5 Guidelines for Hiring in Singapore

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So, you’re a business owner or company, and you’ve finished doing your due diligence and have legally registered your company in Singapore. What’s next? 

It’s time to put together your hiring process - finding, vetting, and engaging the people who will become your team and lead your business towards success and growth. 

Because your business is in Singapore, let us look into the following five important points that you must know as you begin hiring for your business: 

#1: Knowing SG’s Labour and Employment Laws

The hiring process is not as straightforward as some people may assume. There are many possible business risks involved in hiring. To steer clear of such risks, the first step is to become well versed in the laws that govern all employees in Singapore.

The Employment Act

In Singapore, all workers are protected by the Employment Act. This law is enforced by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM). It lays out the terms and conditions that govern employees of all kinds in the country. Key topics that it touches upon include:

  • Legal working hours
  • Payments and salaries for various roles or types of work
  • Rest days, holidays, leaves, and other conditions of work
  • Employee records and documentary requirements

Learn more about the employment act here

The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act

Foreign workers who are hired to work in Singapore are covered by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA), which is also governed by the Singapore MOM.

The EFMA outlines responsibilities relating to:

  • Work passes or permits, including application, levies, cancellation, and repatriation (more on this in the next section)
  • Requirements that apply to foreign employees, including:some text
    • Legal working hours
    • Payments and salaries for various roles or types of work
    • Rest days, holidays, leaves, and other conditions of work
    • EFMA offences and penalties

For more details about the EFMA, read on here

#2: Applying for Work Passes & Permits

If your company is hiring non-Singaporean workers, you will become responsible for applying for and securing a work pass or permit for your foreign employees. This document is the equivalent of an employment visa - the legal document that allows them to legally work in Singapore. 

What is the difference between the two?

  • Work Pass - Applies to skilled workers who meet a particular minimum salary, as well as higher-tier workers such as managers, executives, and professionals. 

There are further sub-categories of work passes. The Employment Pass (E Pass or EP) is the type of work pass that is required for manager-level hires and above. 

Another common type of work pass that employers apply for is the S Pass. This is usually secured for foreign skilled workers who meet certain eligibility criteria.

  • Work permit - Applies to skilled and semi-skilled workers. Work Permits allow foreign workers from a pre-approved list of countries to work in certain industries in Singapore, including: construction, manufacturing, services, processing, and shipping.

For businesses that want to hire and employ foreign workers through an Employment Pass in particular, they must be aware that there are strict rules governing applications for EPs. EP applications require that the applicants’ educational background and credentials be further verified by MOM-accredited verification services such as Veremark. 


#3: Designing your hiring process

Once you are well versed in the employment laws and are prepared to apply for your future employees’ work passes, you can begin your actual hiring. 

The hiring process, which is generally seen as part of your overall recruitment funnel, typically involves: 

  1. Writing the job description/s 

An effective hiring process starts with a well-written, comprehensive job description for all your open roles. Together with the required skills and credentials, don’t forget to specify the duties and responsibilities of the position. 

  1. Securing multiple recruitment sources

If you’re advertising your job openings in Singapore or in fact other countries, you can post or promote them on online and offline job boards, social media, and via recruitment firms. Combining potential sources of leads and applicants will help you reach more diverse yet high quality talents.

  1. Interviewing candidates

Next, of course, you will start speaking to your applicants to evaluate their fit for your company. It is crucial to establish a systematic interview procedure with precise and impartial standards for judging applicants. Be clear about what makes a candidate a good fit for each role, versus details that may deter or disqualify them from it, and make sure to implement these guidelines consistently across candidates and roles.

  1. Conducting background checks 

Apart from interviews and documentary requirements, including background checks in your hiring process is highly beneficial. While this may seem like an optional portion of hiring, as it will add more time to the overall process, it actually helps increase the security and fairness of your hiring system in significant ways. Read more on this in the next section below. 

  1. Making offers and onboarding new employees

After an individual has been selected from among your pool of candidates for a role and has accepted your offer, the next step is for them to undergo an engaging and encouraging onboarding procedure. This will help your new worker hit the ground running. Learn more about designing a successful onboarding process here. 

Planning carefully and paying attention to details are essential for a successful recruiting process in Singapore. Employers may recruit and maintain high-quality talent, reduce hiring risks, and guarantee the long-term success of their company by taking the time to design their hiring process intentionally.

#4: Conducting Background Checks & Verification

What can you do to increase your chances of getting the best hires for your organisation? 

Integrating standard background checks into your hiring process is a very helpful step towards greater security and quality assurance in hiring, and in business for the long-term. 

Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Background checks help you as the employer verify the accuracy of information provided by job candidates, ensuring they possess the qualifications and experience necessary for the role. 
  • Background checks can reveal any criminal records, adverse financial history, or other important details about a candidate that may pose risks to your company and other employees. 
  • In industries such as finance or childcare, where trust and integrity are paramount, background checks help mitigate potential legal and reputational risks by ensuring the suitability and trustworthiness of employees. 

There are of course many different  types of background checks, from academic history and employment history checks, to criminal checks, credit checks, and even social media checks. Determine which checks will increase your confidence in your applicants, and implement them consistently for all applicants in all roles to ensure fairness.

Learn more about the most common background checks in Singapore here.

#5: Increasing Hiring Efficiency

Some businesses can go on for years without ever optimizing their hiring process. This could be costing them a lot of time, effort, and money. In hiring, as in any other business process, companies must strive to continuously assess and improve their process for speed and their desired output. This is especially true in highly competitive markets like Singapore where the standard for employee experience is among the best in the world, giving job seekers many options to choose from.

Key steps in increasing your hiring process efficiency include: 

  1. Engaging recruitment agencies and specialists for key tasks

Consider whether partnering with specialist third parties, who are experts in Singapore labour laws and business processes, can help fill gaps that your company may be struggling with.

For hiring and sourcing leads for example, you can engage Singapore recruitment agencies who are already connected with local schools and companies, and have access to job boards and other candidate sources. They can search for and filter thousands of potential candidates based on your criteria, so that only most fitting candidates will make it to the interview stage.

For pre-employment background checks, established background verification specialists like Veremark can significantly reduce the amount of time and effort it takes to carry out and report on background checks. Each of your candidates will usually have more than just 1 type of background check done, and if done manually or by individuals who are unfamiliar with local legislation and requirements, this process can become protracted unnecessarily and even pose legal risks for your company.

  1. Leveraging technology to automate processes

Consider adding automations to your recruitment funnel.

Leveraging technology resources such as software programs or digital services help to reduce the amount of manual tasks that your HR department must carry out, and subsequently, the follow-ups to perform and paperwork to file.

Your background screening process, for example, can easily take weeks for each candidate. In this time frame, you risk losing quality candidates just because the background checking process is taking long, and candidates may be receiving competitive offers from other companies. An option is to partner with a specialist team like Veremark who can provide APIs for automated, real-time notifications about candidate background checks on accessible, mobile-first digital platforms. 

Bonus: Staying compliant

Last and most important of all, remember that the hiring process is only the beginning. New hires must then undergo onboarding, and then proceed with day-to-day work in accordance with their individual growth plans in your company. 

At this point, it is important to remain compliant with labour laws, including tax filings and obligations payments for both your company, as well as your employees. 

Consider as well that your background screening process may merit annual rescreenings

Stay compliant and up-to-date with the local government’s business and employment requirements not only during the hiring process, but throughout your entire employee life cycle.



The guidelines above will help shape your hiring process into a well-thought out system that will benefit your company for years to come, as well as give your applicants the best candidate experience

For all your background screening and pre-hire verification needs, browse Veremark’s wide range of checks. We are not only an expert in employment checks for the Singapore market, but we also utilize an award-winning background screening software that plugs directly into your existing hiring workflows for seamless, efficient, and on-demand reports on all your candidate checks. 

We are also one of a few select Ministry of Manpower-accredited partners for Education Verification checks for your foreign employees’ work pass applications. 

Contact us to learn more.

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How do you Register a Company in Singapore?

A company should be registered via the website of the Singapore Accounting Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Before registering their business, an entrepreneur or business must read, understand, and secure all the business and compliance requirements to ensure their application for registration will be accepted.

How can Veremark help with an Employment Pass application?

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has a strict system in place to ensure the authenticity of the applicant’s qualifications. Veremark is a MOM-accredited background screening agency that can provide the verification proofs - such as education verification and institution accreditation checks, needed to apply for Employment Pass.

What is an S Pass in Singapore?

An S Pass is a work visa granted by the Ministry of Manpower to foreign skilled workers in Singapore. The eligibility criteria include having a job offer and a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,150.


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

The State of Hiring 2024

The relationship between HR and technology has undergone a transformative evolution, becoming increasingly intertwined and symbiotic. While this has in some part been driven by necessity over the past few years, the varying tasks of HR and the many people management-oriented tasks deployed daily means a heavier reliance on digital tools than other areas of an organisation.

After speaking to HR professionals all over the world, we've published a definitive guide to the state of hiring in 2024 - looking at the critical HR function as well as the challenges and innovations to expect over the course of the next twelve months.

Download this guide to:

Gain better insights into the real-world challenges of the industry

Discover sentiments toward new HR technologies

Learn the dos and don'ts when investing in new software

Determine the true cost of an inefficient hiring process

Get your own copy!