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SPass vs EP (Employment Pass) in Singapore What are the key differences for these Singapore Work Visas?

Are you considering working in Singapore and unsure about the differences between the Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass? Understanding these two types of work visas is crucial for securing the right visa for your needs. We will provide an overview of both the EP and S Pass, including eligibility criteria, application processes, key features, and benefits.

SPass vs EP
SPass vs EP

We will also compare the two visas in terms of salary criteria, quota restrictions, and family privileges. Stay tuned for updates from the Ministry of Manpower and make an informed decision when choosing the right work visa for your future in Singapore.


In Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower oversees the issuance of work passes, including Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass, which are crucial for foreign employees seeking to work in Singaporean companies.

The process of applying for an Employment Pass (EP) involves meeting certain criteria set by the Ministry of Manpower. Applicants must hold a job offer from a Singaporean employer, earn a minimum qualifying salary, and possess relevant qualifications and experience. On the other hand, the S Pass is typically for mid-skilled foreign employees. It requires applicants to meet different eligibility criteria, such as a set minimum salary and qualifications.

Work permits, such as the EP and S Pass, play a significant role in maintaining a balance in the labour market and ensuring that skilled foreign workers complement the local workforce in Singapore. They not only help attract talent but also contribute to the economy's growth and development.

Overview of Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass

The Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass are two primary work permits in Singapore designated for foreign employees employed by Singaporean companies.

  1. One of the key differences between the EP and S Pass lies in the eligibility criteria. To qualify for an EP, the applicant must hold a job offer with a minimum monthly salary of SGD 5,000 and possess specialised skills or qualifications. On the other hand, the S Pass is targeted at mid-skilled foreign workers earning a minimum monthly salary of SGD 3,150.

  2. Singaporean companies play a crucial role in sponsoring both permits. While the EP application is typically submitted by the employer on behalf of the foreign employee, the S Pass application requires the employer to meet criteria related to quota restrictions to employ foreign workers.

Importance of Understanding the Differences

Understanding the distinctions between Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass is critical for foreign employees and Singaporean companies navigating the work permit landscape.

Both EP and S Pass are work permits designed for different levels of skilled foreign workers in Singapore. The EP is typically offered to highly skilled professionals, managers, executives, or specialists who earn a higher monthly salary and meet stringent criteria. On the other hand, the S Pass is targeted at mid-skilled employees with a lower salary threshold.

Employers play a crucial role in adhering to the specific requirements and obligations associated with each type of work permit as per the Ministry of Manpower regulations.

Differences Between Employment Pass and S Pass

The disparities between Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass encompass eligibility criteria, renewal processes, and obligations for both employers and foreign workers in Singapore.

EP is typically for high-income professionals with a fixed minimum monthly salary, whereas S Pass targets mid-skilled individuals with a specific salary requirement.

EP renewal relies on the applicant's position, salary, and employment history, while S Pass needs no educational qualifications but considers work experience and salary.

Employers offering EPs must contribute to the CPF fund, provide a suitable work

environment, adhere to labour laws, and notify MOM of any changes. S Pass holders must earn a minimum wage, have proper health insurance, and follow work regulations strictly.

Eligibility Criteria for EP and S Pass

The eligibility criteria for Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass in Singapore revolve around qualifications, wage thresholds, and the expertise required for the respective job roles.

For an Employment Pass (EP), a minimum qualifying salary of SGD 4,500 per month is required, along with a degree from a recognised institution. The EP applicant must possess specialised skills and expertise.

On the other hand, the S Pass requires a lower minimum fixed monthly salary of SGD 2,500, with a diploma or degree qualification from a reputable institution. The specific skill sets for the S Pass include technical job roles that require vocational training or relevant work experience.

Validity and Renewal Process

The validity and renewal procedures for Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass play a pivotal role in ensuring the continuous employment of foreign workers by Singaporean companies.

Employment Passes (EP) and S Passes typically have a validity duration of one to two years, subject to approval by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore. It is crucial for employers to initiate the renewal process well in advance of the pass expiration date to avoid disruptions in the employee's work status.

When renewing an EP or S Pass, the employer must submit an application through the Ministry of Manpower's online portal, providing updated information about the employee and the company. It is essential to ensure all required documents are submitted accurately and within the specified timeframe to comply with regulatory requirements.

Levy Requirements for Employers

Employers in Singapore must adhere to levy obligations associated with hiring foreign workers under Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass, governed by the Ministry of Manpower regulations.

These levy requirements are a crucial aspect of employing foreign talent in Singapore. Companies hiring foreign workers on EP or S Pass are required to pay levies as part of the government's efforts to regulate the inflow of foreign manpower and ensure job opportunities for locals. The levy rates vary based on factors such as the worker's qualifications and the industry sector they are employed in. Employers are responsible for timely payment of these levies to avoid fines or penalties, with the Ministry of Manpower conducting regular checks to ensure compliance.

Employment Pass (EP) Overview

The Employment Pass (EP) offers foreign employees working in Singapore various benefits, including family privileges and the opportunity to work for a Singapore-registered company.

