Singapore Work Visa Guide [Types & Requirements]

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If you’re hiring or thinking about hiring foreign employees in Singapore, choosing the best Singapore work visa for your employees can be a challenge. We’re here to support your research by compiling all the information you may need in our up-to-date guide. Read on for an overview of the common types of Singapore work visa and their requirements.

Recent Updates

In a bid to attract top foreign talent and strengthen its position as a global hub for foreign talent, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower recently introduced several new work visa schemes.

  • From September 1, 2023, the MOM will assess EP applicants against a points-based scale, taking into account education, skills, and diversity at the hiring company, in addition to salary.
  • In its biggest shift in policy, Singapore will offer a five-year work visa, known as the Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) pass, starting January 1, 2023. The ONE Pass targets employees making at least S$30,000 per year in key industries such as business, arts and culture, science and technology, and academic and research. The pass will also permit the dependents of the pass holder to seek employment.
Common types of work visas in Singapore 1

Singapore Work Visa for Foreign Professionals

Employment Pass (EP)

Among the many work passes that Singapore offers, the Employment Pass is the most granted work visa by the Ministry of Manpower, covering experienced professionals, managers and executives.

The EP is valid for 1-2 years and can be renewed for up to three years. It is a multiple-entry visa which means the holder to travel in and out of the country without the need to apply for an entry visa every time they leave.

An important consideration for businesses in Singapore is that there is no foreign worker levy or quota limiting the number of EPs that can be issued. This is because the quota system only applies to the S Pass and Work Permit. Nevertheless, in some cases, when the number of Employment Pass holders in the company exceeds 50%, the sponsor company must justify to the MOM why locals were not offered the job.

Eligibility & Application

To be eligible, the employee must meet a minimum salary requirement of S$5,000 per month. Applicants with more work experience will need to meet a higher salary threshold.

You will need to provide proof of your candidate’s educational qualifications, typically a good university degree, professional qualifications, and/or evidence of specialized skills. If the candidate does not hold a university degree, evidence of substantial professional experience is required.

You must be a Singapore-registered company to submit an EP application to hire an employee. Once you have made an offer of employment to your candidate and they meet basic prerequisites, you (as the sponsor company) can submit an application to the MOM.

As Singapore allows 100% foreign ownership of locally incorporated companies, business owners can also apply for the EP to live and work in Singapore. However, they must provide evidence of ongoing business activities.


  • Hold a job offer in Singapore to work in a managerial, executive, or specialist role.
  • Earn a minimum salary of S$5,000 per month. Those with more work experience may need to earn more.
  • Generally, hold a good university degree, professional qualifications, or specialized skills.
  • Application filed by sponsoring company registered in Singapore.

If you would like to screen yourself or your employee for eligibility for the Employment Pass, you can use the Ministry of Manpower’s Self-Assessment Tool (SAT). Remember that the SAT result does not guarantee the actual outcome of an application. There are exceptions, particularly for more experienced workers or those with particular skills.

S Pass

The S Pass targets mid-level skilled employees working for a Singaporean company, for example, accountants, technicians, and other mid-level positions. It can be a good option for companies who wish to hire skilled employees but do not have the budget to meet the salary requirement of the EP. However, employers should be mindful of the S Pass quota and the number of locals needed on payroll to hire an S Pass holder.

To be eligible, the candidate must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3000. They must also hold acceptable qualifications, such as a higher education degree or diploma from an accredited institution. Candidates also need to provide details of their work experience. The pass is valid for up to two years initially and can be renewed for another three years.

Just like the EP, your company is responsible for filing the S Pass application with the Ministry of Manpower on behalf of your employee.

S Pass Levy & Quota

Unlike the EP, the number of S Passes a company can hire is subject to a foreign worker quota and levy. In short, the number of S Pass holders which you can hire depends on how many Singapore citizens or Permanent Resident holders are on your payroll.

Levy rates vary depending on the industry and are tiered, meaning that companies who hire close to the maximum quota will pay a higher levy.

If you have never applied for the S Pass before, you need to declare your business activities to the MOM for calculating your foreign worker quota. Currently, the quota caps S Pass holders at:

  • 10% of the company workforce in the services sector
  • 18% in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, and processing industries

Eligibility and Salary Requirements

  • Hold a job offer in Singapore to work in a mid-level skilled role
  • Earn a minimum fixed salary of at least S$3,000. More experienced employees are required to earn more.
  • Generally, hold a good university degree, professional qualifications, or specialized skills.
  • The application must be sponsored by a Singapore-registered company with an available S Pass quota.

You can also check your employee’s S Pass eligibility by using the same Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) by the MOM here.

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Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

The Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a special type of Singapore work visa that is offered to high-income professionals, based on a strict criteria of merits. The pass offers the holder a great deal of flexibility in that it is a self-sponsor pass and does not tie the holder to a single employer.

The holder can also work for more than one employer. Holders of this pass can reside in Singapore for up to six months without a job to search for new employment. 

