Updates to Employment Permits for Professional Foreign Workers in Singapore

Posted by Written by Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 6 minutes

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) provides a range of employment permits for professional expatriates planning to work in the country. Each employment permit differs across various categories of employees and is based on their professional skills and monthly salaries.

Human resource management policies and strategies at Singapore’s national level were developed with the goal of maximizing human capital to support significant transformation. The Singaporean government has long supported a centralized system for managing its human resources, and foreign investment continues to have an impact.

In this article, we discuss the type of employment permits for professional foreign workers and the requirements to obtain them.

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.

As of September 2022, the qualifying minimum salary for new EP applicants will be raised to S$5,000 (US$3,474). This will apply to renewal applicants from September 2023.

Foreign applicants in the financial services sector must now receive a qualifying salary of S$5,000 (US$3,474). Also from September 2022, the minimum qualifying wage will be increased to S$5,500 (US$3,823).

Candidates that are offered a monthly salary of S$6,000 (US$4,171) 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 spouse, 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$8,342) can bring their parents into the country. There is no foreign worker levy or quota for this specific work permit. Moreover, the processing time for EP applications is up to five weeks; if submitted online, the application may be processed in as little as three weeks.

The Complementarity Assessment Framework

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

The government hopes that the new system will improve the capacity of Singaporean businesses to select high-quality foreign professionals and ensure workforce diversity.

Future 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



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