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Guide to Singapore Employment Pass (EP)

Singapore is a country in Asia known for its opportunities and planned developments. Singapore has many professionals interested for a visa to stay. Due to this reason, Singapore has many visa types. These depend upon the nature and period of stay, and other criteria. The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a type of visa issued to executives, managers, specialists and directors of Singapore companies. This article provides detailed information about eligibility requirements and other requisites for this pass.

Application And Renewal Process

The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a visa type given especially for working professionals, entrepreneurs, executives and professionals. In short, this type of visa is given to qualified individuals based on their type of work. This employment pass is also known by other names like EP, E Pass and Employment Visa.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is a government body which allows professionals from other countries to work in Singapore. The EP is only given after these professional have been given a job by a Singapore based company. This job cannot be given in advance before the work assignment. The good thing about this pass is that it has no limit, i.e. there is no stipulated number of people who can get this visa. This is great for interested individuals. Richmond has the most number of applicants for Employment Pass and this makes Richmond the most preferred choice by the people and a trusted name for this particular task.

Following Are The Conditions Under Which A Person Can Apply For An E Pass:

  • If you are a foreign entrepreneur and are interested in investing in Singapore.
  • If you are an executive or a managing director of a company in Singapore and wish to relocate to Singapore for the purpose of betterment of your job or company.
  • If you are a local Singapore company and want to hire employees from abroad.
  • If you have an employment opportunity from an employer based in Singapore. In such a case, your employer will do the visa work for you.

Following Are The Requirements And Eligibility Criteria For EP:

All Employment Passes applications are dealt by the MOM. This body assesses all the applications and on a case by case basis. There are a number of factors which are taken into consideration by MOM. These include work experience, education, contribution to the company, job scope and so on. In order to meet the criteria for EP, the candidate must meet the minimum salary requirement and also possess one or more of the following:

  • A recognized Degree or a Diploma.
  • Professional qualifications. If not, the candidate must have educational qualifications.
  • Work experience which is related to the type of job one will be doing in the company.
  • Specialist skills.

In case the candidate does not have the educational qualifications, he must possess other special skills so that his application does not get rejected and still holds a chance to get the pass. These may include any good qualifications which he can present for consideration on which his merits can be judged.

Such factors Include: Applicant job profile, salary, citizenship, work experience and so on. Other factors also include reputation of the employer company, track record of the employer, strategic and in-demand skills, Government highlighted key industry for development, etc. Another important point to note here is that educational qualification does not confirm the approval of the EP.

There are three categories of employment pass: P1, P2 and P3. Following is the description of each type of pass based on the eligibility requirements and desired candidates for that type:

P1: To be eligible for this pass, a candidate must have a fixed monthly salary of at least S$8,000 and possesses acceptable qualifications. This type of pass is given to Managers, CEOs, Directors and experts in particular fields.

P2: This type of pass needs a fixed salary of at least S$4,500 and a candidate must possess required qualifications. P2 pass is given to mid-level Managers or Senior Executives. It is also given to skilled technicians.

Q1: To get this type of visa, candidates must have a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,000. Q1 pass is given to young graduates who possess qualification from recognized universities and have specialized skills. A minimum work experience of 5 years is essential in order to make up for the lack of educational qualification. Recently, there have been some changes in the criteria of the Q1 pass. Here are the changes which will be effective from 1 January 2014:

The qualifying salary for the Q1 pass is going to be at least  S$3,300 from the earlier S$3,000. This is only applicable for young graduates. Older applicants will have to show a higher salary that will commensurate with the work experience and quality they are expected to bring. Along with these rules, educational qualifications will also be tightened.

Application Procedure And Timeline Of The Employment Pass

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) handles all the EP applications. The application can be made to them manually or online. The processing of online applications is carried out at a very rapid pace and almost 80% of applications are processed in the time span of 7 working days. This also requires submission of the essential related documents. Online application is recommended for those applicants who have received tertiary education from reputable universities. It is also a good choice for people who have ample years of work experience or have achieved a high level of certification in their field like MBA, ACCA, CFA etc.

Manual applications are advisable for those applicants who have other documents submitted which will help them in strengthening their case. These documents will help in proving their merits. This route may take a while and may extend up to five weeks. The waiting time may be even more during peak periods. Due to the enormity of the applications, this process may take longer.

Young and inexperienced individuals who have good credentials should opt for manual application of the EP. Individuals with less educational qualifications but promising qualities to do well, people from under developed countries who have an urge to work and have testimonies and other ways to show their merits should also apply manually.

