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S Pass guide for employers

*This guide was first published in April 2022 and has since been updated as of July 2023.

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?

The S Pass is a mid-level work visa for skilled workers. It is targeted at individuals who do not qualify for the Employment Pass but possess relevant qualifications and work experience. S Pass holders are subject to a quota system based on the ratio of local to foreign workers in a company. The S Pass is initially valid for up to two years and can be renewed for another three years, depending on the worker's qualifications and the company's compliance record.

What is the minimum salary requirement for the S Pass?

Yes, there is! Candidates need to earn at least:

  • Current criteria:
    • $2,500 a month
  • For new applications from September 2022 and renewal applications from September 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 the 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). The specific educational requirements vary depending on the sector and the applicant's work experience. For more information on acceptable qualifications, please refer to the MOM’s article on “Eligibility for S Pass”.

Is there any quota for the S Pass?

The quota for S Pass holders varies across different sectors and is counted within your total quota for foreign workers. Let's take a look at the S Pass holder quotas for different sectors:

SectorQuota (from 1 Jan 2023 onwards)
Marine shipyard15% 

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

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

Tip: To learn more about the foreign worker quota, head over to our “Foreign worker quota: A guide for employers in Singapore”!

Is there a quota calculator for the S pass?

MOM has a quota calculator that 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 the S Pass:

  1. Show fair consideration to all candidates and advertise on MyCareersFuture.
  2. Familiarise 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. Familiarise 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 making a first-time application for S Passes or Work Permits). 
  5. Prepare the required documents to ensure a smooth application, which include:
    • 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:
      • Regional representatives of overseas companies
      • Healthcare professionals, lawyers, football players or coaches
      • Employees in a food establishment
    • Your company’s latest business profile or instant information registered with ACRA.

Before an S Pass candidate arrives in Singapore:

  1. Apply for the S Pass, which can be done online on the 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 once.

After the 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 in 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 do I check the S Pass application status?

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

How can I renew the S Pass for my employee?

Renewals can be done by the employer or appointed employment agent via the 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 the MOM’s page on “Eligibility for S Pass”.
  • The pass holder’s passport must have at least another 7 months of validity.
  • You (the employer) need to have enough S Pass quota for your sector.

When should I renew the S Pass for my employee?

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 the 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 on the day the S Pass is issued and ends on the day that the pass is cancelled or expires. 

What are the levy rates for S Pass holders?

Depending on the sector of your company, the foreign worker levy rates for S Pass holders vary and are organised into different tiers. Presented below is a concise table outlining the levy rates across various sectors:

SectorTierQuota %Levy
ConstructionBasic/Tier 1≤10%$450
ConstructionTier 2>10% ─ 15%$650
ProcessBasic/Tier 1≤10%$450
ProcessTier 2>10% ─ 15%$650
Marine ShipyardBasic/Tier 1≤10%$450
Marine ShipyardTier 2>10% ─ 15%$650
ManufacturingBasic/Tier 1≤10%$450
ManufacturingTier 2>10% ─ 15%$650
ServicesBasic/Tier 1≤10%$450

Tip: Head over to “Foreign Worker Levy (FWL): A guide for employers in Singapore” to learn more about FWL!

How do I pay the levy for the S Pass?

You need to pay a 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 that 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 the S Pass, Employment Pass, and Work Permit?

 Employment PassS PassWork Permit
Target groupForeign professionals, managers and executivesMid-level skilled/ technical staffSemi-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 holdersCurrently:
- 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)
- 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 criteriaNo
Is levy required?NoYesYes
Is there any quota?NoYesYes
Does the employer need to provide insurance?Employers can choose whether or not to provide medical insurance for EP holdersEmployers 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.

If you are looking to apply for a Work Permit or Employment Pass for your foreign workers, you can check out these guides:

Set work pass expiry reminders with Payboy HR software!

With our Payboy HR and Payroll software, you can actually set work pass expiry reminders so as not to miss the pass renewal dates, giving you 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 assist.

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