There’s loads to take note of if you’re thinking of working in Singapore. For one thing, you’ll need to apply for an employment pass or relevant work pass and understand the qualifications needed for them. Due to COVID-19, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) recently tightened requirements for these. So we asked the team at Pacific Prime to bring us up to speed about work passes in Singapore, including EPs and S Passes, as well as health insurance coverage for those passholders.
Finding a job in Singapore
The Fair Consideration Framework requires employers to first advertise jobs on the MyCareersFuture portal and seriously evaluate Singaporean applications before proceeding to hire overseas ones. With the pandemic’s impact on the local economy, MOM wants to retain and boost local employment. They’ve updated FCF requirements which affect work passes in Singapore; these include:
- Extending mandatory job advertisement to both Employment Pass and S Pass level jobs. This was previously only for Employment Pass ones.
- Extending the minimum duration of a job advertisement from 14 to 28 days.
Applying for work passes in Singapore
There are three main types of work passes in Singapore: a Work Permit (semi-skilled foreign workers from a pre-approved list of countries), an S Pass and an Employment Pass. The majority of skilled expats will need to apply for an S Pass or Employment Pass, along with Dependent Passes, if required.
The S Pass is open to mid-level employees from all nationalities. Other criteria include a relevant diploma, degree or specialised technical certificate plus work experience. Passholders will also need to be on minimum salary of $2,500 per month. The cut-off increases for more experienced and older applicants. Once approved, the pass is valid for up to two years and can be renewed.
For S Pass applications, there are Dependency Ratio Ceilings (DRC). These are percentage quotas for each industry and indicate the number of expats that should comprise the workforce.
The DRC quota for S Pass applications is set to be decreased further:
- Service Sector: From 13% to 10% (from 1 January 2021).
- Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process Sector: From 20% to 18%, (from 1 January 2021) and 18% to 15% (from 1 January 2023).
Employers must also pay a monthly levy for S Pass holders. Depending on the tier, it’ll cost them either $330 or $650 per month. If the S Pass holder hasn’t worked a full calendar month, the levy will be calculated based on a separate daily rate.
The Employment Pass (EP) is applicable for highly-paid employees from all nationalities who work in managerial, executive or specialised roles. They must have a good university degree, professional qualifications or specialist skills.
They’ll need a minimum monthly salary of $4,500, with the value nearly doubling for older individuals with more experience. Those in the financial sector have to earn a minimum of $5,000 monthly.
An EP is valid for two years and can be renewed every three years. Those who are renewing passes will need to meet the new salary criteria from 1 May 2021.
Both S Pass holders and Employment Pass holders can apply for a Dependent Pass for their legal spouse and children (under 21 and unmarried). The main applicant needs to earn at least a fixed salary of $6,000 a month. It’s open to all nationalities, though some require additional documents when applying.
For more information and the latest details on work passes in Singapore, head to the MOM website.
How about health insurance?
Health insurance is compulsory for S Pass holders, but optional for Employment Pass holders. Healthcare costs in Singapore are high and expats don’t have access to public healthcare subsidies so it’s good to have a comprehensive plan.
If you’re on the hunt for expat health insurance or short-term health insurance in Singapore, consult a health insurance broker like Pacific Prime Singapore. Their team of advisors can help you compare health insurance plans and select the right one for you. Contact them now.
Read on for more about living in Singapore.