Where To Find Help Regarding The EP Application?

Richmond is a place where one can find proper assistance regarding various issues of application and processing of EP applications. You can call Richmond for assessment of your application and to get information regarding the same. One can also get help to make a strong case and increase your chances of getting selected for the EP. Here, you can get advice from specialists in this field and benefit from their experience in this field.

Documents Required For The Singapore Employment Pass Application Form:

  • Resume or CV of the applicant stating his/her educational qualifications in detail. It should also reflect details of work experience, if any.
  • Copies of educational certificates and past employment testimonials.
  • A copy of the personal particulars page of your passport.
  • All the documents must be in English. The ones which are not, should be officially translated into English.

EP Submission Timeline

Richmond submits all your documents to the MOM electronically. This helps in getting to know your outcome sooner. It takes about 1 to 15 days for MOM to process your application. The arrangements for the collection of the EP are made once you receive the In-principle Approval notification. It is not essential to be present in Singapore while the application is filed. This makes it easy for Richmond to file on your behalf.

EP Approval and Collection

Once your application is processed and approved, you will receive approval letter from the MOM. This is the In-Principal Approval letter (IPA). and must be produced during the collection of the EP at the work division of MOM. The validity of the IPA letter is 6 months from the date of notification and approval. The following documents are required for the collection of your EP:

  • A copy of the IPA letter.
  • Recent passport sized photograph.
  • Original passport with the entry embarkation cards.
  • Medical Examination Report (if the In-Principle Approval states that you need one).
  • Any other documents that are requested in the approval letter.

You can do a medical examination in your own country or in Singapore. Most clinics in Singapore give the medical examination report in one day.

Entry Visa into Singapore

If you are an overseas resident, your IPA letter will contain a single journey entry visa. When you come to Singapore, Richmond will assist to arrange for an appointment with the MOM for finger printing. After completing this procedure, your pass will be ready in four working days. You can collect the pass yourself or authorize someone to collect it on your behalf.

Following are the variations in the validity of the EP:

  • First-time applicants – Up to 2 years
  • EP renewals – Up to 3 years

Rejection Of EP Application

If your EP application gets rejected by the MOM, you need to investigate why the application was not approved. Depending on the reasons given by MOM, you need to submit an appeal that will address the issues outlined by MOM and may include additional documents as requested by the authority. It will take about 3 weeks or more for MOM to review your appeal depending on the complexity of the case.

The eligibility necessities for the application of EP have become more demanding. Unless you have the necessary time and knowledge, it is recommended that you engage Richmond to help you with the application.

Changing Employers

EP holders are required to apply for a new pass whenever they change employers. MOM evaluates new pass applications on the basis of the applicants qualifications, type of job, work experience and other criteria. A new pass will be issued as soon as the old one is cancelled.

Renewal Of EP

The MOM will mail for renewal of EP two months before the expiration of the pass. Here are some important notices for EP holders whose passes are about to expire:

Before 1 January 2014: MOM will grant a one-off renewal based on existing criteria.

Between 1 January – 30 June 2014: Receive a one-off renewal of up to 1 year on the existing criteria.

After 30 June 2014: Existing EP holders must meet the new criteria.

Dependant Pass Information

All Employment Pass holders can apply for a Dependent Pass for family members. For each family member, there must be an application for Dependant Pass which can be submitted along with the EP application or separately. S Pass and Employment pass holders who earn more than S$4,000 can apply for a Dependent Pass for their spouse, and children who are unmarried and below 21. Your spouse is allowed to work if you are an EP holder. However, your employer is required to obtain a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the MOM.

One can also apply for a Long Term Visit Pass for the family. People eligible for this type are: common law spouse, unmarried daughters and/or handicapped children above 21 years old, step children under 21 years of age parents and parents-in-laws. Holders of P1 and P2 type of EP are allowed for Long Term and Dependent Pass for family while that of Q1 is only eligible for Dependent Pass.

Options Available Post EP Availability

Once you get the Employment Pass, you can opt for permanent residence. Professional Technical Skilled Workers scheme (PTS) allows Q, P1 and P2 pass holders to be eligible for Singapore Permanent residence. It is advisable for P Pass holders to wait for a period of six months prior to the application. Q1 holders must wait for two years before applying for the same.

Personalized EP:

There is a new type of Employment Pass introduced recently by the Singapore Government for those who meet the specific criteria. This type of pass is known as Personalized Employment Pass (PEP). and is not tied to any employer. You can refer to the Singapore Personalized Employment Pass page for more information on this topic.

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