Visa and Employment Permits

The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) issues a wide range of employment permits to expatriates planning to work in Singapore. Each employment permit differs across various categories of employees and is based on their professional skills and monthly salaries.

Applicants should note that most work permits are applied through the employer or an employment agent, via the MoM’s online platform. Therefore, it is mandatory for skilled professionals to first obtain a job offer in the country before applying.

Immigration law

 The Singapore Immigration Act 1959 governs immigration.

Work visas in Singapore are issued by the Ministry of Manpower, while the other types of visas are issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

The Complementarity Assessment Framework

Singapore introduced a new points system for EP applicants from September 1, 2023, called the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), in addition to higher qualifying salary thresholds.

EP applicants must score at least 40 points under the COMPASS system, awarded based on four attributes and two bonus criteria.

COMPASS will come into effect for new applicants from September 2023 and for renewal applicants from September 2024.

How COMPASS works

The COMPASS framework evaluates EP applications on individual and firm-related attributes. These are based on four foundational criteria where the applicant earns points on whether they meet or exceed expectations.

Singapore COMPASS Point System

Points for each foundational criterion           



Exceeds expectations


Meets expectations


Does not meet expectations

Applicants can also earn additional points on two bonus criteria – one for candidates in jobs where there is a skills shortage, and second, for firms that engage in innovation and internationalization activities.

40 points are required to pass COMPASS.

COMPASS scoring

The scoring system is highlighted in the following table:

New Employment Pass Scoring System in Singapore


Individual attributes


Firm related attributes


Foundational Criteria

C1. Salary


C3. Diversity


Fixed monthly salary compared to local PMET salaries in sector by age


Share of candidate’s nationality among firm’s PMETs


≥ 90th percentile


< 5%


65th to 90th percentile


5 to 25%


< 65th percentile


≥ 25%


C2. Qualifications


C4. Support for local employment


Awarded for recognized qualifications


Firm’s share of local PMETs within its subsector


Top-tier institution


≥ 50th percentile


Degree-equivalent qualification


20th to 50th percentile


No degree-equivalent qualification


< 20th percentile


Bonus criteria

Skills bonus


Strategic economic priorities bonus


Job on the Shortage Occupation List


Firm meets specific assessment criteria on innovation or internationalization activities


Source: Singapore Ministry of Manpower

PMET: Professionals, managers, executives, and technicians.

The skills bonus is reduced to +10 if the share of the candidate’s nationality is one-third or higher among the firm’s PMETs.

Small firms with fewer than 25 PMET employees score 10 points on C3 and C4 by default.

Who is exempted from COMPASS?

The candidate is exempted from COMPASS if they fulfill the following conditions:

  • Earning a fixed salary of at least S$20,000 (US$14,667) per month;
  • Filling a role on a short-term basis, one month or less; or
  • Applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee under the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement or a free trade agreement to Singapore is a party.

Employment Pass

The Employment Pass is issued to expatriates employed as foreign managers, executives, and skilled professionals in Singapore. First-time candidates can obtain an EP for an initial two years which can then be renewed for up to three years at a time.

Applicants must pass a “two-stage eligibility framework” to qualify for an EP:

  • Meeting a minimum salary threshold;
    • Foreign applicants must earn a minimum salary of S$5,000. This threshold increases progressively with age, from S$5,000 (US$3,717) for applicants aged 23 to S$10,500 (US$7,807) for applicants aged 45 and up.
    • Foreign applicants in the financial services sector must receive a qualifying salary of at least S$5,500 (US$4,064). This also increases progressively with age, from S$5,500 (US$4,089) at 23 and S$11,500 (US$8,550) at age 45 and up.
  • Passing the point-based Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).


Navigating Singapore's Talent Landscape- Essential Insights for Successful Hiring

This video is unavailable in your region. Please enable VPN to view

Candidates who are offered a monthly salary of S$6,000 (US$4,425) or more, are eligible to apply for a dependent’s pass for their legally married spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age to join them in Singapore.

