Important upcoming changes to employment pass application in Singapore
To get a Singapore employment pass has always been a complicated process. With stringent eligibility criteria as well as the multitude of administrative steps necessary to complete the process, it has always been a challenging and time-consuming task. Additionally, due to an important change, this process may get more difficult in future for certain types of foreign employees working in Singapore.
As to the general state of things, the Singapore government has always kept a watchful eye on the influx of foreign employees coming into Singapore. Ultimately, their job is to strike a balance between too few and too many foreign employees entering Singapore. As always, the state of the regulations concerning the Singapore employment pass will eternally be in a state of flux.
Among the most recent changes concerning Singapore employment passes was a particular one as elucidated by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore in late 2017. By the current regulations governing Singapore employment passes in Singapore, current holders of a Singapore employment pass or an S pass are permitted, upon meeting certain criteria, to bring their family members to stay in Singapore.
This operates under the dependent privileges framework that incorporates various eligibility criteria such as their salary, their ability to offer financial support to the dependents that come with them to Singapore, as well as the extent to which they have contributed to Singapore’s economic development.
Under the current scheme, holders of a Singapore employment pass need to meet a minimum monthly salary of $5,000 in order to allow a spouse or children to stay in Singapore as well on a Dependent Pass. Also, they additionally need to meet a minimum monthly salary of $10,000 in order to allow their parents to stay in Singapore under a Long Term Visitor Pass.
However, the requirements that holders of Singapore employment passes need to meet in order to do so will only grow more stringent in the near future. As the Ministry of Manpower conducts frequent reviews of the criteria necessary for holders of Singapore employment passes to bring dependents to Singapore, their latest findings have resulted in the need to increase the minimum monthly salary necessary to bring over dependents of both types – spouses/children as well as parents – to Singapore.
Essentially, the minimum monthly salary needed to bring over spouses or children will be increased by $1,000 to $6,000, and that needed to bring over parents will be increased by $2,000 to $12,000. According to the Ministry of Manpower, the new change will take effect from 1 January 2018 onwards.
Fortunately, the grace period until 1 January 2018 provides some opportunity for both employers and holders of Singapore employment passes to adapt to the new changes. Effectively, those who know that they will be unable to meet the newer and more stringent criteria should capitalise on this opportunity to apply for a pass before the coming-into-effect date of 1 January 2018.