S Pass guide for employers

If you're a business owner in Singapore, you may be wondering how to go about obtaining an S Pass for a foreign worker. In this guide, we'll provide an overview of the process and requirements for obtaining an S Pass, as well as some tips on how to make the application process as smooth as possible. Let's get started!

What is an S Pass?

An S Pass is a type of work visa, which allows foreigners to work in Singapore. The target group for the S Pass is mid-level skilled/technical staff.

What is the minimum salary requirement for S Pass?

Yes there is! Candidates need to earn at least:

  • Current criteria:
    • $2,500 a month
  • For new applications from Sep 2022 + renewal applications from Sep 2023:
    • $3,000 a month (in general)
    • $3,500 a month (for financial services)
  • Applicants with more work experience will also correspondingly require a higher salary to qualify.

Are there any qualification requirements for S Pass?

Candidates are required to have relevant work experience and qualifications (such as a degree or diploma, or in some cases, relevant technical certificates). For more information on acceptable qualifications, please refer to MOM’s article on “Eligibility for S Pass”.

Is there any quota for S Pass?

Yes, there is a quota for S Pass. At present,the maximum number of S Pass holders your company can hire is:

  • 10% of company’s total workforce (services sector)
  • 18% (construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard and process sectors)

If you exceed the existing quota, your company will still be allowed to keep your excess workers (until their S Passes expire). However, you’ll be unable to apply for new (or renew) S Passes, if this surpasses your quota. 

It is good to keep updated, as the quota for certain sectors may differ each year. For more information on upcoming changes in S Pass quota, please see MOM’s page on “S Pass quota and levy requirements”.

Is there a quota calculator for S pass?

MOM has a quota calculator, which allows you to calculate the number of Work Permit and S Pass holders your company can employ.

What is the application process for S Pass?

Application for an S Pass must be done by the employer, or appointed employment agent. 

Before applying for S Pass:

  1. Show fair consideration of all candidates, and advertise on MyCareersFuture.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the eligibility criteria. You are highly encouraged to make use of the Self-Assessment Tool to get a preliminary idea of whether the candidate meets the requirements. 
    • If the Self-Assessment Tool indicates that the candidate is not eligible, it likely means that the S Pass application will be rejected. On the other hand, if the Self-Assessment Tool indicates that the candidate is eligible, then it is very likely (90% chance) that the application will be successful. 
  3. Familiarize yourself with the quota and levy required. You may refer to this MOM page on “Quota and levy for S Pass” for more information.
  4. Declare your business activity (if you are a business employer doing a first-time application for S Passes or Work Permits). 
  5. Prepare the required documents to ensure a smooth application ,which includes:
    • Page of candidate’s passport showing their personal particulars
    • Candidate’s educational certificates (e.g. diploma or degree certificates). For candidates who hold qualifications from India, China, or institutions that are not found in the application form’s drop-down list, additional documents are required.
    • Verification proof of candidate’s qualifications (to show that these qualifications are genuine and were awarded from an accredited institution)
    • Additional documents are required for the following:
      1. Regional representatives of overseas companies
      2. Healthcare professionals, lawyers, football players or coaches
      3. Employees in a food establishment
    • Your company’s latest business profile or instant information registered with ACRA.

Before S Pass candidate arrives in Singapore:

  1. Apply for the S Pass, which can be done online on myMOM Portal. Do note that you will need to pay $105 for each application at this point of time.
  2. If the application is successful, the employer will receive an in-principle approval letter. This will also include a visa that will allow the candidate to enter Singapore. This visa can only be used for one time.

After S Pass candidate arrives in Singapore:

  1. Buy medical insurance for each pass holder. You will also need to submit the insurance details online. 
  2. Get the pass issued. This should be done within 60 days of the in-principle approval. This can be done on myMOM Portal. For more information on the documents required at this point, please refer to MOM’s article “Apply for an S pass”, under the heading “Get the pass issued”, and under the subheading “What you’ll need”.
  3. You will also need to pay $100 for each pass issuance at this time.
  4. Receive (by email) the notification letter. This letter will allow the candidate to begin working and travel across Singapore borders while still waiting for the pass card.
  5. The candidate may need to register their fingerprints and photo. If this is required, it will be stated on the notification letter. This should be done within 1 week after the pass is issued.
  6. Receive the pass card (it will be delivered to the provided address).

How to check S Pass application status?

You may check the S Pass application status on myMOM Portal.

How can I renew the S Pass for my employee?