For applicants looking to bring their parents, common-law spouses, or stepchildren must apply for the Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP), the requirements are the same as for the dependent’s pass. However, only those with a fixed monthly salary of at least S$12,000 (US$8,850) can bring their parents into the country. There is no foreign worker levy or quota for this specific work permit.

The processing time for EP applications is up to five weeks, and, if submitted online, the application may be processed in as little as three weeks. However, it may take longer in certain cases and is always subject to approval by the MoM.

The 5-year Employment Pass

The government offers a new five-year EP to experienced professionals filling tech occupations as listed on the COMPASS Shortage Occupation List. The duration is longer than the average EP of between two to three years.

Documents for EP application

Employers need to submit the following documents for the EP application:

  • Personal information of the applicant’s passport;
  • Company’s latest business profile or information registered with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA); and
  • Details of the applicant’s academic certificates. Applicants from India and China are required to produce additional documents.

Additional documents for Indian and Chinese nationals:

  • Indian applicants – transcripts and mark sheets.
  • Chinese applicants – certificate of graduation and verification proof in English from sources recommended by the MoM.

Further, documents in languages other than English must be submitted along with a translated copy of each. The MoM may ask for more documents to be submitted at the time of processing the application.

Personalized Employment Pass

The Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) is designed for high-earning EP holders and overseas foreign professionals.

The fixed monthly salary criteria for both existing PEP holders and new PEP holders is S$22,500 (US$15,645). Candidates can apply for a PEP themselves. The application takes around eight weeks to process.

However, the PEP can only be issued once for three years. Thereafter, applicants will need to either apply for an EP or S Pass to continue their employment in Singapore. In addition, PEP holders cannot be unemployed for more than six months and must continue to earn a minimum salary of S$270,000 (US$200,740) per calendar year in order to keep holding the pass for the full duration.

The minimum salary required to obtain a PEP was S$12,000 (US$8,922) per month for existing EP holders and S$18,000 (US$13,383) per month for overseas foreign professionals, PEP holders that obtained the pass prior to this date are permitted to earn S$144,000 (US$107,061) per calendar year to keep holding the pass for the full duration.

There is also no foreign worker levy or quota for this type of work permit, and PEP holders can apply for a dependent’s pass for their legally married spouse and children under the age of 21 and LTVPs for a common-law spouse, unmarried disabled children above the age of 21, unmarried stepchildren under the age of 21, and parents.

Documents for PEP application

Applicants need to submit the following documents for the PEP application:

  • A saved copy of the completed application form;
  • A screenshot of the banking page and a copy of the travel document;
  • Travel document information page;
  • Educational certificates;
  • Employment contracts for new and previous employment (if any);
  • Employment history, including company name, occupation, fixed monthly salary in S$, country, and period of employment (if not currently an EP holder);
  • Latest tax statement; and
  • Payslips and bank account statements for the past 3 months.

The following categories are not eligible for a PEP:

  • An EP holder under a sponsorship scheme;
  • Journalists, editors, sub-editors or producers;
  • Freelancers; and
  • A sole proprietor, partner, or where a director is also a shareholder in an ACRA-registered company.

Entrepreneur Pass

The Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is for foreign business professionals and entrepreneurs who wish to start their own businesses in Singapore.

The initial EntrePass is valid for one year, with another two years granted for every subsequent renewal. Business owners must, however, meet the renewal criteria set by the MoM, which includes aspects such as a minimum number of hired local employees as well as a minimum amount of annual business spending. The full list can be found on the MoM website.

As per the eligibility criteria stated by the MoM, the applicant’s company must have either:

  • Funding from an accredited source;
  • Hold intellectual property (IP) registered with a recognized national IP institution;
  • Research collaboration with a recognized institution; or
  • Be an incubator at a Singapore government-supported incubator or accelerator.

