Employment Pass, Work Permit and S Pass in Singapore

Employment Pass, Work Permit and S Pass in Singapore

20 Dec 2023 | Others

5mins read



Hiring foreigners in Singapore

As your company grows, you are going to start hiring more manpower to help maintain day-to-day productions or be in managerial positions. Though the labour policy in Singapore gives priority to Singaporeans, not all our locals might have the specific skill set that you may be looking for as a business owner.

This is when we start looking for employees from other countries to fill in the gaps. Depending on the position that you are offering, you will want to apply for either a Work Permit, Employment Pass, or S Pass for your foreign worker. In the following segments, we’ll go through what are the differences between these passes.

Work Permit

Image credit: The Straits Times

The Work Permit is mean for semi-skilled foreign workers to work in certain labour-intensive sectors. Think construction, services, or shipyard manufacturing. Only workers from a list of pre-approved countries are eligible for this pass.

As a business owner, you will need to know the quota that is applicable to your industry. Each industry has a different quota – for example, the service sector is capped at 35% as of 1 January 2021. You will also need to provide medical insurance and pay a monthly levy for each worker.

Each Work Permit is eligible for 2 years and can be renewed after that. However, this is subject to age as well as the maximum period of employment. There is no minimum qualifying salary for Work Permits, but holders will not be able to apply for their families. 

S Pass

Image credit: The Straits Times

The S Pass is suited for foreigners with mid-level skills regardless of nationality, provided that they have the necessary qualifications. The other requirements that should be met are listed below:

  • Have either a degree, diploma, or specialized technical certificate
  • Multiple years of experience
  • Offered a job with a minimum $2500 salary (as of 1 May 2021)

The quota of S Pass holders you can hire for your company is capped at 10% of your total workforce in the service sector and 18% in all other sectors as of 1 January 2021. However, note that the other sectors’ quota will be reduced to 15% in 2023. 

Employers will also have to pay a $330 or $650 monthly levy for your S Pass holders, depending on how many you have working in your company. You will also have to get medical insurance for your S Pass employee.

Once your employee has successfully applied for an S Pass, it will be valid for 2 years. Holders will also be able to apply for their family members. You can apply for an S Pass for your employee through this link.

Employment Pass

Image credit: HR Asia

Unlike the S Pass that is meant for mid-level skill, the Employment Pass is for foreign professionals who are highly skilled expertise executives or managers. They must be from a globally recognized university, and earn a minimum salary of $4500 as of 1 September 2020. Qualifying salary will be higher for older and more experienced candidates.

The Employment Pass is also only valid for 2 years, after which it can be renewed every 3 years. There is no quota or levy on Employment Pass employees. You can apply for Employment Pass using this official online service.

Foreign employment Singapore

Especially in today’s day and age, hiring foreign employees allows us, business owners, to benefit in many ways other than increased profits. The above sections should have given you an idea of what pass will be suitable for your foreign employee. You can also use this self-assessment tool from the government to assess your employee’s eligibility for an S Pass or Employment Pass.

If you are still unsure about passes for your international employees, you can also contact us where we offer assistance for a spectrum of work visa services, including work permitsskill passes, employment pass and entrepreneur pass