Renewals can be done by the employer or appointed employment agent, via myMOM Portal

There are a few requirements that you need to meet, in order to renew an S Pass for your employee:

  • Pass holders must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
  • The pass holder has to satisfy the criteria of the existing eligibility requirements. See more details on MOM’s page on “Eligibility for S Pass”.
  • The pass holder’s passport must have at least another 7 months validity
  • You (the employer) need to have enough S Pass quota for your sector. 

Other important information to take into account if you are renewing S Passes for your employees:

  • You can start to renew an S pass up to 6 months before the pass expires. You must apply before the expiry date, so it’s good to start early. Visit MOM’s page “Renew an S Pass”, to calculate when you can start renewing.
  • The renewal would have up to 3 years of validity. However, if the pass holder’s passport is expiring soon, then the S Pass will only be valid up to 1 month before the passport’s expiry date.
  • You need to pay $100 for each renewal
  • Most applications for renewals would be processed within 3 weeks.

Do I have to pay any levy for S Pass holders?

Yes, you need to pay a monthly levy for S Pass holders. This starts from the day the S Pass is issued, and ends on the day that the pass is canceled or expired. 

What are the levy rates for S Pass holders?

For the services sector, the monthly levy rate is $330 for up to 10% of the total workforce.

For all sectors excluding services, the monthly levy rate is $330 for up to 10% of the total workforce and $750 for above 10% to 18% of the total workforce.

How do I pay the levy for S Pass?

You need to pay levy for S Pass via GIRO (General Interbank Recurring Order). Here are the detailed instructions on how to pay the levy via GIRO.

Each month's levy will be deducted on the 17th of the following month from your bank account (or the next working day if it falls on a weekend or public holiday).

Before the deduction date, make sure you have adequate money in your account. Your bank may charge you a failed transaction fee if the GIRO deduction fails.

What happens if I forget to pay the levy on time?

If you don’t pay the full levy on time, you may face these penalties:

  • A late payment penalty of 2% each month or $20, whichever is greater, will be assessed. The total amount of your late payment penalty will be capped at 30% of the outstanding levy.
  • Your existing S Passes will be revoked. You can only apply for new S passes after you've paid off your arrears and fines. Do note your S Pass holders must obtain new S Passes before they may continue working.
  • You won’t be allowed to apply for or issue S Passes, or renew existing S Passes.
  • You could risk legal action if you don't pay the levy.
  • If you, your partners, or your directors run other businesses, these businesses may not be eligible to apply for S Passes.

What are the differences among S Pass, Employment Pass and Work Permit?

  Employment Pass S Pass Work Permit
Target group Foreign professionals, managers and executives Mid-level skilled/ technical staff Semi-skilled migrant workers in the following sectors:

  • Construction

  • Manufacturing

  • Marine shipyard

  • Process

  • Services


 
In addition, there are also Work Permits for: 

  • Migrant domestic workers

  • Malaysian confinement nannies

  • Foreign performing artistes

  • Process

  • Services


You may refer to the MOM website on “Work passes” for more information.
Minimum monthly salary required for pass holders Currently:

  • At least $4,500
    (older candidates need higher salary to qualify)



For new applications from Sep 2022 + Renewal applications from Sep 2023:

  • At least $5,000

  • At least $5,500 (for financial services)

Currently:

  • At least $2,500
    (older candidates need higher salary to qualify)



For new applications from Sep 2022 + Renewal applications from Sep 2023:

  • At least $3,000

  • At least $3,500 (for financial services)

No minimum salary required 
Are family members provided passes? May apply for a Dependent’s Pass for family members, if they meet this eligibility criteria No
Is levy required? No Yes Yes
Is there any quota? No Yes Yes
Does the employer need to provide insurance? Employers can choose whether or not to provide medical insurance for EP holders Employers must buy and maintain medical insurance for S Pass holders.
The insurance coverage must be at least $15,000 per year and cover inpatient care and day surgery.
Employers must buy and maintain medical insurance for Work Permit holders. 
The insurance coverage must be at least $15,000 per year. This insurance should cover inpatient care and day surgery, including hospital bills for conditions that may not be work related.

Thanks for reading! We hope this article has helped you understand the process of applying for a S Pass in Singapore. With our Payboy payroll & HR software, you can actually set work pass expiry reminders so that you will never miss the pass renewal dates, giving you a peace of mind! If you have any questions or would like more information, please don't hesitate to sign up for a demo and we'll be happy to help.

Find out how you can do it all with Payboy

Reach out to us if you are keen for a free demo on how we can help you save hours and give you some peace of mind on payroll and other HR matters so that you can focus on your business and people.
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