Singapore Construction Sector: Work Permit Requirements

A frame containing infographic of roadmap for Construction CoSingapore Construction Sector: Work Permit Requirements

To employ foreign workers for the construction sector, you will have to meet specific requirements for worker’s source country or region, quota and levy. These requirements are additional and specific to the construction sector. You should refer to the more general conditions and requirements for Work Permit as well.

Foreign worker eligibility

You can only hire foreign workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries or regions, age when applying and maximum period of employment.

Source countries or regions

You can employ foreign workers from these countries or regions:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Non-traditional sources (NTS):
    • India
    • Sri Lanka
    • Thailand
    • Bangladesh
    • Myanmar
    • Philippines
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    • Hong Kong (HKSAR passport)
    • Macau
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan

Age when applying

The minimum age for all non-domestic foreign workers is 18 years old. When applying for a Work Permit:

  • Malaysians must be below 58 years old.
  • Non-Malaysians must be below 50 years old.

Maximum period of employment

For the construction sector, the maximum number of years a foreign worker can work in Singapore on a Work Permit is as follows:

Source country/region Type of worker Maximum period of employment
NTS, PRC Basic-Skilled (R2) i.e. those holding SEC, SEC(K). 14 years
NTS, PRC Higher-Skilled (R1) i.e. those who have been upgraded through various means. 26 years
NAS, Malaysia All sectors No maximum period of employment.

Note: All workers can only work up to 60 years of age.

Quota and levy

The number of Work Permit holders that you can hire is limited by quota (or dependency ratio ceiling) and subject to a levy. Under the construction sector quota, you can employ 7 Work Permit holders for every full-time local employee. In addition to quota, NTS and PRC workers are subject to man-year entitlement (MYE) requirements. They may qualify for a waiver if they have at least 3 years of construction experience in Singapore. MYE does not apply to Malaysian and NAS workers. The levy rate is as follows:

Tier Monthly Daily
Malaysians and NAS – Higher-Skilled $300 $9.87
Malaysians and NAS – Basic-Skilled $700 $23.02
NTS and PRC – Higher-Skilled, on MYE $300 $9.87
NTS and PRC – Basic-Skilled, on MYE $700 $23.02
NTS and PRC – Higher-Skilled, MYE waiver $600 $19.73
NTS and PRC – Basic-Skilled, MYE waiver $950 $31.24


  • New PRC workers need to get the skills certification within the 3 months after their Work Permit is issued. Otherwise, they will be charged the unskilled worker monthly levy of $950, and the Work Permit cannot be renewed as long as the worker does not attain the skills certification.

Example: If the worker only manages to get the skills certification 7 months after the Work Permit is issued, the revised levy rate of $700 will apply only during the first 3 months of the Work Permit and upon getting skills certification. The differences in the levy rates paid for the 4 months in between these two periods will not be refunded. You can:


  • The daily levy rate only applies to Work Permit holders who did not work for a full calendar month. The daily levy rate is calculated as follows: (Monthly levy rate X 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.
  • If your Work Permit renewal involves changing between prior approval to MYE waiver, or vice versa, the change in levy rate will start on the 1st of the month following the expiry date of the permit.

Minimum percentage of Higher-Skilled (R1) workers

From 1 January 2018, at least 10% of your construction Work Permit holders must be Higher-Skilled (R1) before you can hire any new Basic-Skilled (R2) construction workers or renew the Work Permits of existing R2 contruction workers. From 1 January 2019, firms that do not meet the 10% R1 minimum will not be able to hire or renew R2 construction workers and will also have the Work Permits of any excess R2 construction workers revoked.

Levy bond

You will have to pay a levy bond for each Work Permit holder if:

  • Your workers’ Work Permits have been revoked because of unpaid levies.
  • You have been late in levy payments for at least 3 times in a 12-month period.
  • Your sole proprietorship has changed owner.
  • You are starting a new business entity to employ foreign workers. The business entities include:
    • Sole-proprietorship.
    • Partnership.
    • Incorporated business that has a paid-up capital of less than $50,000.

How much to pay

The amount of levy bond you need to pay depends on the worker’s skill level.

If your worker is You need to pay
Higher-Skilled or Basic-Skilled $600
Unskilled $2,000

How to pay the levy bond

Processing time: 3 working days Pay electronically using PayNow Corporate. Your company first needs to set up a corporate internet banking account. If you do not have one, please contact your bank. Thereafter:

  1. Log in to your corporate internet banking account.
  2. Choose PayNow (UEN) as the transfer option.
  3. Enter the Unique Entity Number (UEN) T08GA0019C9W2 as a payee.
  4. Enter your bill reference number in the following format <LBC + CPFSubmission No.>, e.g. LBC123456789A-PTE-01. Note: You need to indicate this bill reference number in the field provided in PayNow, or we will not know what the payment is for. If the field is not available, enter the number in the free text box.
  5. Enter the levy bond amount to pay:
    • $600 for higher-skilled or basic-skilled workers.
    • $2000 for unskilled workers.
  6. Make sure you see “WORK PASS DIVISION/ AG” as the registered payee name before you make the fund transfer. You will receive the bank’s notification confirming that the transfer is successful.
  7. Proceed with your work pass transaction after 3 working days. Your levy bond will be processed, we will also send you an acknowledgement receipt by post.

