5 things to note on the application of a work visa in Singapore

work visa application


The Government of Singapore encourages foreign talent and business investors to visit, live and work in Singapore, so their skills and the capital generated can contribute to the economic growth of the country.

With this in mind, the government has adopted transparent and inclusive immigration policies to encourage more foreign talent and expertise in the country. This article aims to provide an overview of the different employment work visas available and highlight some of the important things to note when applying for a work visa in Singapore. 

Work Visa in Singapore

The employment work visa in Singapore is issued by authorities under either a “work permit” or “work pass”, which allows foreigners to take up temporary or permanent paid work in the country. Any professional and trained international who wants to work in Singapore may apply for a visa through either a designated employment agent (EA) or the potential employer only.

Types of Work Visa

There are different types of employment work visa available for different types of international workers in Singapore. Here is a list of some of the most popular visas and applicants that may be qualified:

  • Personalized Employment Pass (PEP) – High-earning professionals who already have a current work pass or are international professionals.
  • Short-Term Employment Pass (S Pass) – Qualified mid-level workers who earn at least $2,200 monthly and meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Work Permit (Foreign Worker) – Semi-skilled foreign workers who are employed in the construction, manufacturing, marine or services sector in Singapore.
  • Employment pass (E Pass) – International workers, managers or executives that earn at least $3,600 monthly and meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Entrepreneur Pass – International entrepreneurs wishing to establish and run a new Singapore company
  • Training Employment Pass – International professionals who undergo practical training and receive at least $3,000 monthly
  • Miscellaneous Work Pass – Foreigners in Singapore wanting to take up a short-term job assignment of up to 60 days.
  • Dependent’s Pass – Pass for the partner and children of E Pass and S Pass holders.

Basic requirements for Singapore Work Visa

Although most of the criteria for each work visa will differ, foreign workers that wish to work in Singapore need to fulfil some basic requirements as listed below:

  • The applicant can only work within the scope of work as mentioned in the Singapore government issued work permits.
  • The applicant must be of at least 18 years of age
  • The applicant must hold a valid passport.

5 Important Things to Note on The Application of a Singapore Work Visa

  • The applicant must not take part in another business or start their own business
  • The applicant must work only in the chosen occupation, and for the employer indicated in the work pass or work permit
  • The applicant must not marry a Singapore citizen or permanent resident in or outside Singapore without having the approval from the Ministry of Manpower.
  • The applicant must reside only at the address set by the employer at the start of the employment.
  • The applicant must carry the original work permit at all the times for proof to any public officer.

It should also be noted that under the work permit initiative, the basic skilled worker in the construction sector can only work for a maximum period of 14 years. After that, the worker will need to be upgraded to a higher skilled trade.

How to apply for a Singapore Work Visa?

If you wish to apply for a Singapore work visa, you must follow the steps in the table below:

StepWho Is In ChargeOutcome
Submit the applicationEmployer or Employment AgentApproval or rejection letter in-principle
Prepare for the workers’ arrivalEmployer or Employment AgentSecurity bond, insurance, etc.
Get permit issuedEmployer or Employment AgentNotification letter
Register fingerprints, biometrics and photos (if required)Potential EmployeeAcknowledgment of card delivery
Receive cardEmployer or any authorised recipientWork permit card

To submit an application, you must follow the steps below:

  • Have a written consent from the foreign worker for the mobile application development.
  • Log into the site online with CorpPass.gov.sg
  • Fill out the application form.
  • The total fee to get a work visa is $60. You will pay the application fee of $30 and will be required to pay the balance when the applicant has been granted the work visa. You can make payment using any of the appropriate means stipulated and accepted by the Ministry of Manpower such as General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO), Visa, MasterCard or eNets debit.
  • Once the application is successfully submitted, you can check the status of the application after 7 days and continue the process as listed in the table above

It should be noted that the potential employee is not required to be in Singapore at the time of work visa application.

Appeal for Work Visa Rejection

A work visa will usually be denied if the applicant does not meet the eligibility criteria. However, it is possible to appeal a denied work visa. All that is required is submission of all documentation to support your case online. The appeal process may take up to three weeks from the date of filing. It is best to seek legal advice on the appeal if you are not sure on how to proceed.


To conclude, it is important for individuals who have the requisite requirements and qualifications to take advantage of the encouraging labour market and several employment work visas in Singapore, by following the steps outlined above to ensure a successful work visa application. However, the role of employment agents and employers of labour cannot be overemphasized in the application process, as they are the only ones in Singapore that can process the application for a potential employee.

Having said that, potential employees should exercise due diligence and ensure that they meet the requirements to avoid wasting time and resources of the employment agents or their future employers.

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