According to the MoM, businesses such as coffee shops, hawker centers, food courts, bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges, massage parlors, and employment agencies are not eligible under the EntrePass scheme.

There is no foreign worker quota or levy for EntrePasses.

EntrePass holders whose annual business spending and local employment meet minimum eligibility requirements can apply for dependents passes and LTVPs for certain family members.

Documents for EntrePass application

Applicants must submit the following documents for the EntrePass application:

  • Copy of the personal information page of the applicant’s passport;
  • Past employment testimonials in English; and
  • A business plan in English.

For businesses registered with the ACRA:

  • Company’s latest business profile.

Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass

The Overseas Network & Expertise Pass allows high-earners and achievers to live in Singapore without the need to secure employment first. 

Qualifying salary

Applicants for the Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass need to earn at least S$30,000 (US$22,304) per month for 12 consecutive months, and continue to earn this amount under an established company in Singapore. Overseas candidates must also have been working for an established company overseas for at least one year at the time of application.

However, individuals with outstanding achievements in the fields of research and academia, science and technology, sports, and arts and culture, can also qualify even if they do not meet the qualifying salary.

Duration and work criteria

The Overseas Networks & Expertise Pass allows the holder to concurrently work, start, and operate multiple companies in Singapore at any one time. Moreover, their spouse will also be able to work through a Letter of Consent with the MOM.

Applicants with no recent history of working in Singapore will need to prove that they have worked or will be working for a company with a market capitalization of at least US$500 million or with an annual revenue of at least US$200 million.

Not subject to the Fair Consideration Framework requirement

The pass holder will also not be subject to the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirement in addition to the upcoming COMPASS. Under the FCF, employers who want to submit EP applications must first advertise the job position on to promote labor market transparency and fair employment practices.

S pass

The S Pass is similar to EP except that it is designed for mid-level skilled employees with a job offer that includes a minimum monthly salary of S$2,500 (US$1,844) or more. This minimum threshold is S$3,000 (US$2,212) from September 1, 2022 onward, will increase to S$3,150 (US$2,323) from September 1, 2023 onward, and to S$3,300 (US$2,434) from September 1, 2024 onward.

S Passes are valid for up to two years and can be renewed for up to three years at a time. S Pass holders who earn a monthly salary of S$6,000 (US$4,425) or more are eligible to ask their employer to apply for a dependent’s pass on their family’s behalf.

The number of S Pass holders that Singaporean businesses can employ is capped at 10 percent of the entire workforce for the services sector, and 18 percent for construction, process, and marine shipyard sectors.

Did You Know
The maximum quota for S Pass holders in the manufacturing sector was lowered to 18 percent from January 2022 and will be lowered further to 15 percent from 2023. The maximum quota for construction, process, and marine shipyard sectors is reduced to 15 percent. No change has been announced for the quota in the services industry.

Employers are also required to pay a foreign worker levy (FWL) for each of their S Pass employees. The FWL price is adjusted regularly and updated on the MoM website.

Documents for S Pass application

Documents required for the S Pass are as below:

  • Personal information of the applicant’s passport;
  • Company’s latest business profile or information registered with Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA); and
  • Details of the applicant’s academic certificates. Applicants from India and China are required to produce additional documents.

Additional documents for Indian and Chinese nationals:

  • Indian applicants – transcripts and mark sheets.
  • Chinese applicants – certificate of graduation and verification proof in English from sources recommended by the MoM.


Singapore has issued a new work permit named Tech.Pass, is aimed at attracting highly accomplished technology entrepreneurs, experts, and business leaders.

The Tech.Pass program is an extension of the Tech@SG program, which assists fast-growing companies access critical talent to scale their business in Singapore and the region.

Unlike the Employment Pass, the Tech.Pass scheme does not require the sponsorship of a local employer, giving the professional greater flexibility in their activities, such as being an employer, investor, starting a business, or becoming a director or consulting in one or more Singapore-based tech companies. This work permit also allows holders to switch between employers.