If you received a levy bond payment letter from us because your workers’ Work Permits have been revoked, we will need more time to process your levy bond. Follow the instructions on the letter, and we will contact you to advise on the next steps to reinstate your workers

  • You should only pay MOM using PayNow when instructed, by using the specific UEN and bill reference number provided. Otherwise, we will not process your payment
  • The levy bond monitoring period is usually 12 months(6 months for new companies). The levy bond will be released when this monitoring period expires. The bond monitoring period may be extended if there are more delays in levy payment.

Settling-in Programme

Before their Work Permits can be issued, first time non-Malaysian Work Permit holders in the construction sector must attend the Settling-In Programme (SIP).

What is Settling-in Programme (SIP) for Work Permit holder?

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.

Learn more about Settling-in Programme (SIP) Documents required Your foreign worker must bring the following documents to the SIP training centre:

  • IPA letter (full set)
  • Foreign worker’s passport

Required safety courses

Foreign workers in the construction industry must take one of the following safety courses before their Work Permits can be issued.

  • Construction Safety Orientation Course (CSOC)
  • Apply Workplace Safety and Health in Construction Sites

As soon as you get in-principle approval, register the workers for the course. They should take the course within 2 weeks of arriving in Singapore. The Work Permit cannot be issued until they take the course. As an employer, you are responsible for your workers passing the test. If they fail the course, they should retake it as soon as possible. They need to pass the course within 3 months of arrival or their Work Permit could be revoked.

Course requirements during employment

Foreign workers in the construction sector need to retake and pass the safety course based on these timelines:

If they have worked in the construction sector for They must pass the safety course
6 years or less Once every 2 years
More than 6 years Once every 4 years


  • When renewing a Work Permit, the worker’s safety course certificate must be valid for more than 1 month on the day of renewal. Otherwise the Work Permit will not be renewed.


Interview for selected companies

Some companies may be asked to go for an interview and submit documents about their business operations. This is to help MOM better understand their business activities. If your company is selected, you will receive an email on the interview details. It is compulsory for your ACRA-registered director to attend the interview.  


How to become a Building Construction Authority (BCA) registered Contractor?

eBACS is an online service for all CRS and BLS application types.

Contractors Registration System (CRS)

CRS Registration is required if you wish to tender or carry out public sector construction and construction-related projects in Singapore.

Builders Licensing Scheme (BLS)

A builders licence is required if you wish to carry out building works in Singapore where plans are required to be approved by the Commissioner of Building Control.

How often the Registry of Building Construction Authority (BCA) data is updated (synced) by MOM?

The data of BCA contractors’ registry is updated (synced) by MOM every Tuesday. Once you have successfully registered with BCA contractors’ registry the data will be synced with MOM’s portal automatically. In case of any missing of such data, you need to contact MOM for further assistance. Visit this Page for more details: https://www.bca.gov.sg/eBACS  

How to Become a SLOTS Registered Contractor?

1 FUNCTIONS & SCOPE OF THE SLOTS REGISTRY 1.1 Functions of the Registry The SLOTS Registry is administered by the Singapore Contractors Association Ltd to serve the procurement needs of government departments, statutory bodies, public and private sector organisations. 1.2 Scope of Registration There are four registration work-heads, namely Architectural & Finishing Works, Civil & Structural Works, Mechanical & Electrical Works and Equipment & Special Services. There are 14 for Architectural and Finishing Works, 12 registration trades for Civil & Structural Works, 7 for the Mechanical & Electrical Works and 6 for the Equipment & Special Services. 2 SUBMISSION OF DOCUMENTS With effect from 1 September 2022, all new SLOTS applications will be done via ONLINE at: https://www.scal.com.sg/membership/apply/slots SCAL will not accept any application via EMAIL and/or hardcopy submission. It is the applicants’ responsibility to ensure completeness of the submissions. Incomplete submissions will be rejected by SCAL. Please visit their online Page for more details.

Visit this Page for more details: https://www.scal.com.sg/membership/slots-application-tnc Visit this Page for online application: https://www.scal.com.sg/membership/apply/slots Click here to download the SCAL’s T & C Page.  


What is Prior approval (PA) for construction sector?

If your company is in the construction sector and wants to employ construction workers from non-traditional source (NTS) countries or China, you will need to get prior approval (PA) before applying for their Work Permits.

Learn more about PA

  Source of Information for all Work Passes & their related matters is from the Ministry Of Manpower, Singapore. Please refer to MOM website at www.mom.gov.sg for more detailed information and up-to-date guidelines with regulations.

Please CONTACT us if you wish to know more about this service or many other services.