
Despite the immigration adjustments, Singapore is still open to foreign nationals, especially skilled ones. You just need to find an employer who can help you apply for the right permit and get you started on a job here in Singapore. From this point, you can work your way to becoming a resident for up to how long you plan to work and stay here. It’s also worth noting that Singapore is expat-friendly, so you need to get used to the diversity of culture and colors here. Other than that, most people who’ve worked here would agree that this is a very progressive country and is one of the most rewarding places to work as an expat. Go see for yourself!