The program was open to 500 applicants upon launch, on a first-come, first-serve basis. The work permit will be for a two-year period that can be extended if the applicant passes the renewal criteria.

Eligibility for Tech.Pass

The government has imposed strict eligibility criteria for Tech.Pass applicants. They must satisfy at least two of the following conditions:

  • Their last fixed monthly salary of at least S$22,500 (US$16,728), or its equivalent in foreign currency;
  • Having at least five years of experience in a leading role in a tech company that has a market valuation of at least US$500 million or has raised at least US$30 million in funding; or
  • Having at least five years of experience in a leading role in the development of a tech product that has at least 100,000 monthly active users or at least garnered US$100 million in annual revenue.

Criteria for the renewal of a Tech.Pass

There are several requirements for applicants to receive a two-year renewal. The applicant must:

  • Have earned at least S$240,000 (US$178,435) of income based on an assessment by the Inland Revenue of Singapore (from September 1, 2024, the assessable income will be raised to S$270,000 (US$200,740); or
  • Demonstrated business spending of at least S$100,000 (US$74,348) and employ one local employee who is classified as a professional, manager, or executive (PME) as well as three ‘local qualifying salary’ (LQS) employees.

PMEs must earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3,900 (US$2,900) with LQS referring to locals who earn a monthly salary of at least S$1,400 (US$1041). In addition to one of the aforementioned criteria, applicants must be performing at least two of the following roles, one of which must be from column A.

Additional Criteria for Tech. Pass Renewal



Founded a company in Singapore that sells tech-based products or services.

Serve in the Board of Directors of a Singapore-based company (does not need to be a tech company).

Serve a leading role in a tech company in Singapore.

Acted as a mentor to a Singapore-based start-up.

Serve a leading role in two or more Singapore-based


Acted as a lecturer/adjunct professor in the Singapore institute of Higher Learning.

Employed in a technical role in a Singapore-based company (leading a team).

Provided training not covered under B2 or B3.

Employed in a leading technical role in two or more Singapore-based companies.

Invested in a Singapore-based tech company.


Singapore’s government launched the Tech@SG program, which aims to help Singapore-based technology companies recruit highly skilled foreign talent and expand in the region.

The government agencies Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore (ES) jointly administer the program. The EDB executes strategies that enhance Singapore’s standing as a hub for investment and business while the ESG supports the development of the country’s small and medium enterprises.

Companies that qualify for this program are eligible to receive up to 10 new Employment Passes (EPs) to hire foreign nationals and are valid for up to two years. Further, Tech@SG will support the renewal of the EP and extend it for up to three years. Thereafter, the EP must be renewed through the process implemented by the MoM.

What are the eligibility criteria for companies?

Companies that qualify for Tech@SG must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a company incorporated in Singapore with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA);
  • Must be a company that has a digital or technology offering as part of its core business product or service;
    • This includes providing hardware or software technologies, e-commerce activities, digital gaming, digital media, cybersecurity, data science, and fintech, among many others;
  • Secure more than US$10 million (in cumulative) investment funding in the past 36 months; and
  • Receive funding from one of the Tech@SG investment firms in the past 36 months.

List of investment firms

The Tech@SG program recognizes three types of investment firms:

  • Well-established venture capital firms with an international presence;
  • Boutique venture capital firms with a track record of investing in growth companies in Asia; and
  • Investment firms with links to the Singaporean government.

The recognized firms are mentioned in the table below.


What are the criteria for individual EP applicants?

Once a business has qualified for the Tech@SG program, it must ensure the foreign worker adheres to the following requirements before the EP is secured:

Organizational role

  • The applicant is considered a ‘core team member’ in the business whose responsibilities fall under these categories;
  • The applicant must be a manager-level employee and above in the company; and
  • The applicant’s fixed monthly salary must be S$5,000 (US$3,717) or above.

Functional role

  • Core business functions, such as finance, human resources, general management, business development, business strategy; or
  • Technical functions, such as software engineering, product development, and data science.

