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What is an employment pass in Singapore?

What is an employment pass in Singapore?

An employment pass (EP) is a type of work visa issued by the Singaporean Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to foreign professionals, managers, executives, and sometimes business owners or directors of Singaporean companies.

Here's a quick rundown of what an employment pass gets you:

  • Live and work legally in Singapore

  • Travel in and out of Singapore without needing a separate entry visa (although some nationalities may require visas for other countries)

Employment passes are typically valid for 1-2 years and can be renewed.  Having an employment pass can also be a plus if you're eventually interested in applying for permanent residency (PR) in Singapore.

What is the minimum salary for EP in Singapore?

The minimum salary required for an Employment Pass in Singapore depends on two things:

  1. The applicant's age: The minimum salary increases progressively with age.

  2. The industry: The minimum salary is higher for the financial services sector.

Here's the current situation:

  • For most industries (except financial services): The minimum salary is S$5,000 per month.  This requirement increases progressively with age, up to S$10,500 for those in their mid-40s and above.

  • For the financial services sector: The minimum salary is S$5,500 per month. Similar to other industries, this amount increases with age, reaching S$11,500 for those in their mid-40s and above.

Important to note:

  • These are the minimums.  The actual salary offered may be higher depending on the specific job and the applicant's qualifications and experience.

  • There is an increase coming in 2025. Starting from January 1, 2025, the minimum salary for new applicants will be raised to S$5,600 for most industries and S$6,200 for the financial services sector.

Eligibility requirements for Employment Passes

There are two main stages to be eligible for an Employment Pass in Singapore:

Stage 1: Meeting the Minimum Salary

  • This depends on your age and the industry you'll be working in:

  • Most industries (except financial services): Minimum S$5,000 per month, increasing progressively with age (up to S$10,500 for those 45 and above)

  • Financial services sector: Minimum S$5,500 per month, increasing progressively with age (up to S$11,500 for those 45 and above)

Important Note: These are the minimums. They will increase slightly starting from January 1, 2025.

Stage 2: Passing the COMPASS Assessment

  • Unless exempted, you'll need to pass a points-based assessment called the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).

  • This system scores candidates based on their:

  • Age

  • Salary

  • Qualifications (degrees, professional certifications)

  • Work experience

  • Specific skills relevant to the job

Additional Considerations:

  • You'll need a job offer in Singapore from a company that can sponsor your Employment Pass application.

  • The company must demonstrate they have fairly considered all job seekers before applying for an EP for you.

What is the difference between EP and S pass?

Both EP (Employment Pass) and S Pass are work visas in Singapore, but they cater to different skill levels and come with varying benefits. Here's a breakdown of the key differences:

Skill Level:

  • EP: Targets highly skilled professionals, managers, executives, and sometimes business owners/directors. They typically hold university degrees or possess extensive relevant experience.

  • S Pass: Designed for mid-level skilled technicians, supervisors, or executives.  They may have diplomas, technical certificates, or relevant work experience.

Minimum Salary:

  • EP: Generally starts from S$5,000 per month and increases with age (except for financial services). It's expected to be S$5,600 from January 1, 2025. The financial services sector has a slightly higher minimum.

  • S Pass: The minimum salary is S$3,150 per month and may also increase with age and experience.


  • EP: No quota restrictions on the number issued each year.

  • S Pass:  There's a quota system in place, limiting the number of S Pass holders a company can have as a percentage of its total workforce (usually 13% to 20%).

Family Privileges:

  • EP: Holders may be eligible to bring their dependants (spouse and children) to Singapore on Dependant's Passes.

  • S Pass: Generally doesn't allow bringing dependants, although there may be exceptions for some higher-paying S Pass positions.

Validity Period:

  • EP: Typically valid for 1-2 years and can be renewed.

  • S Pass: Similar validity period (1-2 years) with the possibility of renewal.

In short, if you're a highly skilled professional with a high salary and a job offer in a designated sector, then an EP is a good fit. If you have mid-level skills and a relevant qualification or experience, then an S Pass might be the option for you.

Does an EP holder need to stay in Singapore?

There isn't a minimum stay requirement for EP holders in Singapore.  As long as you continue to be employed by the sponsoring company and are being paid a salary in Singapore, you can likely travel freely without affecting your EP status.

Here's some information to support this:

  • Resources from the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Employment Passes don't mention a residency requirement.

Of course, it's always best to check with the MOM or consult with an immigration professional if your situation involves very extensive travel or extended periods outside of Singapore.

Here are some resources for further info:

  • Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Employment Pass Eligibility

  • COMPASS Assessment Framework: Information on the specific criteria might be limited publicly, but you can find an overview on the MOM website.

How Bestar can Help

What is an employment pass in Singapore?

Bestar in Singapore can definitely help you with obtaining an Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore. Here's how:

  • Streamlining the Application Process:  Bestar can guide you through the entire EP application process, saving you time and ensuring all the required documents are submitted correctly.

  • Eligibility Assessment: We can assess your qualifications and salary against the MOM's requirements to determine your eligibility for an EP.

  • COMPASS Assessment Support: While we can't directly influence the outcome, we can help you understand the COMPASS assessment criteria and advise on how to best showcase your strengths to increase your score.

  • Liaison with MOM: Bestar can handle communication with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on your behalf, ensuring a smooth application process.

  • Increased Approval Chances:  Our experience can significantly increase your chances of getting your EP application approved.

Additional Services:

  • We also offer additional services such as:

  • Dependant Pass application for your spouse and children (if applicable).

Here are some things to consider when choosing Bestar:

  • Experience and Qualifications: Bestar specializes in Singapore immigration matters and has a proven track record of success with EP applications.

  • Fees: Bestar provides a clear breakdown of the costs involved before you engage our services.

  • Communication Style: You would feel comfortable communicating with Bestar. We can clearly explain the process and answer your questions.

By using the services of reputable Bestar, you can significantly increase your chances of obtaining an Employment Pass in Singapore and make the entire process much smoother.

Consult with Bestar for the latest information and to discuss your specific situation.


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