A foreign national who wishes to work in another country needs to have a valid work permit or visa. In Singapore, there are several types of Work Passes depending primarily on the type of work the employee fulfills.
If your business is based in Singapore, you must ensure that your foreign employees hold the right type of pass. One example of a Work Pass is an Employment Pass (EP). Here are the key facts about Employment Pass, including eligibility, requirements, and application process.
What Is An Employment Pass?
Employment Pass is one type of renewable Work Pass granted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore. It is specifically for foreign professionals, managers, and executives who earn at least $5,000 monthly and have passed the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).
For first-time candidates, EP is only valid for up to 2 years. For renewal, it can be valid for up to 3 years. For experienced tech professionals whose work fills up skills shortage, the validity may be for up to 5 years.
Who Applies For An Employment Pass?
The employer or appointed employment agent needs to apply for an Employment Pass in-behalf of the candidate. They can apply for it online.
EP Application Eligibility: Who Is It For?
Foreign professionals, managers, and executives need to pass a two-stage framework for them to be eligible for an Employment Pass in Singapore.
Stage 1: Salary Requirement
For all sectors, except for the finance sector, the salary requirement is $5,000 monthly. This requirement increases progressively with age - up to $10,500 at age 45 and up.
For the finance sector, the salary requirement is a bit higher: $5,500 monthly. This requirement increases progressively with age as well - up to $11,500 at age 45 and up.
If the candidate doesn't satisfy the salary requirement, he or she wouldn't be eligible for the E Pass, regardless of how well they scored in COMPASS.
Stage 2: Passing COMPASS
COMPASS, which stands for Complementary Assessment Framework, is a point-based system where an applicant needs to score at least 40 points to be eligible for an Employment Pass. There are 4 Foundational Criteria: Salary and Qualifications for individual attributes and Diversity and Support for Local Employment for firm-related attributes.
There are also bonus attributes for Skills (particularly for jobs where skills shortages exist) and Strategic Economic Priorities involving partnerships with the government.
An employee may be exempt from COMPASS if they:
- Have a fixed monthly salary of $22,500
- Are applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee
- Are carrying out the role for only 1 month or less
EP Application Requirements: What Documents Are Needed?
To apply for an Employment Pass, the following documents must be uploaded:
- Candidate’s passport, specifically the page showing their personal particulars. Note that if the name on the passport differs from the candidate’s other documents, an explanation letter together with supporting documents should be attached.
- The company’s latest business profile OR their instant information registered in Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
Non-English documents should be submitted together with a translated document as 1 file. The translation can be accomplished by a translation service provider.
For healthcare professionals, lawyers, football players, and coaches, supporting documents from the respective professional bodies should also be presented. For example, nurses need to present a supporting document from the Singapore Nursing Board.
For employees in food establishments, a copy of the online page accessible when the QR code provided by the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) is scanned, should be submitted. The online page must show the food shop's license validity period. Newly opened food shops that do not have their license yet can submit the "Application for Foodshop Licence '' letter issued by SFA.
Verification Proof Requirements For Documents
With the implementation of COMPASS, all E Pass applications from September 1, 2023, need new Verification Proof Requirements. The same is required for renewals for EPs expiring from September 1, 2024. This is to ensure that the candidate's qualifications are authentic and truly awarded by accredited institutions.
In the portal where you apply for an Employment Pass, there’s a drop-down list of awarding institutions. Depending on whether or not the awarding institution is in the list, you may need to provide the authenticity check OR the authenticity check and accreditation check.
- Authenticity verifies that the candidate was awarded the qualification
- Accreditation verifies that the qualification is recognized by the local government authority.
If The Institution Is Found In The List
Then, as verification proof, you need to provide the authenticity of the qualification. The acceptable sources for this are:
- Background screening companies
- Government/awarding institution's verification portal
- OpenCerts Portal
If The Institution Is NOT Found In The List
Then, as verification proof, you need to provide BOTH the authenticity of the qualifications and accreditation status of the institution. In this case, the only acceptable source of verification proof is from a background screening company.
For education qualification, the following are NOT acceptable as verification proof:
- School Letter
- Education certificates and documents certified by a notary public
How To Apply For EP: An Overview of Steps
Before you can apply for an Employment Pass, you must first consider all applicants fairly. The first step here is to advertise your job on MyCareersFuture. After this, you must follow the Fair Consideration Framework, which helps prevent discrimination, reminding employers not to hire based on non-job related characteristics, such as nationality, age, and sex.
Once you’re ready to hire your talent, you - or an appointed employment agent - can apply for an Employment Pass online. In most cases, this process can take up to 10 business days. General steps include:
- Getting the candidate's consent to apply for E Pass
- Obtaining the candidate's form with the required information
- Submitting the application and uploading the required documents
- Paying the fee ($105)
Once approved, you can print the in-principle approval (IPA) letter and send it to the candidate. This gives them a single-entry visa to Singapore for 6 months as they wait for the pass to be issued.
Education and Institution Accreditation Checks by Veremark
Veremark is accredited by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore to conduct background checks, including education verification, to help ensure that candidates’ qualifications are authentic.
In particular, our MOM Education Verification Package can provide the verification proof required during the Employment Pass application process.
Our Education Checks can verify details such as:
- Enrollment dates
- Degree or diploma conferred
- Graduation date
We can also conduct Institution Accreditation Checks to determine if the awarding institution is genuine and a recognized provider of the degree program. This is especially crucial since the falsification of documents has been a growing problem in Singapore.
Veremark can run multiple checks and combine relevant information so you can better weigh them against each other, helping you choose the best talent. This means you can streamline not only the Employment Pass application for your candidates but also your hiring process as a whole.
Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.