The S Pass is a conduit scheme for companies to hire technical staff to work in Singapore. This is designed for mid-level skilled foreign workers and is based on a rigorous points-based system that considers main attributes: salary, education qualifications, skills, job type, and work experience.
For companies who need to hire foreign technical labour, the S Pass is the correct scheme. Our consultants are able to guide and assist your company to hire foreign technical staff through the S Pass scheme, especially for companies newly-registered in Singapore. Similar to recent policy changes in the various work schemes, the minimum qualifying salary for the S Pass will also be undergoing a significant change from September 2022, from the current S$2,500 to S$3,000. For technical staff being hired into the financial services sector, this salary threshold will be raised to S$3,500 .
Generally, under MOM’s quota requirement, the number of S Pass holders your company can employ is capped at 10% of your total workforce. If your company belongs to the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard and processing industries, then the S Pass quota is higher at 18% of total workforce. If you are unclear on the quota requirements, do not hesitate to contact us for clarifications.
What is the current eligibility criteria for S Pass applications?
Notwithstanding the policy changes that will kick in from September 2022, companies looking to hire foreign technical staff through the S Pass scheme in the near-term should be mindful of the current eligibility criteria. Currently, candidate being considered under the S Pass scheme should:
- Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,500. This salary should also reflect work experience, for instance, older applicants with more working experience would require higher salaries to qualify.
- Hold a degree or diploma-equivalent qualification. Although MOM does consider technical certificates, they should be properly accredited and have relevance to the particular technical trade or specialism. The subject certification should also require at least one-year of full time study in order to qualify as a substitute for degree/ diploma.
- Demonstrate to have relevant work experience to the particular trade or sector they are being hired into.
How to begin applying for S Pass?
Typically the Employer or Appointed Licensed Employment Agent (EA) applies on the applicant’s behalf. The S Pass is not transferable between employers, hence if an existing S Pass holder wishes to change employers, the new employer would have to restart the S Pass application.
A prerequisite to starting the S Pass application is for companies to advertise their job opening on MyCareersFuture so as to demonstrate that the company has considered all local applicants fairly. If this is unfamiliar, our consultants can guide companies through this step as this is mandatory for successful S Pass applications.
For companies that have confirmed their intent to apply for S Passes and have already advertised the job opening on MyCareersFuture, they will need to submit the relevant documents on behalf of the applicant. These include the applicants’ personal identification (e.g. passport photocopy), the company’s latest profile and the candidates’ educational certificates.
As S Pass applicants tend to come from a wide variety of nationalities, the employer is responsible for ensuring that the candidates’ profiles are genuine, especially their educational qualifications. In this case, employers may need to seek authentication from a global verification agency. This is something that our consultants can guide and advise.
How long does it take for MOM to process an S Pass application?
S Pass applications tend to be reviewed more quickly than other more complicated work visa schemes. Typically, MOM will need about three weeks to review S Pass applications, contingent on all the documents being authenticated and submitted in order. According to MOM, about 85% of applications would be granted a decision within this three-week timeframe. Approved S Pass will then be valid for up to two years under the employer.
What are the additional responsibilities an employer has?
Beyond the application submission which is typically done by the employer or EA, it is also the employer’s responsibility to prepare for the candidate’s arrival by ensuring they comply with the prevailing travel health control measures and are medically insured. Where relevant, the employer will also need to purchase work injury compensation insurance for the applicant. The employer also needs to ensure that the applicant, on arrival to Singapore, presents the In-Principle Approval from MOM and their proof of vaccination status/ exemption. The issuance and collection of the S Pass should also be overseen by the employer or EA.
If your company is hiring technical staff under the S Pass scheme, 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.