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Singapore Work Pass Cancellation Guide

This guide provides information about the cancellation of a work pass (Employment Pass or Entrepreneur Pass), outlining when to cancel the work pass and how to do so, including tax clearance procedures for those leaving Singapore permanently, and other related information.

When to cancel work pass?

You must cancel your existing Work Pass if you are

  • resigning from your existing employment and leaving Singapore permanently
  • retrenched by your existing employer and wish to leave Singapore permanently
  • resigning from your existing employment and joining a new employer in Singapore
  • resigning from your existing employment and starting your own business in Singapore
  • retrenched by your existing employer and wish to find alternative employment in Singapore

Job resignation or retrenchment and leaving Singapore permanently

If you wish to leave Singapore permanently, you must ensure that your work pass (and any other passes attached to your pass) are cancelled.

Cancellation:

  •  You should cancel your work pass (and other related passes like Dependant’s Pass and/or Long Term Visit Pass) in advance of your last day – usually when you submit your resignation or as soon as your employer indicates that you will be terminated or retrenched.
  • The work pass is deemed to be cancelled from the last day of your employment. Thereafter, you and your dependants should not stay in Singapore unless you have been issued an alternate valid pass to remain in the country.
  • If your employment resignation or termination is sudden and there is insufficient notice period before the last day, you have seven (7) days from the date of cessation or termination of employment to cancel your work pass and other related passes. If you and your dependants are in Singapore at the time of the cancellation, you will be issued a 30-day Short Term Visit Pass (STVP). The STVP allows you to temporarily stay in Singapore and prepare for your departure. You will be asked to return the STVP to the Immigration Checkpoint Officer at the point of departure, when you leave Singapore.

Note: If you are leaving Singapore permanently you must also complete certain other legal formalities before you leave. Details on these formalities are listed at the end of this article.

Job resignation and joining a new employer or starting your own business in Singapore

Since a work pass is tied to a specific employer, you must apply for a new pass whenever you change jobs. Ideally, you should wait for the approval of your new work pass before canceling your existing pass. Similarly, if you wish to resign from your existing job and start your own business in Singapore, you must apply for the relevant work pass.

Cancellation:

  •  When your new work pass application is approved, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will mail the In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter to the address as specified in the completed application form. Any related passes attached to your work pass will be processed similarly.
  • Once you receive your IPA letter for the new pass, you can cancel your existing pass upon termination of employment with the previous employer. Other related passes attached to your main pass will be automatically cancelled on cancellation of your main work pass.

Job retrenchment and finding alternative employment in Singapore

Retrenchment with notice period:

  •  If your employer gives you advance notice of your retrenchment, you should ensure that you find an alternate job before the last date of employment. Usually, your new employing company will apply for your work pass (and other related passes) on your behalf.
  • When your new work pass application is approved, the MOM will mail the In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter to the address as specified in the completed application form.
  • Once you receive your IPA letter for the new pass, you can cancel your existing pass upon termination of employment with the previous employer. Other related passes attached to your main pass will be automatically cancelled on cancellation of your main work pass.

Retrenchment without notice period:

  •  If you are laid off without any notice period before the last date of employment, you have seven days from the date of termination of employment to cancel your work pass and other related passes.
  • You will be issued a 30-day Short Term Visit Pass (STVP), which will allow you to temporarily stay in Singapore.
  • You must find a new job and apply for a new work pass within the timeframe given with the STVP.
  • On expiry of the STVP, if you remain in Singapore without an alternate valid pass, you will be considered an over-stayer and will be subject to penalties accordingly.

How to cancel Work Pass?

  •  Your work pass can be cancelled by you in person or your company representative on your behalf via the Employment Pass Online (EPOL).
  • The document to be submitted for cancellation is:
    • the Work Pass and related pass holders’ travel document/Passport.
  • You will be issued an acknowledgement letter and Short Term Visit Pass (valid for 30 days) immediately, which confirms that your pass has been cancelled.
  • Once the main pass is cancelled, all related passes (i.e. Dependant’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass) will be automatically cancelled. If the DP-holder happens to be holding a Letter of Consent this will be automatically cancelled.
  • On receipt of the Cancellation Confirmation Letter, you must return your original work pass and other related passes by dropping it at the MOM’s building. Alternatively, you can post the relevant passes within seven days from the date of cancellation.

Formalities to comply with before leaving Singapore permanently

If you have decided to leave Singapore permanently after job resignation or employment termination, there are certain legal obligations you need to fulfill.

Tax Clearance Formalities

Before you leave Singapore, you must ensure that you have cleared all your tax dues. Usually, employers will need to seek tax clearance on your behalf. In this regard, your employer will notify the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) and withhold all payments due to you from the day you give notice of your intention to cease employment or when your employer decides to terminate your employment. Your employer will release the payments due to you, only after the IRAS does an assessment and issues a tax clearance certificate, confirming that you have paid all taxes (or upon the expiry of 30 days after the IRAS has been notified, if earlier). The processing time taken by IRAS for giving a tax clearance is usually one week to 21 days.

Please note that IRAS may appoint your bank as an agent for tax recovery purposes. If you have any overdue taxes, you may be prevented from leaving Singapore by a stop order certificate. In such circumstances, you will need to obtain a release letter from IRAS.

Other factors to settle before you leave

Before you leave Singapore, you must also ensure that you have closed all loops and taken necessary steps to settle all dues. Here is a quick checklist you can refer to.

  • If you are living in rented accommodation, you must inform your landlord of your decision to move, settle any outstanding payments and collect your rental deposit. Do refer to your lease agreement to check if you have satisfied all terms and conditions.
  • Close your accounts with utility providers (Starhub, Singtel, SP Services etc.) and collect deposits, if any.
  • Notify banks that you hold an account with, your credit card and insurance companies and check with them for any formalities you need to comply with.
  • Inform your maid agency (if you have employed a maid) and settle all dues as per the contractual terms.
  • Notify your children’s educational institution(s) and check about the formalities that need to be complied with.

For more information about cancellation of Singapore work pass, visit the Ministry of Manpower website.

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