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Work Pass Application Services

Navigating the restrictions of employment in Singapore can be a complex process. That is why many foreigners and Malaysians opt to hire Singapore manpower agencies for a one-stop HR solution to save their time and effort. Recruitment agencies in Singapore offer a variety of services including employment placement, work pass applications and also immigration services. Understanding the difference between the various types of work permits is essential for anyone wanting to start working in Singapore. This article discusses the key differences between a Singapore Work Permit, an S Pass and an Employment Pass (EP) as specified by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM). We also look at what employers need to know when hiring foreign workers for their company in Singapore.

What Are the Different Types of Work Pass in Singapore?

Singapore is a major ex-pat hub, and those looking to work in the city have the right paperwork. Work permit, S Pass, and Employment Pass are three of the most important documents needed by foreign nationals who want to work legally in Singapore.

Work Permits

Firstly, low or semi-skilled foreign workers are classified under Work Permits holders. Most of the workers come from sectors such as services, manufacturing, construction, or marine shipyard. Only workers from a few pre-approved Asian countries are eligible for the work permit, with no minimum salary requisite. The permit will only last up to 2 years, depending on the worker’s passport, security bond, and employment period. 

S Pass

Mid-skilled staff are eligible to apply for S Pass. Employees were required to earn at least S$3000 monthly fixed income. S Pass: You must be a diploma, degree holder, or technical certificate holder. The validity of an S pass is up to 2 years.

Employment Pass (EP)

Employment Pass, or E-pass, are only eligible for foreign highly skilled expertise. This employment pass is for foreign professionals, managers, executives, and those with specialised skills who wish to work in Singapore long-term. To qualify for this pass, they must meet certain at least S$5000 monthly fixed income and professional educational qualifications.

Who Qualifies to Apply for an Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore?

For candidates looking to take advantage of the exciting job opportunities in Singapore, it is important to understand the requirements for obtaining an Employment Pass (EP). Applicants for EP can be from any nationality; the foreign professional must have an actual job offer to work in Singapore. The job position should be at least managerial, executive, or specialist level. Besides, to be eligible for an EP permit, applicants must meet one of the most critical criteria: candidates who graduated from reputable universities must earn at least S$5000 fixed monthly income. The likelihood of EP application will be accepted if you are a university graduate with professional qualifications and specialised skills would be the best. Candidates must meet a minimum of 40 points under the new point-based COMPASS (Complementarity Assessment Framework), which is evaluated based on an individual’s qualifications and organisation attributes. In addition, all candidates must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of February 1, 2022, to be accepted.

Employment Pass (EP) – Application, Renewal & Cancellation

Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is one of the most sought-after residencies passes available in the country. This pass gives foreign professionals access to Singapore’s job market and a wide range of privileges, such as secure employment rights and generous tax benefits. The employment pass includes three processes: application, renewal, and cancellation. Knowing each process related to your likelihood of acceptance, renewal, or cancellation is necessary.


Anyone applying for an EP must meet certain criteria set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) before they can be approved. Applying for an EP begins with submitting a comprehensive online form on MOM’s website. Once this is done, applicants must provide supporting documents such as their qualifications, employment records, passport copies and other relevant information. The process usually takes up to 10 days from filing to approval and within eight weeks for overseas companies without Singapore-registered companies. However, it may take longer if additional information is requested. Both candidates and agents will get updated if the application is successful, and a pass card will be sent to the provided address within five working days after everything is settled. The duration of EP for first-time candidates would be up to 2 years, and renewal is compulsory after the period.


For your information, renewal is allowed up to 6 months before expiration. However, for sponsorship form EP, renewal three months prior to expiration is allowed, whilst renewal application has to reach MOM 2 months prior expiration date. Employers or employment agents are responsible for this renewal process. The renewed pass card lasts up to 3 years, and it’s not affected by the pass holder’s passport validity. The cost of each pass is S$225 and is S$30 for each Multiple Journey visas if applicable. Your application will take up to 10 business days for an update and eight weeks for sponsorship-type EP.


Lastly, cancellation occurs when you are no longer working with your employer or will soon leave Singapore permanently. Before cancelling your EP, you are required to provide reasonable notice of repatriation. Don’t forget to seek tax clearance from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) whilst settling all your outstanding employment issues. Employers or any Singapore manpower agency handling the overall process be responsible for the costs of the pass holder’s air ticket to their hometown unless the pass holder agrees to bear their own expense. For cancellation applications, pass holders are allowed to submit cancellation requests up to 14 days in advance; the cancellation is immediate unless you submit an advance cancellation request. There is an exception in which a pass card will be automatically cancelled if the pass holder becomes a permanent Singapore resident. Gently reminder here to cut the pass card in half and discard it immediately to prevent misuse.

