Can the Employment Pass be transferred from one employer to another?

One of the most frequent questions we encounter from our prospective clients is whether the Singapore Employment Pass is transferable from one employer to another. For the benefit of our clients and our other site visitors who may have the same question in mind, here is our clarification.

One of the most frequent questions we encounter from our prospective clients is whether the Singapore Employment Pass is transferable from one employer to another. For the benefit of our clients and our other site visitors who may have the same question in mind, here is our clarification.

The Employment Pass is issued to foreign professional employees, managers, and owners or directors of Singapore companies. The Employment Pass is initially issued for 1-2 years and can be renewed as long as you continue to remain employed by the company. However, note that the Employment Pass is tied to a specific employer. In other words, if you wish to switch jobs, you must apply for a new Employment Pass with the new employer as your sponsor. Each new application will be considered based on the merits of the case. The good news is that you are not required to cancel your existing Employment Pass before submitting an application for a new pass.

There is only one circumstance under which the Employment Pass can be transferred without the need for cancellation and re-application for a new pass – change of the existing business entity to another entity. The circumstances that are likely to lead to a change of business entity are:

  • Converting a sole proprietorship or partnership to a private limited company;
  • Converting a private limited company to a public listed company;
  • Company restructuring;
  • Company takeover;
  • Company merger; or
  • Consolidation and transfer between subsidiary or associate companies.

In such cases, the employing company will make a request for transfer of Employment Pass by submitting the required documents to the Ministry of Manpower.

Note that transfer of Employment Pass is not applicable to cases where the Representative Office (RO) is converted to a private limited company, sole proprietorship, partnership, or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). For such cases, you must apply for a new Employment Pass under the new entity.

The request for transfer will be considered on a case-by-case basis and does not guarantee success at all times. If the request for transfer is unsuccessful, an application for a new Employment Pass must be made. For details on how to apply for Employment Pass, refer to Singapore Employment Pass Guide.

Interested in doing business in Singapore? Learn more about Singapore company setup.

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