3 Easy Facts About Foreign Employment In Singapore

3 Easy Facts About Foreign Employment In Singapore

Are you planning on hiring foreign employment in Singapore? If you are a business owner setting up a business in Singapore or already have a business in the country, you might consider hiring foreign employment. Before you start posting hiring advertisements, it’s a must that you get a full overview of the whole foreign employment scene in the country. Find out, the listed countries where you can employ work from, the qualifications set by the Ministry of Manpower. Learn about the different government passes given, and take a look at the salary guides for each hired work.

3 Interesting Facts About Foreign Employment in Singapore You Should Know

1. Who can work in Singapore?

Employment in Singapore is governed by the Ministry of Manpower. In the recent years, the government has established stricter laws that limit the employment of foreigners in Singapore. This limitation is because of the unwanted competition created by foreigners with the locals, and the government created stricter laws to protect its citizens.

Now, the main question. Who can work in Singapore? The answer to this question depends on the type of work being discussed. The three main categories for work-related passes are:

  • Professional
  • Skilled or semi-skilled
  • Trainees and Students


Anyone can apply for a professional position provided that they meet the requirements set out by the Ministry of Manpower as stated in the Employment Act of Singapore. There are quotas implemented through that determines how many foreign professionals you can hire.

Skilled or Semi-skilled Workers

For skilled workers, there is no limit or list of nationalities who can apply. The application is open to all nationalities. For semi-skilled workers, on the other hand, the requirements are different.

For Construction, Marine Shipyard Sector & Process – only those coming from the countries listed below can apply:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Non-traditional sources (NTS):
    India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and the Philippines
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    Hong Kong (HKSAR passport), Macau, South Korea, and Taiwan

For Manufacturing & Services  – only those coming from the countries listed below can apply:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    Hong Kong (HKSAR passport), Macau, South Korea, and Taiwan

2. What are the Types of Passes?

The Ministry of Manpower gives different types of passes according to the nature of employment in Singapore. It is best to determine your type of business structure before considering hiring foreigners. Employment in Singapore for foreigners will be determined by the types of passes they qualify for. These passes are as follows:


  1. Employment Pass – this type of pass is for foreigners who are managers, executives or specialists. The minimum monthly salary for someone applying for an Employment pass is $3,600. Please note that this salary is fixed. You cannot change your foreign employee’s salary after getting the pass. The foreigner you will hire must have a good educational background from a good university, professional qualifications or specialise expertise.
  2. EntrePass – this is for a businessman who wants to start a business or company in Singapore. Your company must at least be 6 months old the day you apply for an Entree Pass. Note that if your business is in any of the following nature then you are not eligible for an Entree Pass:
  • Coffee shops, hawker centres, food courts
  • Bars, nightclubs, karaoke lounges.
  • Foot reflexology, massage parlours.
  • Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, herbal dispensing businesses.
  • Employment agencies.
  • Geomancy business.3. Personalised Employment Pass – this type of pass can be for Employment Pass Holders who earn at least $ 12,000 fixed monthly salary. An overseas foreign professional with a fixed monthly salary of at least $ 18,000.

Skilled and Semi-Skilled Workers

  1. S-Pass – this is for skilled mid-level class of worker who earn a fixed rate of at least $ 2,200 per month. The worker applying must have attained at least 1 year of study, or a diploma or degree holder. He or she can also be a holder of technical certificates or special courses.
  2. Work Permits – the required age must be at least 18 years old.
  3. Work Permit for Foreigners – these are semi-skilled workers in the construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, and service sector. For more information on the requirements click the link below:http://www.mom.gov.sg/passes-and-permits/work-permit-for-foreign-worker/sector-specific-rules
  4. Work Permit for Foreign Domestic Workers – this pass is for foreign nationals applying for a domestic job in Singapore. For further details click the link below:
  5. Work Permit of Confinement Nanny – this pass is for Malaysian nationals who work as confinement nannies. They are allowed to work 16 weeks from the birth of their employer’s child. For more details click the link below:
  6. Work Permit for Performing Artiste – this is the pass for performing artists such as singers or dancers for the entertainment sector. For more details click on the link below:


3. Who is Considered Executives in Singapore?

The Ministry of Manpower defines executives as employees who hold supervisory or executive duties and functions. These functions can be any of the following:

  • Making decisions concerning issues of discipline, hiring, termination of employment, and employee performance.
  • Creating business strategies and policies for the company or enterprise
  • In charge of managing or running the business


Being knowledgeable about the rules concerning foreign employment in Singapore will help you a lot in getting the required passes. Knowing which foreign nationality are not eligible for a position in your business can save you a lot of time and money. And following the criteria required by the Ministry of Manpower will equate in you getting your work permits or passes faster, which again saves you time, effort and money. In the long run, you want to run a business that complies with the regulations of the country, and not be like others who are setting up their enterprises for ruin by disobeying the law.