What is the application process?

Prior to applying for the Tech@SG program, companies must ensure that they are incorporated with ACRA and have obtained a CorpPass account from ACRA.

Once the applicant is issued a CorpPass account, they will need to log in and select and assign ‘EDB Form SG’ as the e-service the applicant will use.

Applying for Tech@SG endorsement

There are two methods of applying for Tech@SG depending on the ownership of the applicant company.

If the company has less than 30 percent local shareholding, it should submit its application to the EDB. For companies with at least 30 percent or more local shareholding, the submission should be done through Startup SG, as an entity under ES.

Companies are usually told the outcome of their application within 10-15 working days.

Applying for EPs

Once a company has been endorsed under the Tech@SG program, it can submit the EP applications to the MoM.

The company must register for an Employment Pass Online (EPOL) account with the MoM. The MoM may take up to five working days to process the registration request and will advise its decision to the company within 21 working days.

Business owners should note that the EP applications must be submitted within two years of being accepted into the Tech@SG program.

Work permits

Semi-skilled foreign workers applying for jobs in construction, manufacturing, or the services sector in Singapore are required to apply for a Work Permit (WP).

There are three kinds of WPs issued by the government, depending on the sector of the applicant’s job. These are WPs for foreign domestic workers, WPs for confinement nannies, and WPs for performing artists. Only workers from approved countries are eligible for WPs provided the employer pays a levy and security bond, doesn't exceed employment quotas for WP holders, and provides the worker with healthcare insurance.

The WP is valid for up to two years and is subject to the foreign workers’ contract with the associated employer. Additionally, employees entering Singapore on a WP are not permitted to apply for a dependent’s pass for their family members.

WPs can only be applied for by the employer on the worker’s behalf. The processing time for a WP is one to seven working days.

The WP is usually valid for up to two years and is subject to the foreign workers’ contract with the associated employer. Additionally, employees entering Singapore on a WP are not permitted to apply for a dependent’s pass for their family members.

Did You Know
WPs can only be applied for by the employer on the worker’s behalf. The processing time for a WP is one to seven working days.

Other short-duration employment visas available are:

  • Training Employment Pass (TEP): A TEP is issued to foreigners engaged in practical training for jobs of a professional, managerial, executive, or specialist nature in Singapore. The candidates must earn at least S$3,000 (US$2,212) a month. The TEP is valid for a maximum period of three months and is not renewable; and
  • Training Work Permit (TWP): A TWP is issued to unskilled or semi-skilled foreign trainees or students on practical training in Singapore for up to 6 months. The number of TWP holders a local company can hire is capped based on the sector the business operates.

Global investor program

The government made changes to its Global Investor Program (GIP) in 2020 to make it easier for foreign investors and entrepreneurs to attain permanent residence (PR). The GIP was introduced in 2004 and is administered by Contact Singapore, a government agency whose function is to attract investors from all over the world to invest, work, and live in Singapore.

Through this program, foreigners who invest at least S$2.5 million (US$1.86 million) can apply for PR. Under the new changes, the government has set new criteria for GIP applicants. Next-generation business owners, founders of fast-growing companies, and ultra-high-net-worth individuals who want to set up a family office in Singapore can now qualify for PR status.

Currently, only established entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for PR under GIP. After applicants have passed these criteria, they must choose the form of their investment in Singapore. These are investing in a new or existing business entity in the country, investing in a GIP-approved fund, or investing in a new or existing Singapore-based, single-family office.

What is the GIP application process?

To gain GIP approval and ultimately gain PR status, foreign investors need to adhere to the following steps:

  • Submit the online and hardcopy GIP forms to the Economic Development Board (EDB), a statutory board that plans strategies to maintain Singapore as a global hub for business and investment.
  • The EDB will interview the applicant.
  • If the applicant meets the criteria, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will issue an Approval-in-Principal (AIP) status, which is valid for six months.
  • The applicant will then need to invest under their selected investment option within six months from the issued AIP status.
  • The applicant will need to provide evidence (bank statements, legal documents) to the EDB as proof the investment has been realized.
  • The EDB will verify the evidence upon which the ICA will issue a final approval letter.
  • The applicant can then formalize their PR status in Singapore. This must be completed within 12 months from the issuance of the final approval letter.

