Singapores advancing economic structure attracts a great number of individuals who wish to experience its business potential. Any foreigner who wishes to do business in Singapore, either by seeking employment or putting up his own company, must first obtain a Singapore Employment Pass before he can legally transact his business in the country. A Singapore Employment Pass is a work visa issued by the Ministry of Manpower to foreign business people who are already employed in Singapore or to any business person still seeking for employment or who either owns a Singapore company or is a shareholder or director of such company.
The Singapore Employment Pass has three types, depending on the purpose:
P1 Pass for a minimum monthly income of S$7,000 and holds a managerial, executive or specialist position
P2 Pass for a minimum monthly income of S$3,500
Q1 Pass for a minimum monthly income of S$2,500
Applications for a Singapore Employment Pass are submitted to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). The MOM is the sole authority that reviews, evaluates and approves EP Applications. To be eligible for a Singapore EP, the applicant must possess specialist skills and professional qualifications. In this case, an applicants educational attainment and background are added considerations, so it is important that a hard copy of the Original Transcript of Records and other relevant certificates pertaining to education is attached to the application. Although, educational attainment is vital, its absence could still be compensated by presenting the following documents: resume or curriculum vitae indicating in details the educational and employment history, testimonials or certificates of employment from previous employers, and a copy of passport. An applicant who has not earned a college degree is not immediately denied by the Ministry of Manpower as long as his application is sufficient in form and substance and his supporting credentials are excellent.
There are three steps in applying for a Singapore EP with the Ministry of Manpower:
First Step: For newly incorporated companies, an authorization code must first be obtained from the MOM before submitting the application. The authorization code is issued within 1-2 weeks.
Second Step: Submit your EP application. An application may be submitted personally to the MOM or online. The approval of the application takes at least 2 weeks.
Third Step: Once an application is approved, the MOM sends through email, an In-Principle Approval (IPA). The IPA must then be presented personally to the Work Pass Division of the MOM upon claiming the EP. The IPA is valid for 6 months from the time of notification of approval. Aside from the IPA, the applicant must also bring a medical exam report (which may be issued by the applicants country of origin or by in Singapore), original passport with entry embarkation cards, recent passport-size photos, and other documents specified in the IPA. Documents which are not in the English language must be translated into English by any Singaporean accredited official translation service.
An EP issued for the first time is valid for 2 years and can be renewed thereafter. The renewed EP is valid for 3 years. Once an Employment Pass (EP) has been issued, the foreign holder may now apply for a Dependent Pass or Long-Term Visit Pass for his/her family members.