One of the key advantages of holding an EP is the eligibility to bring immediate family members to reside in Singapore. This provision is particularly appealing to expatriates seeking a seamless transition for their loved ones. EP holders have access to a wide range of employment opportunities across different sectors in Singapore due to their legal status.

Working for a Singapore-registered entity while on an EP comes with a set of responsibilities, such as complying with local labour laws and contributing to the country's social security schemes. These responsibilities ensure that foreign employees integrate well into Singapore's workforce, promoting a harmonious work environment for all involved.

Key Features and Benefits

The key features and benefits of the Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore comprise work authorisation, family privileges, and the ability to be employed by a Singapore-registered company.

One of the significant advantages of holding an EP in Singapore is the seamless work authorisation it provides, allowing individuals to pursue professional opportunities in a thriving business hub. EP holders can avail themselves of various family provisions, such as the option to sponsor their immediate family members to join them in Singapore, fostering a conducive work-life balance. Being employed by a Singapore-registered company under the EP opens doors to a diverse range of career prospects and networking opportunities, further enhancing the professional development of foreign employees.

Application Process for EP

The application process for an Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore involves submitting the necessary documents, meeting the eligibility criteria, and potentially seeking assistance from immigration consultants.

Once you have gathered all the required documents, the next step is to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This includes having a fixed monthly salary that meets the minimum threshold, possessing relevant educational qualifications, and securing a job offer from a Singaporean employer.

If you find the application process overwhelming, you may consider enlisting the help of experienced immigration consultants who can guide you through the intricacies of the EP application. These consultants can assist with document preparation, provide insights on navigating the approval process, and offer valuable advice on resolving any potential issues that may arise.

S Pass Overview

The S Pass serves as an alternative work pass in Singapore for foreign employees, offering opportunities to work for Singaporean companies within stipulated quota requirements.

It is designed for mid-skilled foreign workers, providing a crucial avenue for companies to hire talent that may not meet the criteria for an Employment Pass (EP).

Applicants must meet specific eligibility criteria, including a minimum salary threshold and educational qualifications, ensuring that only qualified individuals are granted the S Pass.

Companies applying for S Passes are subject to quota restrictions, preventing over-reliance on foreign labour and promoting the hiring of local talent.

Key Features and Benefits

The key features and benefits of the S Pass in Singapore encompass employment opportunities for foreign workers, work permit eligibility, and adherence to stipulated quota requirements.

The S Pass is a work visa designed for mid-skilled foreign employees, offering a balance between occupation eligibility and salary thresholds. Employers find the S Pass advantageous as it allows them to hire eligible non-residents, contributing to diversification and enhancement of their workforce. The S Pass scheme enables companies to meet their manpower needs efficiently while complying with the Singaporean government's regulations on foreign labour. This facilitates better workforce planning and supports businesses in meeting their operational requirements.

Application Process for S Pass

The application process for an S Pass in Singapore involves meeting specific eligibility criteria, submitting the required documentation, and securing approval for foreign employees seeking work permits.

Before applying for an S Pass, the employer must ensure that the candidate meets the minimum criteria set by the Ministry of Manpower. This includes having a fixed monthly salary that meets the current requirements, possessing relevant educational qualifications, and meeting the skill assessment criteria.

Once the eligibility is confirmed, the employer needs to gather the necessary documents, such as copies of the candidate's educational certificates, passport details, and the completed application form. These documents are then submitted via the online portal or through authorised agencies for processing.

After the submission, the Ministry of Manpower reviews the application, conducts the necessary checks, and issues the S Pass approval if all requirements are met. It is essential to keep track of the application status and be prepared to provide additional information if requested during the evaluation process.

Comparison Between EP and S Pass

A comparative analysis between Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass in Singapore involves evaluating salary criteria, quota restrictions, and family privileges extended to foreign employees under each work pass.

EP is typically granted to professionals, managers, executives, and technical specialists, whereas S Pass is for mid-skilled workers. EP holders are required to meet a higher minimum salary benchmark compared to S Pass holders, reflecting the level of expertise and qualifications needed in their respective roles. EP has no quota restrictions, allowing companies to hire unlimited EP holders based on their business needs, while S Pass has a quota system in place to regulate the number of S Pass holders a company can employ.

EP holders have certain family benefits, such as eligibility to apply for Dependant's Passes or Long-Term Visit Passes for their family members, enabling them to accompany the EP holder in Singapore. On the other hand, S Pass holders do not have access to these family benefits, which might be a deciding factor for foreign workers considering relocating with their families.

Salary Criteria

The salary criteria for Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass in Singapore are pivotal determinants in the approval and issuance of work permits for foreign employees.

For individuals seeking to work in Singapore, meeting the specified salary thresholds is crucial as it reflects their qualifications, skills, and the value they bring to the job market. The EP salary criteria, set higher than the S Pass threshold, signifies positions requiring a certain level of expertise and experience.

Compliance with these salary requirements is not only instrumental in obtaining the necessary work permit but also in ensuring that companies adhere to the regulatory standards set by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). By establishing these thresholds, the government aims to regulate the inflow of foreign labour and prioritise roles that contribute significantly to the economy.

