Many Filipinos aspire to land a job in clean and beautiful Singapore. And why not? It’s geographically close to our country. There isn’t much of a huge gap in terms of culture; and many Filipinos, through the years, have found success in this country. So why shouldn’t you, right?
In this post, we will look at the different salary grade of Filipinos working in Singapore based on the work permit they possess and the kind of jobs they have. If you plan on applying for work in this country, then be sure to read the rest of this guide to learn more.
Disclaimer: This post is for information-sharing purposes only. If you would like to learn more about OFW life and the jobs you can explore in Singapore, then you can follow and subscribe to Benj Reganit’s channel to get notified on his latest content such as this vlog we will look into.
Salary Grade of Various Work Visa Holders in Singapore
Before beginning work in Singapore, all foreigners must have a valid pass (commonly referred to as a work visa). If you hire foreigners to work in Singapore, make sure they have a valid work permit.
In Singapore, the three major types of work passes are classified primarily by the employee’s education, job type, and salary. Your employer, as an expat working in Singapore, will be required to assist you in obtaining your pass or permit. These are as follows:
Work Permits (WP) are for semi-skilled foreign workers from a list of countries that have been pre-approved. WPs are issued to Asian countries like Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, the Philippines, Thailand, and China, to name a few.
IMPORTANT: Employers in Singapore must follow the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) for WP applications in addition to the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF), which maintains that all Singapore-based employers are required to consider local applicants fairly for both new Employment Pass and S Pass applications. What’s more, they must advertise job vacancies on MyCareersFuture.sg for at least 28 days. This takes effect from 1 October 2020. These are quotas that each industry has set for how many expats should make up their total workforce. For example, effective January 1, 2021, the SRC in the Services Sector will be reduced from 38 per cent to 35 per cent.
WP holders are typically employed in labor-intensive industries. Construction, marine shipyards, manufacturing, and the service sector are all examples. Although there is no minimum qualifying salary, there are time and age limits on how long you can work. Your WP is renewable after you submit your application and can last up to two years.
According to Benji, an OFW with this work visa, on average, earns S$1,600 (PHP 57,600). But if you compute their net pay, they’d be earning around S$790 (PHP 28,470).
NOTE: This amount is only an estimate. You can refer to our post on the cost of living here in Singapore to get an idea of how much Filipinos need to set aside for their living expenses every month.
S Passes should be applied for by mid-level skilled workers of all nationalities. A relevant degree, diploma, or specialized technical certificates are required to qualify. In addition, you’ll need a lot of work experience to back this up. A job that pays at least SGD $2,400 per month is also required as of January 1, 2020. Naturally, for more experienced and older applicants, the minimum salary requirement for obtaining an S Pass increases. It is renewable and valid for up to two years after purchase.
According to Benji, an OFW in Singapore with this work visa, on average, earns S$2,500 (PHP 90,088). But if you compute their net pay, they’d be earning around S$1,540 (PHP 55,495) every month.
In addition, the Ministry imposes a DRC quota on the number of S Pass holders permitted in each company. These percentages will soon fall even lower. For example, starting on January 1, 2021, it will decrease from 13 per cent to 10% in the service sector. Effective January 1, 2023, it will decrease from 20% to 15% in all other sectors.
Similarly, if you have an S Pass, your employer is required to pay a monthly tax. It costs S$330 or S$650, depending on the tier. However, if you didn’t work in Singapore for a full calendar month, your tax will be calculated using a different daily rate.
An Employment Pass is available to high-paying expats of all nationalities who work in managerial, executive, or specialized roles (EP). To begin, you must earn a minimum of $4,500 per month (from 1 September 2020). For older people with more experience, this requirement nearly doubles. The minimum qualifying salary for expats in the Financial Services Sector is even higher.
According to Benji, an OFW in Singapore with this work visa, on average, earns S$4,500 (PHP 162,160). But if you compute their net pay, they’d be earning around S$3,540 (PHP 127,565) every month.
To have this work visa, you also need to have a good university degree, professional qualifications, or specialist skills. It’s also worth noting that EP holders are not subject to DPC quotas or levies. Your EP is valid for two years after it is issued and can be renewed for three years at a time.
If you plan on working here in Singapore, aside from the salary, also consider your goals. If you plan to stay here long-term, then becoming a permanent resident (PR) might be something you want to explore. For this, you need to be an S Pass or E Pass holder for at least six months before you apply for this visa status.
Permanent residency is available to anyone who has worked in Singapore for more than two years on an employment or S pass. All applications should be submitted to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) and completed online using the Electronic Permanent Residence (E-PR) system.
[UPDATE] The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) raised the work pass criteria in August 2020 in order to keep and grow local jobs. In general, Singaporean workers take precedence over foreign workers in filling local job vacancies. This is one of the government’s post-COVID-19 initiatives to encourage employers to keep a core of Singaporeans on their payrolls.
Moreover, the MOM increased the minimum salary requirements for EP and S Pass, as announced in September 2020. As a result, obtaining both passes became more difficult. Because it is the only visa for unskilled labor, a work permit has no salary restrictions.
Since the pandemic hit, Singapore has adjusted many aspects of its workforce and economic strategies to cope accordingly. And while that may sound bad news to some people – since many have lost their jobs during this period – as confirmed by our resource vlogger, Benji, there still are lots of opportunities waiting out there for qualified foreign nationals, including Filipinos, especially since Singapore and the Philippines have had a long history of good relationship in terms of support and labor relations.
It’s really up to you to patiently look for an opportunity to work and begin your career in this wonderful country with plenty of great opportunities. As Benji mentioned in his vlog, just don’t be picky about the job that you’ll get here since you can always level up and find new opportunities that match your professional and financial goals in the future.