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Tips on getting an S Pass in Singapore

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Are you thinking of heading to Singapore to work and live? An S Pass issued by the Ministry of Manpower is a common visa for mid-level skilled staff (e.g. technicians) wanting to settle in this bustling city.  Employers apply for an S Pass on behalf of their future employee.

 

For job seekers, this means two things – 

  • You need to have a job secured before you can apply for the right to work and live in Singapore
  • Since your employer is largely handling the process, you are largely outside of the process - it’s largely a waiting game for you

Applicants will be assessed on a points system, taking into account multiple criteria. S Pass applicants accumulate points based on how far they meet the criteria.

 

Below we cover important factors that will increase your chances of getting a successful S Pass application.


(Want to learn about the other types of work visas? Check out our selection of guides on work visas in Singapore.)

Take the Self Assessment Tool (SAT) ​

The first thing you should do is take a  Self Assessment Tool Test (SAT) provided by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This test will help you understand the requirements needed for a successful application and also let you know if you qualify for an S Pass in Singapore.

 

The SAT test does not guarantee your application getting approved or rejected but if your test shows that you are eligible for an S Pass, the MOM has indicated that there is a 90% chance that you will get your application approved.

 

Before taking the test, we recommend having scanned copies of your passport, educational certificates, salary history and resume/CV on hand to help you complete the form.

Review the fixed monthly salary

Salary plays a huge role in your application being successful. You are required to have a fixed monthly salary of SGD $2,200 and above.  If you have more experience in the work force, your salary has to be higher than the minimum salary listed above.

Ensure you have the appropriate qualification or employment history

Bachelor’s degree and diploma holders are beneficial for those applying for an S pass. Technical certificates can be considered as well. These are, very broadly, courses that train the applicant to be a qualified technician or specialist in their chosen field. The certification should comprise of at least one year of full-time study.

 

If you do not have a degree/diploma, it can be compensated with an excellent employment history and high salary. Each application is evaluated based on its own merits – but we find candidates with a degree or diploma typically have an easier time being processed and approved.

Know the company’s current quota of foreign workers

The Singapore government is committed to ensuring that local Singapore citizens and permanent residents are not losing out to expat and foreign workers. For this reason, the number of S Pass holders a company can hire is limited by a quota.  Business owners: if you have never applied for an S Pass, you would then need to declare your business activity for calculating your quota.

Under the quota, the number of S Pass holders a company can hire is capped at –

  • 15% of the company’s total workforce in the services sector
  • 20% in all other sectors

The number of S Pass holders a company can employ is capped at a sub-quota, or Dependency Ceiling (DC), of 20% of the company’s total workforce. You can calculate your quota requirement for the S Pass here.

Prepare for the S Pass levy

The S Pass levy is a pricing mechanism that works to regulate the number of foreign workers in Singapore. Business owners need to pay the levy for all S Pass holders in their company. The levy liability starts from the day the S Pass is issued and ends when the pass has been cancelled or expired.

 

For the services sector, the levy rate is as follows –

 

Tier

Quota %

Monthly levy rate

Daily levy rate

Basic/Tier 1

Up to 10% of the total workforce

$330

$10.85

Tier 2

Above 10% to 15% of the total workforce

$650

$21.37

For all sectors (excluding services), the levy rate is as follows –



Tier

Quota %

Monthly levy rate

Daily levy rate

Basic/Tier 1

Up to 10% of the total workforce

$330

$10.85

Tier 2

Above 10% to 20% of the total workforce

$650

$21.37

For all sectors, the S Pass quota will be counted within the Work Permit quota. Business owners need to pay their levy through GIRO. Find out more information on how to pay the employer levy for the S Pass.  

 

Arrange medical insurance

Before you can issue an S Pass, you must buy medical insurance for the pass holder. The requirement to purchase and maintain medical insurance is a condition that has to be met with for an S Pass.

 

The insurance coverage must be a minimum of $15,000 per year and cover inpatient care and day surgery.

S Pass co-pay arrangements 

You can have a co-pay arrangement with the  S Pass holder if the requirements listed below are met –

  • The medical treatment is not for work-related inpatient expenses
  • The co-pay amount is reasonable and does not exceed 10% of the worker’s monthly salary
  • The duration co-payment does not exceed 6 months
  • The co-payment option is explicitly in the employment contract or collective agreement and has the worker’s full consent

Submitting S Pass medical insurance

You would then need to submit the medical insurance details online before you request to issue an S Pass, and also submit the new details online if there are any changes to it. You can submit your details for S Pass medical insurance here.

 

You need to update online if the following details have been changed –

  • Name of insurer
  • Insurance policy number
  • Insurance policy commencement date
  • Insurance policy expiry date

It is strongly advised to get a Work Permit (WP) online account to make it easier when you need to update your employee’s medical insurance. Registration is free.

Getting a Dependant’s Pass for family members on an S Pass

From 2018 onwards, S Pass holders who have a fixed monthly salary of at least SGD $6,000 are eligible for a Dependant’s Pass for their family members (read the media release here for more information about the changes here).

 

A Dependant’s Pass allows spouses and children of Employment Pass or S Pass holders to join them in Singapore. For them to be eligible, they need to be a legally married spouse or unmarried children under 21 years of age, including legally adopted children.

 

Take note – If your family members are not eligible for a Dependant’s Pass, they can qualify for a Long Term Visit Pass.

Understand the other factors ​in a successful S Pass application

All of the above factors are important and must be followed when it comes to applying for an S Pass in Singapore but other factors do play a part as well – 

  • Type of job (e.g. professional, specialist or technician)
  • Number of years of relevant work experience

Need help in applying?

At Sleek, we help people get their S Pass on a daily basis. Crafting an application is an art – we understand the rules and regulations that lead to MOM approvals and rejections. We have an excellent track record of approvals and successfully appealing previously rejected S Pass applications.

 

Increase your chances of approval and let us handle your employment visa needs – get in touch with us today.

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