With the level of stability in the Singapore economy, boasting of no foreign debts, and high government revenue over the years, it’s not far-fetched for someone to want to work in Singapore. However, acquiring a work visa is a prerequisite to work in Singapore legally and successfully.
There are different kinds of work visa applications in Singapore, and the S pass is one of the most popular ones. It is not unusual to have questions about the criteria and qualifications for an S pass in Singapore. Hence, this article aims to highlight the criteria and eligibility requirements for the S pass in Singapore.
S Pass Work Permit and Who Can Apply
The S Pass Singapore visa which refers to “Short-Term Employment Pass”, is an intermediate visa for competent middle-level employees in electronics, oil and other industries in Singapore. This provides foreign semi-skilled workers with a pass that meets their needs when they are either under-qualified for an E Pass Singapore card or overqualified for a foreign worker work permit.
However, even though these applicants have in the past been covered by a foreign worker work visa, or they have had their E Pass Singapore application rejected on the basis of salary requirements, they can still apply for the S Pass in Singapore. It is very common to mistake the S Pass for the E Pass, but they are both different. The E Pass is only granted to foreign expatriates with a certificate from well-known global institutions.
It should be noted that a potential employee cannot apply for the S Pass in Singapore, only an employer or an approved third party usually an employment agent can apply. However, Singapore encourages the use of its Self-Assessment Tool (SAT), which allows potential employees to determine their qualifications and eligibility. If the SAT indicates that the applicant does not qualify, it is not advisable to apply for the S Pass on a high likelihood that it would be denied while if the SAT indicates that the candidate qualifies, then there is a high probability (90%) the S Pass will be granted.
Eligibility for S Pass Work Permit in Singapore
The S Pass is for international mid-skilled workers who fulfil these criteria and only those who meet these criteria will be successful:
- Salary: The employee’s pay must be at least $2,200, according to the age and work experience of the worker. This means the older or more experienced the worker, the higher the salary. It is worthy of note that the least eligible wage for new applicants will be increased to $2,500 from 1 October 2020 and will apply from 1 May 2021 for renewal applications.
- Education: Singapore accepts degrees and qualifications from prestigious and globally renowned institutions, and course certificates must not be less than a yearlong of full time study.
- Relevant experience: Successful candidates are expected to showcase their experience in their niche.
- Validity of passport: The applicant’s passport should be valid for at least 7 months before the expiry date.
- Establishment: The employer’s business must be renowned and be set up with the Central Provident Fund Board of Singapore. If this is the first application, the business activities undertaken by the company must be reported to the government. Furthermore, the company is expected to follow the levy and quota requirements according to the Ministry of Manpower.
It should be noted that S Pass Singapore visa cannot be used in a coffee shop, food court or family sized stall, because these are small scale businesses and activities that should be staffed by only owners or family members in Singapore.
Can I get an S Pass for my family?
Most certainly, but there are certain restrictions. Only S Pass Singapore holders with a fixed monthly income of at least $6,000 are entitled and eligible for a dependent’s pass for their partner and children. Employers or employment agents can submit the application for the dependent pass together with the S Pass application for the potential employee or, submit it later on separately.
Singapore recognises school qualifications and certifications from accredited institutions. Although Singapore doesn’t have or refer to a register of approved institutions, you can use one of the options below to can check if it is Singapore accredited:
- Global verification agencies e.g. Dataflow or Risk Management Intelligence (RMI).
- International accreditation bodies.
- Awarding country’s educational officials.
S Pass Work Permit Rejection
The S Pass can be rejected due to the failure of the employer or foreign applicant’s ability to comply with certain basic requirements such as:
- Quota: The requirement for S Pass exceeds the quota.
- Central Provident Fund Board: The employer has problems with their Central Provident Fund Board account.
- Qualification: Prerequisites for the position have not been established with the applicable documents.
- Salary: The applicant’s salary does not correlate to their age or work experience (this applies to underselling or overselling the applicant).
- Too many applicants: The declared skills of the applicant are bountiful Singapore and/or the employer has failed to show that the applicant was crucial to the business of the company.
- Passport Validity: A limited validity period of the applicant’s passport.
It is possible to lodge an appeal by submitting all the necessary paperwork online, but this must be done within 3 months from the date of the refusal. After which, the appeal process will take up to three weeks from filing.
The Singapore S Pass is a work visa for competent mid-level foreigners seeking employment in Singapore’s engineering, oil and other industries. While Singapore welcomes and openly embraces international workers, their eligibility requirements are quite strict. However, these criteria and qualifications are not improbable, as it makes it easy for Singapore to keep on attracting foreign talent and workforce.
Having said that, it is important to ensure that potential employees comply with all of the eligibility requirements discussed in this article to ensure that the application is successful and approved by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore.