Singapore Employers’ Guide To Work Permits
Singapore has an overwhelming number of expats moving in for various reasons. This is due to its cosmopolitan setting, booming economy and vibrant culture that bring forth a wide range of opportunities. Many expats come to Singapore to either find a good job or start a business. This explains the reason for having a significant percentage of about 40% workforce made up of non-residents. However, the government has regulated and tightened the terms and rules for work visas, work permit obtaining and processing.
This move was made to ensure that Singapore residents get an equal share for the high-paying jobs. For an employer in Singapore to have an expatriate worker, it’s essential that you make sure your workers have a valid pass. These passes are issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Each of the passes are designed to permit the employee to work based on their category—monthly salaries and professional skills. Here is an employer’s guide to various work permits in Singapore, their costs and duration.
A work permit allows relevantly skilled foreign employees from the approved list of countries to start work as employees in various labor-shortage sectors such as marine shipyard, construction, automotive, service, and manufacturing fields. Private sectors virtually have distinct criteria for according work permits. Each industry has its own quota, and every month an employer with foreign employees is expected to give a monthly levy and provide compulsory medical insurance for every worker he or she has.
Work permits when granted, are usually valid for up to 2 years but renewable if the worker wants to work longer or has a long contract. Although a work permit holder may not be in a position to acquire passes for their friends or family members, there is no limiting qualifying salary required. It is also quite crucial to note that it is either the employer or the selected employment agent who is eligible to apply for the permit online and also view the status of the application online from the Ministry of Manpower.
The mid-level skilled staff with relevant skills, qualifications, and experience from all nationalities can be allowed to work in Singapore through the S Pass. The potential S pass holder will be required to have a diploma or degree or be in possession of any other functional ,technical certificate, get a job offer paying not less than $2,200 monthly salary, and have worked in a similar position for a number of years.
As an employer, you will be required to pay a certain amount of monthly levy of about $330 to $650 depending on the number of the foreign nationals working for you. There also exists a quota that limits companies and that ensure the number of S Pass individual holders remain at 15% of the total company’s workforce in both the service sectors or 20% on all the other areas.
The valid S Pass applied by the employer expires after two years but renewable if the candidate wishes to continue working. The S pass holders have the privilege of applying passes for their relatives and family members.
Employment passes are typically for foreign nationals from all countries who are exceptionally skilled and qualify to work at specialized, executives and managerial positions. These kinds of staff should earn a fixed monthly salary of not less than $3,600 and should be in possession of specific qualifications such as a good university degree from a reputable university and professional qualifications with relevant skills to the prospective position. More specialized candidates can command a higher minimum salary based on the job in question.
Employment passes usually last for two years once granted, though they can substantially be renewed after every three years. An important point to note is that for Employment Passes, there are no levies or quotas required. Since such level of applicants requires thorough scrutiny, employers looking to employ foreign workers from this category are provided with a Self-Assessment Tool to help them check the eligibility of the candidate before applying for their Employment Pass.
If the tool points out that you do not qualify, then you should not attempt to apply as your application will automatically get rejected.
Work permit costs in Singapore
The work permit charges in Singapore have dramatically increased in the recent years, which reflects the efforts made by the government to tighten the application process. The employment pass application fee, for instance, varies from about $30 to about $70 with an additional issuance fee that costs not more than $150.
While these costs may not be prohibitive, a non-Singapore company may have to factor in the staff duration needed of HR departments in order to monitor applications and manage posts. New companies joining the busy Singapore market will most likely have to rely on a reliable local employer through the GEO who will be in charge of recruitment and will apply for work permits, applications, sponsorships and handle the immigration work.
Given the amount of complexity witnessed when getting work visas, this will alleviate the burden of finding global mobility professionals. A local expert can go a long way in saving money, time, and energy when it comes to deploying staff.
How long will it take to get a work permit in Singapore?
Unlike before where popular work permits like Employment Pass used to take less than a week to process, the process now might take more than three weeks. This is due to the increased scrutiny by the immigration authorities in reviewing applications. The same conditions and restriction levied on Singapore work visas have played a significant role in delaying the processes. An individual intending to work in Singapore may have to wait for more than five weeks before entering Singapore.
The IT sector of Singapore has partnered with Australia and United States of America to have cracked down when giving out work visas mainly to the outsourcing Indian IT companies. Virtually, the 2-4 weeks processing period now have been increased to a number of months, primarily when there is a need for comprehensive reviews of individual applications to ensure that local employees are not locked out.