Step By Step Guide: How To Obtain Singapore Employment Pass in 2021

Candidate Already in Singapore
Candidate Not In Singapore

Step 1: Check Eligibility & Understand Requirements 

Before a foreign specialists/professional from overseas can be hired by a local employer, the employer needs to show evidence that all efforts have been made to advertise and hire local candidates first. This would include putting up a job advertisement at a government managed job portal known as mycareerfuture.  Unless exempted, the job advertisement must be for at least 28 days so that sufficient time is allowed for local job seekers to apply for the vacancy posted. Despite all efforts and yet no suitable local candidate can be found, then the employer can proceed to make the necessary Singapore Employment Pass Application for the selected foreign applicant. Singapore Employment Pass is the highest level of work pass category which allows well educated professionals to work and reside in Singapore.

Step 2: Collate and Consider All Local Applicants for Fair Hiring Practice

Employers are required to consider and collate all local applicants data for the job vacancies posted at careerfuture over the 28 days advertising period. Other information on recruitment efforts made are also needed.

The information required include how many local candidates have applied for the vacancy, how many was shortlisted and interviewed for the role?

The authorities would also require information on why local candidates cannot be found and why they are they are not selected. Finally, employer needs to provide information on how the EP applicant was eventually found and hired for the vacancy.

Step 3: If No Suitable Candidates Can Be Found, Check Whether Foreign Applicant Fulfill Criteria for a Singapore Employment Pass

The following are some of the key criteria to consider before submitting any application for a Singapore Employment Pass:

OccupationShould be as relevant to the employer’s business activity as far as possible
QualificationsA good bachelor’s Degree from a reputed university (acceptable national and worldwide rankings). The Education Verification can be easily verified.
Salary Depending on age, experience and seniority of the role. At least SGD4,500 per month if the applicant is young ie early 20s and/or a fresh graduate.

Other than the above factors, the approval of Singapore Employment Pass depends on many other holistic considerations which are not made known publicly. Therefore, one should always consider approval as a privilege and invitation rather than a right.

Prepare Necessary Supporting Documents

  • Copy of the companies business profile and description of your job tasks of the employing company
  • Application Form 8
  • Authorisation Form
  • Copy of Passport
  • Copy of latest resume and Educational Certificates/Academic Qualifications
  • Copy of CV
  • References from prior employers

Step 4: Submit a Singapore Employment Pass Application online (Directly or Through Authorised Employment Agency)

Most EP application can be done online. Usually the application process can take between 3 to 4 weeks and longer up to 6 to 8 weeks if the initial application is rejected or the authorities requires further backgrounds checks.

The employers can submit directly or appoint a HR specialist / employment agency such as JobPlus to apply and submit on their behalf. A professional assistance is certainly recommended as the application process can be more cumbersome now given the COVID-19 pandemic and heighten restrictions.

The following are the basic steps:

  1. Get a written consent from sponsoring employer (if an employment agency such as JobPlus assists you with the procedure)
  2. Log in to EP Online, upload the necessary documents and forms
  3. Check status online after 3 weeks
  4. If pass is excepted, log in to EP Online and print your in-principle approval letter (IPA)

Step 5: Once Approved, the EP Needs To Be Activated Before EP holder can start work.

Upon in-principle approval, the Singapore Employment Pass is ready to be activated within 6 month.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions, successful applicants need to apply for entry approval from MOM first before arriving in Singapore.  The employer is also responsible to ensure that all the foreign employees comply with all the latest government advisory and guidelines. For example, upon arrivals, successful applicants would need to undergo quarantine for a certain number of days or go for a swab test to obtain a health clearance certificate before proceeding with pass activation and work.

Once activated, an arrangement can be made for the applicant to go to the Ministry of Manpower with the following:

  • Original passport
  • Appointment letter
  • Notification letter
  • Copy of immigration arrival card;
  • Medical examination form/COVID PCR test results notification;
  • Completed Declaration forms together with in-principle approval letter (IPA)