Skip to main content
Velocity Global acquires iWorkGlobal to create the largest global Employer of Record in 185 countries and 50 United States. Read more >
APACGlobal Payroll

Singapore Employment Update: New Rules for Dependant’s Pass Holders

waterfront in singapore

On May 1, 2021, Singapore implemented a new rule affecting Dependant’s Pass (DP) holders working in the country. The regulation changes the requirements for DP holders seeking employment in Singapore.

Read on to learn about the details of the new rule and what DP holders must do to work in Singapore compliantly. 

Can a Dependant’s Pass Holder Work in Singapore?

Singapore originally created the DP to allow spouses and children of Employment Pass holders or S Pass holders to join them in the country

Before May 1, 2021, DP holders were eligible to work in the country if they obtained a Letter of Consent (LOC) from an employer. As part of this process, DP holders needed to find an employer that would offer them a job and write a letter outlining the terms and length of employment. DP holders with a valid LOC were eligible to work in Singapore for up to two years after receiving approval from the country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM). However, the expiration date of the LOC could not exceed the expiration date of the DP itself.  

Starting May 1, 2021, obtaining a LOC is no longer sufficient for DP holders looking to legally work in Singapore. While current DP holders with a LOC can continue working in Singapore until the expiration date of their letter, new applicants must undergo the same process as all other foreigners seeking legal employment. 

Dependant’s Pass Holders Must Apply for a New Work Permit in Singapore

DP holders wishing to continue work in Singapore must apply for one of three permits: the Employment Pass, S Pass, or Work Permit.

There is one exception to this rule change. DP holders who are business owners can continue to run their business under a LOC if they meet both the following criteria

  • The DP holder must be a sole proprietor, partner, or company director owning at least a 30% share in the business. 
  • The DP holder’s business must hire at least one Singaporean/Permanent Resident, give that employee Central Provident Fund (social security) contributions for at least three months, and pay that employee at least three times the Local Qualifying Salary (currently $1,400).

How To Decide Between Three Types of Work Permits in Singapore

DP holders must use the following criteria to determine which permit to apply when their LOC expires:

Employment Pass: The Employment Pass is designed for the most experienced and qualified overseas employees in Singapore. An employment pass is valid for two years after the first application, while renewals are valid for up to three years. Professionals applying for an Employment Pass must:

  • Have a job offer that guarantees a minimum monthly salary of at least $4,500, though more experienced candidates should earn higher salaries.
  • Work in managerial, executive, or specialized positions, and have skills suited explicitly for these roles. 
  • Hold a university degree from an accredited institution, which the MOM defines on its website

S Pass: The S Pass is for mid-level skilled employees seeking work in Singapore. The S pass is valid for up to two years, and pass holders can renew before expiration. S Pass holders must: 

  • Earn a minimum monthly salary of $2,500, though more experienced professionals need to earn a higher salary. 
  • Hold a degree or diploma, though the MOM will also consider technical certificates that required at least one year of full-time study.
  • Have work experience in a field related to their job position in Singapore.

Work Permit: Singapore designed its Work Permit for foreign professionals with basic or entry-level professional skills. Like the S Pass, the Work Permit is valid for two years and renewable. There is no minimum salary requirement for Work Permit applicants. The MOM outlines other requirements on its website. These requirements differ by the following sectors:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Marine Shipyard
  • Process
  • Services

DP holders currently working under a LOC are not guaranteed to earn an Employment Pass, S Pass, or Work Permit after their LOC expires. With a limited number of permits available, the MOM will evaluate applicants based on their salary, qualifications, and experience. 

Keep Up With Local Labor Regulations in Singapore and Beyond

Staying ahead of labor laws in foreign markets like Singapore requires constant attention from HR teams. Velocity Global is here to help. 

Velocity Global’s international employment experts help hundreds of companies ensure labor compliance in over 185 markets across the world. By staying up to date with changing requirements, Velocity Global gives HR teams peace of mind that their overseas workforce remains compliant so HR can focus on what matters most to them: taking care of their people. Reach out to Velocity Global today to find out how our experts ease your burden in foreign markets from Singapore to every corner of the globe.