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What’s the Difference Between the Singapore Employment Pass and Permanent Residence in Singapore?

By February 5, 2019March 21st, 2023No Comments
What's the Difference Between the Singapore Employment Pass and Permanent Residence in Singapore?

Singapore has long been an expatriate haven with citizens of all countries and job descriptions settling into the small island nation in search of career opportunities. Singapore provides a gateway to Asian economic opportunities, a stable government, world class infrastructure and education, as well as great culture. Whether a short-term assignment or an intention to settle long term, it is important to understand the common paths to compliant employment and eligibility to live and work in Singapore.


The Singapore Employment Pass

What is a Singapore Employment Pass and what are its benefits?

  • The most common work permit for white collar professionals, managers, and executives
  • Allows the holder to compliantly work in Singapore
  • Allows access to Singapore bank account opening, property rental, medical facilities
  • A current Employment Pass does not need to be cancelled in order to submit a new application

Who is eligible for the Singapore Employment Pass?

  • Those who have a job offer in Singapore
  • Those who work in a managerial, executive, or specialized job
  • Those who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3,600 (more experienced candidates need higher salaries)
  • Those with acceptable qualifications; degree from a reputable university, professional qualifications, or specialist skills

Application for an Employment Pass is open to all nationalities. Interested candidates or employers are recommended to first explore the Self-assessment Tool before engaging the services of third-party service providers.

Downsides to the Singapore Employment Pass

  • An Employment Pass is tied to a single employer
  • A new application must be applied for when switching employers in Singapore
  • No monthly Central Provident Fund (CPF) Contributions from your employer
  • 14-day Jobs Bank posting is required
  • Singapore government may scrutinize applications on the basis on nationality

Permanent Residence in Singapore

What qualifies as Permanent Residence in Singapore and what are its benefits?

  • Permanent Residence (PR) status allows someone to live, work, bank, and travel without visa restrictions
  • PR status holders do not need to acquire Employment Pass sponsorship, and are thus not tied to a single employer
  • Monthly Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions from one’s employer
  • PR status holders are allowed to purchase HDB housing
  • Path to Singapore citizenship—one of the world’s strongest passports

Eligibility for Permanent Residence in Singapore

  • Professional/Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers Scheme (PTS)
    • This is the most common and most competitive scheme
  • Global Investor Program (GIP)
    • This is the most-approved scheme, targeted at high net worth individuals only
  • Foreign Artistic Scheme
    • This scheme is the least common scheme, and targeted to famous and significant international artists

The Immigration and Customs Agency (ICA) utilizes a points system in order to assess applicant eligibility. ICA measures candidates across the following factors:

  • Type of work pass held (EP, PEP, S-Pass or EntrePass)
  • Duration of stay in Singapore
  • Marital status and if married to a Singaporean
  • Academic qualifications and institute
  • Monthly salary
  • Age
  • Kinship ties to Singapore

Interested candidates are recommended to seek third-party guidance on submitting applications to the support application assessment and prepare the necessary documents.

Downsides to Permanent Residence in Singapore

  • Must first hold a work permit for 2+ years
  • Singaporean government maintains tight control over population nationality, especially the national ethnic groups (Chinese, Malay, Indian) versus ASEAN citizens
  • CPF contributions are locked in country unless PR status is renounced
  • National Service for sons at the age of 18. According to, “Second-generation PRs who renounce their PR status without serving NS will face adverse consequences. Their failure to serve NS will be taken into account should they attempt to apply to return to Singapore to study or work.”

Take on the Singaporean Market with Confidence—and an Experienced Partner

Whether you’re seeking a Singapore Employment Pass or are ready to apply for permanent residence, working with an experienced expansion partner can make a huge difference. From document procurement to consular support, Velocity Global’s suite of services that includes its global Employer of Record solution and global immigration assistance can help you with either option. If you’re ready to break into the Singaporean market with world-class immigration support on your side, let’s talk.