The Work Permit (WP) allows semi-skilled foreign workers from approved source countries to work in certain sectors such as Construction, Manufacturing, Marine Shipyard, Process or Services with sector-specific requirements. Employers are limited by a quota for their industry and have to pay a monthly levy for each worker.
Get an overview and key facts about the Work Permit for foreign workers.
Key facts about the Work Permit (WP) for foreign workers:
|Who it is for|
|Who can apply||
|What is the duration||
|Is it renewable||
|Passes for family||
|Quota and levy||
There are Sector-Specific requirements for all five sectors for recruiting Foreign Work Permit holders.
(click on the below type of Sector for specific requirements or image for general functions):
|Process Chart For Pte Ltd Co.
Stages of Pass
- Know Work Permit requirements by sector
- Know your quota and levy
- Declare business activity (For first-time employers)
- Apply for Man-Year Entitlement (MYE) (For Construction and Process sectors)
- Apply for prior approval (For Construction, Process, Marine Shipyard)
- Apply for in-principle support (For Process maintenance)
Before Arrival in Singapore:
- Apply for Work Permit
- Buy Security Bond
- Buy Medical Insurance and submit details
- Register the worker for Settling-In Programme (SIP)
Upon Arrival in Singapore:
- Send the worker to attend Settling-In Programme (SIP)
- Register worker’s accommodation address
- Send the worker for medical exam
- Get the Work Permit issued
- Register fingerprints and photo
- Receive the Work Permit card
- Pay the Foreign Worker Levy
As and when required:
- Notify MOM of any changes
- Apply for levy waiver
- Renew the Work Permit
- Replace the Work Permit
- Cancel the Work Permit
Security bond requirements for foreign worker
You must buy a security bond for each non-Malaysian foreign worker you employ. You can buy the bond at any bank or insurance company.
What is a security bond
A security bond is a binding pledge to pay the government if either you or your worker breaks the law or Work Permit conditions. The bond is in the form of a banker’s or insurer’s guarantee.
- You must buy a $5,000 security bond for each non-Malaysian Work Permit holder you employ.
- You cannot ask your worker to pay for the bond.
When to buy the bond
Before your worker arrives in Singapore, you must:
- Buy a security bond.
- Get your insurer to send the security bond details to MOM. It usually takes up to 3 working days.
- Ensure that the security bond takes effect when your worker arrives.
- Log in to WP Online to check the security bond status and print the security bond acknowledgement letter. Send your worker a copy of the letter.
If you do not complete the steps above, your workers will be refused entry into Singapore and you will have to pay to send them home immediately.
When will the bond be discharged
You will be discharged from the security bond liability for a worker only if you meet all of these conditions:
- You have cancelled the Work Permit.
- The worker has returned home.
- You did not breach any of the conditions of the security bond.
If all conditions are met, the security bond will usually be discharged one week after the worker left Singapore.
You’ll be notified by post when the security bond is discharged.
When the bond will be forfeited
Your security bond may be forfeited if any of these happens:
- You or your worker violates any of the conditions of the Work Permit or security bond.
- You don’t pay your worker’s salary on time.
- You fail to send your worker home when the Work Permit is expired, revoked or cancelled.
- Your worker goes missing.
You will not be liable for your workers’ violations (such as those relating to pregnancy) if you can prove that you have:
- Informed them of the Work Permit conditions they must comply with.
- Reported a violation when you first become aware of it.
Medical insurance requirements for foreign worker
You need to buy a medical insurance plan for each foreign worker you employ. You also need to submit the insurance details online before the Work Permit can be issued.
What it should cover
As an employer, you must buy and maintain medical insurance coverage of at least $15,000 per year for each Work Permit holder.
The insurance should cover inpatient care and day surgery, including hospital bills for conditions that may not be work related.
You can have a co-pay arrangement with the Work Permit holder only if all of the following 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.
You cannot pass on the cost of purchasing the medical insurance to Work Permit holders.
Submit insurance details
You need to submit medical insurance details online before you request to issue or renew a Work Permit, and when the details change.
To update the information, log in to WP Online.
You need to keep the following information up to date:
- Name of Insurer
- Insurance policy number
- Insurance policy commencement date
- Insurance policy expiry date
Settling-in Programme (SIP) for Work Permit holders
All first-time non-Malaysian foreign workers in the construction sector must attend the SIP to learn about their employment rights and responsibilities, and other useful information. From 1 December 2019, it is extended to manufacturing, marine shipyard and process sectors.
At a glance
Who must attend
All Work Permit holders who:
Note: From 1 December 2019, first-time non-Malaysian Work Permit holders in the following sectors also need to attend SIP:
When to attend
Is it mandatory
Your foreign worker must bring the following documents to the SIP training centre:
What is it
The SIP is a 1-day orientation programme to educate foreign workers on Singapore’s social norms, their employment rights and responsibilities, Singapore laws and where and how to seek assistance.
The topics include:
- Understanding Singapore
- Local practices and social norms
- Employment laws
- Employment and work injury compensation rights
- SGSecure and other key laws
Register for SIP
- To ensure that your foreign worker gets a training slot within the first 14 days of arrival in Singapore, you should register for the SIP early.
- You can register as soon as you know their arrival date.
- The Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) will conduct the SIP on behalf of MOM.
The number of Work Permit holders you can hire is limited by a quota. You must also pay a monthly levy for these workers.
You can get a waiver for your foreign worker levy payments only in certain specific situations. These include overseas leave and hospitalisation leave.
When you are holding a Work Permit either as Foreign Worker (FW) or a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW / Helper / Maid) and wish to upgrade to an S Pass, you can make it provided you meet out the stricter criteria set by MOM which you could check your eligibility by using the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) first before you proceed for such conversion or upgrade which is open to all Nationalities.
You can renew a Work Permit online 6 to 8 weeks before it expires. Before renewing, you also need to complete certain steps, such as checking your quota and extending the worker’s security bond and medical insurance.
If you employ Work Permit holders (Foreign Workers), you need to notify MOM of changes during their employment, including updates to company name and address, worker’s occupation, passport details, and residential address.
You must cancel a Work Permit if your worker no longer works for you or when the Work Permit expires. You must also discard the cancelled Work Permit card.
Due to CV-19 pandemic, MOM is currently allowing the existing Work Permit holder to transfer from the current employer to new employer when meeting some specific criteria.
Please refer to the attached Infographic for more details on Change Of Employer (COE). COE is currently known as Change Of Employer.
This special arrangement is currently allowed which is subject to end when the normal situation resumes with no travel restrictions, etc. Hence, please visit MOM website for latest update on this matter.
Please refer to MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg or www.cpf.gov.sg for more detailed information and up-to-date guidelines with regulations.
ACHI is one of the licensed Employment Agencies in Singapore. We will assist your work pass related applications and appeals at our level best with the regulatory authority Ministry Of Manpower (MOM) for successful outcome.