The Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a specialised scheme tailored for high-earning Employment Pass (EP) holders and overseas foreign professionals. In a word, PEPs are more prestigious and offer greater flexibility than the conventional EP. PEP holders also do not require sponsorship from an employer in Singapore, allowing professionals to more seamlessly transit between employers. Unlike the Employment Pass, PEP holders can generally hold any job in any sector and could stay in Singapore for a continuous period of up to 6 months while unemployed and searching for a new job. The PEP is valid for three years.
As expected, the PEP application is more stringent than the conventional EP and is subject to more rigorous review and approval from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
What are the key eligibility criteria of the PEP?
The eligibility criteria for the various work pass schemes are subject to review and change. However, the PEP is generally expected to be one of the most stringent, given the amount of flexibility offered to PEP holders. Today, candidates looking to apply for a PEP are subject to these requirements:
- You should be an overseas-based foreign professional and your last drawn fixed monthly salary (within the past 6 months from date of application) should be at least S$18,000;
- Alternatively, if you are an existing EP holder, you should be drawing a fixed monthly salary of at least S$12,000.
Notwithstanding these salary-based criteria, there are certain candidate profiles that are generally excluded from the PEP scheme. Interested candidates should be mindful of these exclusion criteria before applying:
- EP holders under the sponsorship scheme;
- Existing freelancers working in Singapore (i.e. self-employed), or those who intend to work in Singapore on a freelance-basis;
- Sole proprietors, partners or directors who are shareholders in an ACRA-registered company;
- Journalists, editors, sub-editors or producers.
For candidates who are interested in starting a company/ business in Singapore – or conduct any form of entrepreneurial activity – the PEP scheme is also not recommended. In this situation, the EntrePass may be a more suitable scheme for entry into Singapore.
How to get started with the PEP application?
Similar to the conventional EP, there are specific documents which are required for the MOM to process and review your application. Some of these documents include:
- Academic certification;
- Existing and former employment contracts;
- Employment history (e.g. resume, curriculum vitae);
- Latest 3 months salary slips and relevant bank account statements;
- Latest tax statements.
Be mindful that these documents should reflect that you meet the minimum eligibility criteria for the PEP scheme. For candidates looking to also bring in their family members into Singapore, they could do so through the Dependent’s Pass or Long Term Visit Pass. Should candidates require this, additional documents/ information such as their personal details would be required during submission.
How long does it take for the MOM to process a PEP application?
Generally, MOM will require about eight weeks to process a PEP application, if all documents required are submitted in proper fashion. Upon approval, the MOM will then issue an In-Principle Approval (IPA) that is valid for six months. Our consultants can advise and guide on the next steps, from submission through approval.
What to do if your PEP application is unsuccessful for the first submission?
Not all PEP applications go through successfully on the first round, particularly because of the complexity and stringency of the application process, compared to the conventional EP. Often this could be due to various reasons, such as the lack of supportive documents or insufficient justifications. 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.
Could PEP holders then apply for Permanent Residency?
An additional benefit for PEP holders is their consideration for Singapore Permanent Residency (PR). If you are looking to reside in Singapore on a permanent basis, then PEP holders could apply for PR through the Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme (PTS). Our consultants are also able to advise on this. As a rule of thumb, candidates should wait for at least six months of working and living in Singapore before applying through the PTS scheme. This is so that candidates can furnish the required proof of 6 months of salary based in Singapore.
If the PEP 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.