How can you qualify?

Investors can apply for GIP if they fall under the following threshold criteria:

Established business owners

An applicant’s current business will need to have an annual turnover of S$200 million (US$146 million). Business owners must have at least three years of a proven entrepreneurial or business track record and own a minimum of 30 percent of the company. Additionally, the business should be engaged in one of the eligible industries listed below.

Next-generation business owners

The applicant’s business should have an annual turnover of S$500 million (US$366 million), and the applicant’s immediate family member must own 30 percent of the company. The company itself should be engaged in one of the businesses laid out for established business owners.

Founders of fast-growth companies

In this new criterion, the applicant must be the founder and largest individual shareholder of a company. The company must have a valuation of at least S$500 million (US$366 million) and must be invested by a reputable venture capital or private equity firm.

Family office principals

This criterion aims to attract individuals with net investible assets of at least S$200 million (US$146 million), who are looking to establish a family office in the country. Net investible assets include bank deposits, financial assets, capital market products, and other collective investment schemes. Moreover, the individual must possess at least five years of entrepreneurial, management, or investment record.

What are the eligible industries?

Established business owners, next-generation business owners, and founders of fast-growth companies, must have a business in one of the following industries in order to qualify for the GIP:

  • Aerospace engineering;
  • Alternative energy/ clean technology;
  • Electronics;
  • Energy;
  • Consumer Business (for example, flavors and fragrances, food ingredients, nutrition, home and personal care);
  • Automotive;
  • Chemicals;
  • Engineering Services;
  • Nanotechnology;
  • Information and communication products and services;
  • Logistics and supply chain management;
  • Medical technology;
  • Media and entertainment;
  • Marine and offshore engineering;
  • Healthcare;
  • Natural resources (for example, metals, mining);
  • Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology;
  • Shipping;
  • Space;
  • Safety and security;
  • Precision engineering;
  • Professional services;
  • Arts businesses;
    • Visual arts businesses; and
    • Performing arts businesses
  • Sports businesses; an
  • Family office and financial services.

What are the investment options?

Once an applicant has met one of the four threshold criteria, they can choose from three investment options in Singapore.

Option A

Applicants who choose option A must invest S$2.5 million (US$1.8 million) in a new or existing business in Singapore. The applicant must submit a five-year business or investment plan, which highlights future expenditures and revenues. The business plan will be assessed on its feasibility, overall activities, capacity to create local jobs, as well as the applicant’s role in growing the company.

Option B

Through option B, the applicant must invest S$2.5 million (US$1.8 million) in a GIP-approved fund that invests in Singapore-based companies. The list of the approved funds can be found on the GIP website. Applicants will be assessed on their business or investment activities, capacity to create local jobs, and any future investment plans.

Option C

As part of the changes to the GIP, the government has added option C in which applicants must invest S$2.5 million (US$1.8 million) in a new or existing Singapore-based single-family office. Applicants will need to submit a five-year business or investment plan, which must contain employment and financial projections. The business or investment plan will be assessed on the applicant’s role in the family office and proposed investment sectors.


Events in ASEAN

How can we help?

Hi there!

Let me show you how I can be of assistance.

I can help you find and connect with an advisor, get guidance, search resources, or share feedback about this site.

Please select what you’d like to do:

How can we help?

Hi there!

Our contact personel in Italy is:

profile Alberto Vettoretti

Please select what you’d like to do:

Let us help you advance in Asia

Speak to an expert!

Please share a few details about what guidance you seek. We can have a suitable advisor contact you within one business day.

Security Check
Back to top