The Employment Pass is designed to allow foreign professionals, managers and executives to work in Singapore. For candidates seeking to enter Singapore through the Employment Pass (EP), they must earn a monthly salary of at least S$4,500 and meet the required qualifications set by the Singapore government. However, based on the latest policy changes announced during Budget 2022, candidates will need to meet a higher salary threshold of S$5,000 from September 2022 onwards (or S$5,500 for those working in the financial sector).
What is the ideal candidate profile for the Employment Pass?
The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is very clear about the guiding eligibility principles for the EP. Only those eligible will be considered. From our experience, there are a few prevailing profiles of candidates who may be ideal for the EP:
- Candidates should have minimally a tertiary education background, and ideally have graduated from reputable universities with accredited qualifications;
- Candidates should be outstanding in their respective fields, for instance having accumulated significant industry experience or are known to be subject matter experts in niche domains;
- Candidates could ideally have internationally accredited qualifications or certifications, for instance ACCA, ACIA, CFA , etc., as may be more important in regulated industries (e.g. finance, accounting);
- Candidates should have a significant quantum of full-time working experience in relevant fields;
- Candidates stand to have better chances at qualifying if they are internationally eminent in their respective fields and could potentially contribute positively to Singapore’s international standing in those areas. This is especially so if the subject field has been highlighted within government policy as a key pillar or thrust in Singapore’s economic development.
Can I still apply for the EP without these attributes or qualifications?
We understand not all candidates may have internationally outstanding qualifications or exemplary track records. Nevertheless, they may still have the qualities to contribute effectively to Singapore’s economic development and have a fair chance at the EP.
If you are less vocationally experienced or have limited formal education, the EP is still a good gateway to enter Singapore if you have the evidence to show that you can effectively contribute to Singapore’s economic development in tangible ways.
How to get started with an Employment Pass application?
All EP applications are evaluated carefully on a case-by-case basis by the MOM, considering a multitude of factors from academic qualifications to the firm’s track record. For us to process an EP application, we will typically request applicants to provide the following documents:
- Updated resume or curriculum vitae with the requisite information, including educational and employment history
- True copies of academic qualifications, certifications and past employment testimonials
- Employing Company’s ACRA Bizfile
Other personal information (e.g. passport data page) would also be required for the administrative processing of your application. When all documents are received and processed, it would take MOM around 3 weeks (or longer, depending on complexity) to process your application.
Generally, for successful applicants, MOM will issue an In-Principle Approval (IPA) of your EP. At this juncture, we can make arrangements for you to collect your EP from the Work Pass Division of MOM. Please note that the IPA is only valid for six months from the date of notification of approval.
What to do if your EP application is unsuccessful for the first submission?
Not all EP applications go through successfully on the first round and this may be due to various reasons, such as the lack of supportive documents or insufficient justifications. This is where our expertise lies. We will rigorously investigate and evaluate the reasons for this negative outcome . With this, we can provide a robust appeal to address the shortcomings of the first application. We will then strategize an appeal to help you achieve a successful outcome within the shortest amount of time. Generally, this may take around three weeks.
What is the new Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS)?
From September 2023, the Singapore government will roll out a new points-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS). Although this new framework will not be implemented until late-2023, it offers a good perspective to how the MOM assesses candidates’ EP application. This also guides how we advise candidates and position their applications for the best chance of success.
In gist, COMPASS evaluates candidates on four foundational criteria:
- Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age
- Candidates’ academic qualifications
- Share of candidates’ nationality among firm’s PMETs
- Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector
Bonus criteria include whether the candidates’ skills are inside the Shortage Occupation List and whether the firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation or internationalisation activities.
If the EP scheme is something you are considering, do not hesitate to contact our consultants to understand the application process in-depth. We will be able to guide you in your application, from start to finish.