Quota Restrictions

Quota restrictions applicable to S Pass in Singapore regulate the number of foreign workers companies can employ.

These quotas are set to ensure a balance between the local and foreign workforce and to encourage companies to invest in training and upgrading the skills of their employees. Companies are required to abide by the quota limitations when hiring foreign workers under the S Pass schemes. Failing to comply with these quotas can result in penalties or restrictions on future hiring abilities.

Along with the quota restrictions, companies are also obliged to pay the Skills Development Levy, which is aimed at funding workforce development initiatives and skills upgrading programmes. This levy is calculated based on the company's total monthly wage bill and must be paid for all foreign employees holding EP or S Pass.

Family Privileges

Family privileges granted under Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass in Singapore encompass Dependant's Pass eligibility for legally married spouses, unmarried children, and access to Long-Term Visit Pass.

Expatriates holding an Employment Pass or S Pass in Singapore can avail themselves of various benefits for their families, ensuring a smooth transition to their new home. Legally married spouses are eligible for Dependant's Pass, facilitating their stay and even allowing them to work in the country with a Letter of Consent. Unmarried children under the age of 21 can also qualify for this pass.

The Long-Term Visit Pass offers extended visit durations for parents, common-law spouses, handicapped children, and step-children. This inclusive approach not only supports the foreign worker but also enhances their family's quality of life during their time in Singapore.

Latest Updates from Ministry of Manpower

The Ministry of Manpower in Singapore periodically releases updates concerning work permits, Employment Pass (EP), S Pass regulations, and related initiatives affecting foreign workers.

Recently, the Ministry of Manpower introduced new regulations to streamline the application process for Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass holders, aiming to attract high-skilled professionals. These changes include enhanced eligibility criteria, such as minimum salary thresholds and educational qualifications. The Ministry has tightened enforcement measures to ensure compliance with work permit regulations, imposing stricter penalties for violations and enhancing monitoring mechanisms. T

hese adjustments aim to strike a balance between protecting local job opportunities and meeting the evolving needs of Singapore's economy for foreign talent.


Choosing the right work visa in Singapore involves a comprehensive evaluation of Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass attributes, aligning with the needs of foreign employees and the requirements of Singaporean companies.

When considering an Employment Pass (EP), one should take into account the eligibility criteria, which typically require more experienced and higher-skilled foreign professionals. On the other hand, the S Pass is suitable for mid-skilled workers. Language proficiency, educational qualifications, salary thresholds, and job roles play crucial roles in deciding between the two visa types. Understanding the requirements and implications of each permit is imperative to ensure smooth employment transitions and compliance with Singapore's laws and regulations.

Choosing the Right Work Visa for Your Needs

When deciding on the suitable work visa, individuals and companies in Singapore must evaluate the requirements, benefits, and implications of both Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass to align with their specific needs.

For individuals seeking an Employment Pass, it is crucial to meet the eligibility criteria, which include a fixed monthly salary of at least $5,000 and possess relevant educational qualifications. On the other hand, the S Pass is typically considered for mid-skilled non-manual workers who earn a minimum monthly salary of $3,150.

Both visas offer distinct advantages, where the EP provides a higher level of flexibility and the possibility of family sponsorship, while the S Pass offers a simplified application process and a shorter processing time.

Summary of Key Differences between EP and S Pass

The distinctions between Employment Pass (EP) and S Pass in Singapore encompass eligibility requirements, quota restrictions, salary benchmarks, and family privileges, impacting the employment landscape for foreign workers.

EP, intended for highly skilled foreign professionals, demands a minimum salary threshold, typically higher than what is required for an S Pass. EP holders are not subject to quota limitations, giving more flexibility to companies seeking specialised talent.

On the other hand, the S Pass has specific criteria based on qualifications and experiences, with a cap on the number of S Pass holders a company can employ, aimed at balancing the foreign workforce composition in Singapore.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between S Pass and EP in Singapore?

The main difference between S Pass and EP in Singapore is the eligibility criteria. S Pass is targeted towards mid-skilled foreign workers, while EP is for high-skilled foreign professionals. This means that the minimum salary requirement and educational qualifications are different for both passes.

What are the key differences in terms of quota and levy for S Pass and EP in Singapore?

S Pass and EP holders are subject to different quota and levy rules. For S Pass, there is a quota on the number of foreign workers a company can hire, and a foreign worker levy is applicable. However, EP holders are not subject to any quota or levy.

Is there a difference in the duration of validity for S Pass and EP in Singapore?

No, the norm is normally 2 years for both.

Are there any restrictions on the types of jobs that S Pass and EP holders can do in Singapore?

Yes, there are restrictions on the types of jobs that S Pass and EP holders can do in Singapore. S Pass holders are only allowed to work in certain skilled roles, while EP holders can take up both skilled and non-skilled roles. Additionally, EP holders are also eligible to start their own business in Singapore.

Can S Pass and EP holders bring their families to Singapore?

Yes, S Pass and EP holders can bring their families to Singapore.

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