An Overview of Singapore Immigration Visa Schemes
The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of various work permit schemes available in Singapore for foreign working professionals and entrepreneurs. Singapore has become the ideal business and commercial hub in Southeast Asia, partly due to its creative immigration policies designed to attract seasoned entrepreneurs and working professionals from around the world.
Work Permit Schemes for Foreign Professionals & Entrepreneurs
Employment Pass Scheme
The Employment Pass (EP) is the main type of work permit meant for company owners or skilled employees who will be working in Singapore. Your fixed monthly salary must be more than S$3,600 . There is no official quota system limiting the number of EPs that can be issued.
- Validity: An EP is initially issued for 1-2 years (at the discretion of authorities) and renewable as long as the applicant continues to be employed by the company.
- Eligibility: Company owners and professional staff with tertiary education and relevant experience.
- Quota System: There is no quota official system for EPs.
- Permanent Residence Eligibility: Employment Pass holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
For more detailed information on the EP, refer to Singapore Employment Pass guide.
Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) Scheme
The Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is a variation of the Employment Pass, and is the primary type of work pass for owners of newly incorporated (or to be incorporated) Singapore companies who wish to relocate to Singapore to operate their new business.
- Validity: An EntrePass is initially issued for 1 year and renewable after that as long as the business remains viable.
- Eligibility: Business owners who wish to incorporate a new company or have recently incorporated a company that is less than six months old. The business must fulfill one of the “innovativeness” conditions that were introduced in September 2013.
- Quota System: There is no official quota system for EntrePass.
- Permanent Residence Eligibility: Entrepreneur Pass holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
For further information on the EntrePass, refer to Singapore EntrePass guide.
Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) Scheme
The Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a special type of Employment Pass that is not tied to a specific employer. The biggest benefit of having a PEP work permit is that you can switch jobs without re-applying for a new employment pass provided that you are not unemployed for more than six months. The biggest downside is that you are not allowed to start your own company as a PEP holder; since the pass is meant for you to be employed by a third-party employer. The eligibility requirements for PEP are quite strict.
- Validity: PEP is issued for 3 years and non-renewable.
- Eligibility: Well paid professionals who want to work in Singapore for an employer. PEP holders cannot start their own business in Singapore.
- Quota System: There is no official quota system for PEP.
- Permanent Residence Eligibility: PEP holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
For further details on PEP, refer to Personalised Employment Pass
S Pass Scheme
The S Pass is for mid-skilled employees who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,200 (w.e.f. 1 July 2013). S Pass applicants are assessed based on employer’s quota eligibility and applicant’s qualifications. Instead of a degree, a technical diploma is acceptable for this kind of work pass.
- Validity: S Pass is initially issued for 1-2 years (at the discretion of authorities) and is renewable after that as long as the applicant continues to be employed by the employer.
- Eligibility: Mid-level technical staff.
- Quota System: Yes. For more details on quota, see Computation of Company’s Quota Balance.
- Permanent Residence Eligibility: S pass holders are eligible to apply for PR; however, they may have to wait at least 4-5 years and have a stable job history in Singapore.
Miscellaneous Work Pass Scheme
The Miscellaneous Work Pass is issued to foreigners working in Singapore on short-term assignments. More specifically, you will be issued a Miscellaneous Work Pass if you are:
- involved in activities directly related to the organisation or conduct of any seminar, conference, workshop, gathering or talk concerning any religion, race or community, or political end;
- a foreign religious worker giving talks relating directly or indirectly to any religion; or
- a foreign journalist, reporter or an accompanying crew member not sponsored by any Singapore Government agency.
The other information about this scheme is as follows:
- Validity: Short-term.
- Quota System: No. Each application is considered based in its own merit.
- Permanent Residence Eligibility: Miscellaneous Work Pass holders are not eligible to apply for PR.
Other Immigration Visa Schemes
Dependent Pass Scheme
A Singapore Dependent’s Pass (DP) is a family relocation visa issued to spouses and unmarried children (below 21 years) of Employment Pass/S Pass holders with a fixed monthly salary of at least S$5,000. For more, see Dependent Pass Scheme.
Permanent Residence Scheme for Work Pass Holders
Holders of professional work passes are eligible to apply for permanent residence in due course. For more information, see overview of Singapore PR schemes.
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