It is open to current high-earning EP holders and foreign professionals coming to Singapore from overseas.

The PEP is issued as a one-time pass for 3 years. It cannot be renewed but the holder can extend it by applying for an EP or Entrepass.

You are not allowed to start a business in Singapore or engage in other entrepreneurial activities if you hold a PEP. Those looking to do so may apply for an EP or Entrepass.

Eligibility and Salary Requirements

The MOM has tightened eligibility criteria since it was first introduced. This is to ensure that the PEP remains a premium visa for high-caliber talent. PEP applicants must meet the following conditions:

  • Be a current EP holder earning at least S$12,000 per month
  • Earn at least S$18,000 per month if applying from overseas
  • Must secure employment within 6 months of receiving PEP

NEW 2023: ONE Pass (Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass)

In August 2022, the Singapore government unveiled a brand new 5-year work visa – the Overseas Networks and Expertise (ONE) Pass – coming into effect from January 2023.

As Singapore looks to bolster its recovery from the pandemic, the new pass aims to attract top talent in diverse fields and experienced professionals in areas of skills shortages.

Just like the PEP, the ONE Pass is personalized in that is not tied to any employer. This means that holders do not need to reapply for a pass if they change jobs. It allows the holder to concurrently start, operate and work for multiple companies in Singapore at any one time.

Existing work pass holders and overseas professionals can apply for the ONE Pass if they meet the following salary criteria:

  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 within the previous 12 months.
  • Will earn a fixed monthly of at least S$30,000 from their future employer in Singapore.

Applicants with outstanding achievements in the fields of arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and academia and research can qualify for the ONE Pass even if they do not meet the salary requirement.

But salary isn’t the only threshold for qualifying for the ONE Pass. If a candidate is applying from overseas, they must demonstrate that they have worked for an established company for at least 1 year. Alternatively, they can provide evidence that they will work for an established company in Singapore.

To be regarded as established, the company must either have:

  • a market capitalization of at least US$500 million 
  • annual revenue of at least US$200 million

Key Benefits of the ONE Pass

  • Personalized pass not linked to a specific employer
  • Duration of 5 years compared to 2 years of Employment Pass (EP)
  • The spouse of the holder can work by obtaining a Letter of Consent (LOC)

Singapore Work Visa for Foreign Entrepreneurs and Investors


The Entrepreneur Pass, also known as EntrePass, is a visa that allows entrepreneurs to start a new business in Singapore. It is specifically designed for foreign entrepreneurs, high-caliber innovators, and experienced investors who wish to start a business in Singapore that is venture-backed or owns innovative technologies.

Unlike other work passes, the EntrePass is strictly focused on new, innovative industries and is not granted to entrepreneurs in older, established industries.

EntrePass applications are assessed jointly by the MOM and other government partner agencies such as the Standards, Productivity and Innovation Board (SPRING Singapore), Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and SGInnovate. The pass is granted based on the growth prospects and economic benefits that the proposed business will bring to the country, such as job creation.

Basic EntrePass criteria

To be eligible to apply for the EntrePass, the candidate must have already incorporated a private limited company with the ACRA or have plans to do so. If already registered, the company can be no more than 6 months old. EntrePass is open to all nationalities.

A solid business plan is an important part of the EntrePass application and should provide a thorough overview of your business idea, and operation plan, as well as information about the applicant and their professional experience.

Additional EntrePass Criteria

In addition to the basic criteria, applicants need to meet at least one of the following seven criteria, as an entrepreneur, innovator, or investor.

  • Be in receipt of funding from a business angel or Singapore government-recognized third-party VC.
  • Hold IP (intellectual property) registered with a recognized national IP institution
  • Have an ongoing research collaboration with an institution acknowledged by the Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (known as A*STAR), an education institute, or other well-known, private research organization.
  • Possess a strong business investment track record and desire to expand new or existing businesses in Singapore.
  • Have substantial business expertise and network, in addition to a promising entrepreneurial track record
  • Possess extraordinary domain or technical experience related to the planned business venture
  • Be an incubatee at an incubator or accelerator that is recognized by the Singapore government.

Need Assistance Applying for a Singapore Work Visa?

As a leading recruitment agency and HR services provider, Career Pond can help your business achieve success in Singapore. Our team has helped many foreign companies and their employees establish or grow their team in the country. Our on-the-ground team have an in-depth understanding of the country’s recruitment landscape, as well as immigration and employment laws.

When you partner with us, you gain access to a range of services that can help your business streamline its operations. Our offering covers recruitment, onboarding, payroll administration, and legal and tax compliance. So, no matter what combination of services you need, contact our consultants today.

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About Author

Annie Huang

As Senior Regional Recruitment Manager, Annie uses her expert knowledge and experience to help companies with their global hiring strategy, providing support to both established enterprises and those new to the market. She knows the ins and outs of recruitment practices and employment laws throughout Asia, with a special focus on China and Singapore. Annie consults on global mobility projects and guides our clients to better understand the market so that they can reach their goals faster.

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