Singapore also referred to as the Lion City, is one of the most developed nations of not only Asia but the entire world. That is the reason a lot of professionals opt to work there.
Although just an island city with 62 other islets, it is the third-largest financial center and the fourth-largest trading center of the world. It is no mean achievement for a country whose total area is just about 719 square kilometers.
Besides the aforementioned factors, Singapore also ranks eleventh in the world on the United Nations Human Development Index. So it can be inferred that basic amenities such as healthcare, education, quality of life, housing and so on are on par with the best in the world.
These advantages have attracted people from neighboring Malaysia, China, India and various other nations of the world, making it a multicultural society.
This island nation has broadly four types work visas to cater to employees with different skill sets. But its government has recently made rules stricter to obtain a Singapore Work Visa. The requirements are now, therefore, demanding for employees as well as for organizations based in that country. Not all is lost though if one is well qualified and experienced. The Ministry of Manpower of Singapore has implemented criteria that foreign employees seeking employment need to fulfill there. This ministry also processes applications for work visas.
The Employment Pass (EP) is a work visa of Singapore which is granted to the highly skilled foreign workers. It is tailored for professionals, managers, and executives, which is why it is referred to as PME. It is used normally by directors to relocate after they float a company in Singapore. It is obvious that this work visa offers a high pay packet along with world-class perks. There is no cap on the number of people that can be hired through EP.
The EP has been divided into three subclasses in which the salary and the appropriate skills are factored in. P1 is for people who are very highly talented and have commensurate working experience and education to back it up. Their monthly salary would be more than SG$8,000 per month.
On the other hand, P2 is for skilled workers having sufficient working experience and qualifications. These would be given to professionals who earn a minimum of SG$4,500 per month.
The lowest in this EP category is Q1. It is for young workers who have passed out of prestigious educational institutions and possess outstanding skills. But these people need not have extensive work experience. Their salary would be a minimum of SG$3,300.
Eligibility for EP: –
These visas can be granted to people of any nation who satisfy the above criteria. There is no cap on the number of workers that can be hired under EPs.
An individual who has been granted an EP is bound to the Singapore-based company she/he has applied from. That individual cannot, therefore, work for another company until she/he reapplies for another EP.
The EP is valid for a maximum of 1-2 years when issued for the first time. It can, however, be prolonged for three more years if the employer is able to justify it.
People with these work visas can bring heir family members (spouse and children) along with them to Singapore so long as they are earning at least SG$5,000 per month. To bring their dependents (parents or grandparents) to Singapore, the holders of this visa should be earning at least SG$10,000.
An EP allows an individual the probability of procuring permanent residence of Singapore. But the duration for applying for one varies for each subclass of the visa. The EP holders can be participants of company incorporation in this Southeastern Island nation and thus be its shareholders. But they need to satisfy a lot of criteria.
An employer can apply on for an EP by himself or by utilizing services of a top visa company. An aspiring EP, however, cannot apply for it directly.
An employer can hire an EP if the firm he /she runs has adequate paid-up capital, should not have mistreated a local employee ever and needs to advertise the job on the local market for a minimum of two weeks before it can consider hiring a foreign employee if a local employee cannot be found for the position.
An employee can be an EP holder only if the salary is commensurate with his/her qualifications, experience and skills, and also satisfies the requirements needed for the subclass that person has been chosen for.
The holders of EPs need to have secured a degree or diploma with an institution of repute, talent and skill sets need to be superior to the educational qualifications, they should possess skills that are scarce in Singapore and they should hold a valid passport,
An individual can apply for an EP until the age of retirement as per Singapore standards. If the person is above that age, he/she needs to show outstanding expertise. Although people of any country can apply for an EP, nationals of certain countries may be required to produce additional documentation.
Applying for EPs need considerable planning as the Ministry of Manpower has a rigorous selection process in place. In fact, the ministry is fastidious about every document submitted.
The time taken to process the visa depends on the manner in which it was submitted. It usually takes a week if one is applying online using the EP website or five days if the application has been submitted manually.
The other type of EP is Personalised Employment Pass which is also issued to high wage earners. Though it has some features similar to the normal Employment Pass, it is not bound to a particular employer unlike the former. It depends on the employees themselves. Personalized EP is appropriate for directors and other highly skilled individuals who are looking to enhance their skill sets by adding a new one in Singapore by being adaptable. For this visa, the monthly salary should be much higher than that of an EP (at least SG$18,000 per month).
Unlike with the EP, foreign workers can begin applying for the PEP even before they land up a job with a Singapore employer.
The Ministry of Manpower will evaluate the foreign applicant by going through the individual’s qualifications and work experience. The PEP allows the foreign workers to arrive in Singapore and then look for a job.
The PEP holders can also change their employers.
With the PEP, individuals can reside in Singapore even if they are in between jobs for a period of up to six months. They must, however, leave Singapore if they are unable to find a job in that nation after that period.
But holders of the PEP stand better chances getting a job in Singapore as employers would hire them as the work visa applications do not need to be changed much.
In addition, no extra charges and caps are applicable to this visa.
Under the PEP, a visa is issued for only up to three years. The applicant can obtain an alternate employer-attached visa if he/she gets an employment there before the PEP lapses.
Holders of the PEP can bring along with them their family members (spouse and children) to the Lion Nation if their salaries are more than SG$5,000 and parents if their pay packets exceed SG$10,000.
These visa holders must note that they can’t do any personal business in Singapore. To be eligible for PEP, foreigners who scale up from P1 EP are also eligible if their last earned salary was a minimum of SG$12,000. The foreign workers must provide evidence by showing bank statements and salary slips of the last three months.
Just like their EP counterparts, PEP applicants should have had impressive educational attributes. Prospective PEP holders should demonstrate expertise in the employment for which they want to relocate to Singapore. These need to be shown in documents.
Here too, the country of origin does not play a major role, but for some countries, additional documentation may be required. One can apply for the PEP until a candidate attains the age of retirement in Singapore. Alternately, a candidate who is older should demonstrate richer experience than normal candidates.
But the problem area in the PEP is that foreign workers will have to apply themselves and no local company of Singapore can do it for them. Since foreigners have to rely on their skills and work experience, it is vital that they present themselves in an impressive way. In order for this, it is suggested that one entrusts the task of getting PEP to an experienced visa consultant. This is because they would be in a better position identify what the current demands of Singapore’s job market are and what the Ministry of Manpower is expecting from prospective PEPs.
The processing time for PEP is around five weeks, which is much more than the time taken for an EP. Foreign talent can reduce this duration by availing advice from an expert.
If you are looking to seek an Employment Visa in Singapore, contact Y-Axis, a prominent immigration consultancy firm, to apply for a visa from one of its several global offices.