The Difference Between Singapore Work Permit, S Pass & Employment Pass

Singapore’s labour market is complex, with various work permits for foreign employees. Understanding the differences between Singapore Work Permit, S Pass, and Employment Pass is important for employers or potential employees looking to work in Singapore.

Singapore Work Permit (WP)

A Singapore Work Permit (WP) is a type of permit issued to those who hold lower or semi-skilled jobs, such as services, manufacturing, construction, marine, shipyard or process sector. As such, construction worker agencies mainly deal with work permits for foreign workers. There is no minimum qualifying salary. However, only workers from the pre-approved list of countries are eligible for this permit. While the validity period for a license is up to 2 years, the family dependents are not allowed to apply for a work permit at different times. A levy will also be imposed on employers, depending on the nationality and salary of their employees. Unfortunately, as every sector has different sets of quotas for employers and due to recent tightening measures, the service sector quota has faced a 5% decrease, and many WP holders might face job loss in the future. S Pass is applicable for mid-skilled workers, for the processing time usually will be within three weeks unless more information is required. 

Not sure how to apply for work permit? Click here.

S Pass

Candidates applying for S Pass should be offered at least S$2,500 of fixed monthly salary to be accepted, and the pass duration is up to 2 years as well. Just like the Work Permit holders, the S-Pass Holders have a 10% quota limiting the number of workers in the service sector and 18% in all other sectors as of 1 January 202. A smaller allocation of 15% in all other sectors will be implemented as of 2023. A monthly levy and health insurance are necessary for your employee with a validity of 2 years. Additionally, dependents are entitled to apply for a pass to reside in Singapore.

Employment Pass (EP)

The Employment Pass is designed for managerial, executive or specialised positions with at least a S$5000 fixed monthly salary for high-skilled workers and is up to S$10,500 for mid-40s candidates. The holder must have a degree or diploma from an accredited institution. Optimistically, no foreign worker levy or quota is required for employment passes, which is cost savings. At the same time, employers can decide whether to provide health insurance for EP employee holders. The Employment Pass is more favourable as it allows holders to be sponsored for permanent residency in Singapore after two years. In conclusion, the overall minimum documents needed for application would be a particular page of the candidate’s passport, the company’s latest business profile or instant information with ACRA. Besides, a candidate’s educational certificate is required for candidates who applied for S Pass or Employment Pass.

In brief, Singapore Work Permit, S Pass, and Employment Pass have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the differences between them is key to navigating the Singaporean job market. The application process requires careful consideration and due diligence on the part of employers and employees. Employers and employees must be aware of the responsibilities associated with each pass before deciding which one is best.

Want to know more about E Pass application services? Click here.

Reasons Your Employment Pass (EP) Gets Rejected

Receiving a rejection letter for your employment pass application in Singapore can be disheartening. Before you hit the redo button or hiring an employment agency for their services, it’s essential to understand why your application was rejected. Employment pass rejections could be due to various reasons, such as personal use, suspicious calculation of your background, lack of skills, employer discriminatory history or health issues. 

Misuse of Pass For Personal Purposes

First and foremost is the misuse of the pass for personal purposes. This includes failing to adhere to the guidelines for working in Singapore and engaging in activities outside their job scope or unrelated to the original intent of obtaining an Employment Pass.

Insufficient Documents

Another common reason for rejection is ability calculation errors or insufficient proof/documentation provided by employers or candidates during the process. The ratio of your pay, rank, education and ability presented red flags to the MOM, which you still need to meet the requirements for employment in Singapore. Your or your employer’s ill-will was never a factor, just the MOM proportional determination.

Applicant’s Abilities & Qualifications

Next, the government assumes that your abilities and qualifications aren’t something unique or valuable to Singapore. Framing the work as a whole makes you more appealing to others, so if you convince them everything can be done by local professionals, an application may be rejected for Singapore Employment Pass. How your qualifications and skills were portrayed in your professional application profile shaped things greatly. It a better to leave your EP appeal in the hands of professional visa experts or experienced Singapore manpower agencies in handling Federal visa requests.

History of Discriminatory Acts

Besides, a history of discriminatory acts by your employer could also result in an EP rejection. Believe it or not, if your employer hires few to no local workers, your EP might also get affected. Lastly, health issues are one of the most important factors for MOM to accept or reject your application. You might get your EP rejected if you are diagnosed with a serious illness.

Contact a Singapore Manpower Agency Today!

If you are looking for a Singapore manpower agency to outsource your HR needs such as staffing services or ease your recruitment process, check out Yuanyii Agency, a Singapore job agency for Malaysians. We specialize in recruitment or employment services, work pass applications and immigration services. Drop us a message or contact us today, let us help you find the right talent with the right skills.