New Employment Pass Rules in Singapore Impact Expat Workers

In January 2012 the Singapore immigration department will implement a new law that requires expat workers to earn a minimum of $3000 USD per month in their home country before they become eligible for an employment pass that gives them the right to work in Singapore.

The rules, which were introduced by the People’s Action Party, were deemed necessary as a result of concerns raised by the public that the amount of expatriate workers in the country was creating high levels of competition for jobs and school places. In a press release the Ministry of Manpower said: “The demand for EPs has increased rapidly since the economic recovery in 2010 and is likely to keep growing. We are therefore introducing measures which tighten the eligibility requirements for those entering lower and mid-level professional, managerial and executive jobs. The more stringent requirements will include better educational qualifications and higher qualifying salaries.

“These moves will ensure that as salaries of locals rise as they gain in experience and progress in their careers, they will not be disadvantaged by EP holders coming in at lower wages.”

Summary of the key changes:

  • Q1 pass holders will now be required to have a qualifying salary of $3,000 USD in their per month in their home country. Educational qualifications will need to come from “good quality” institutions.
  • P2 pass holders will have the qualifying salary raised from $4,000 USD per month to $4,500 USD per month.
  • P1 pass holders qualifying salary will remain the same at $8,000 USD per month
  • Permanent residents will not be impacted.

The new framework will be implemented flexibly in some cases and expatriates who do not meet the criteria may be awarded employment passes if their skills and experience are proven to be of benefit to Singapore.

For full details see the Ministry of Manpower website.

For comprehensive information about visa and work pass requirements for Singapore, please see our guide to living in Singapore. It contains everything you need to know about the legal requirements for living and working in this city state and provides full instructions for the application procedures.