Singapore Manufacturing Sector: Work Permit Requirements

Singapore Manufacturing Sector: Work Permit Requirements

To employ foreign workers for the manufacturing sector, you will have to meet specific requirements for business activity, worker’s source country or region, quota and levy.

These requirements are additional and specific to the manufacturing sector. You should refer to the more general conditions and requirements for Work Permit as well.

Requirements to be classified as manufacturing sector

Your company can be considered to be under the manufacturing sector if it meets all of these requirements:

  • Has a valid factory notification or registration.
  • Use machinery to manufacture or produce items from raw materials.
  • Operates in a designated industrial setting area.
  • (For food processing companies) Has a valid AVA licence to operate a food processing establishment or slaughter-house.

Make sure that your company continues to meet the requirements, or it may get reclassified into a different sector.

Change business process or relocate

If you plan to change your business processes or relocate, you need to give us the details to assess your business classification.

You can make the request using iSubmit, choose option 6: Work Permit Application Matters for Business sectors.

Examples of manufacturing activities
  • Manufacturing of electronics components
  • Manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and biological products
  • Manufacturing of basic industrial acids and alkalis
  • Manufacturing of oil or gas field machinery
  • Manufacturing of waxes, polishes and deodorants
  • Electroplating, hot-tip galvanising, die-casting and heat treatment
  • Semiconductor wafer fabrication plants
  • Manufacturing or processing of food or drinks
Examples of non-manufacturing activities
  • Assembly of ready-made parts
  • Bulk-breaking (e.g. cutting from big to small customised sizes)
  • Change of product colour
  • Basic modification (e.g. cutting or trimming of parts)
  • Sole printing (e.g. printing of posters, T-shirts, name cards)
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Testing or quality control
  • Packing or repacking

Note: If you are in the manufacturing sector, you should not deploy your Work Permit and S Pass holders to work in a retail or food and beverage setting or outlet. You need to employ them under a separate services account. To apply for a services account, write to the Work Pass Division using iSubmit.

Foreign worker eligibility

You can only hire foreign workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries, 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)
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    • Hong Kong (HKSAR passport)
    • Macau
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan


From 01 September 2023, you can employ migrant workers from Non-Traditional Sources (NTS) for a restricted set of occupations in the NTS Occupation List.

Learn more about NTS Occupation List

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 manufacturing 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
PRC Basic skilled (R2) 14 years
PRC Higher skilled (R1) 22 years
NAS, Malaysia All No maximum period of employment.

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. The levy rates are tiered so that those who hire close to the maximum quota will pay a higher levy.

The quota and levy rate for the manufacturing sector are as follows:

Quota Basic skilled – monthly Basic skilled – daily Higher skilled – monthly Higher skilled – daily
Basic Tier / Tier 1:
Up to 25% of the total workforce
$370 $12.17 $250 $8.22
Tier 2:
Above 25% to 50% of the total workforce
$470 $15.46 $350 $11.51
Tier 3:
Above 50% to 60% of the total workforce
$650 $21.37 $550 $18.09

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.

Qualifying for higher skilled worker levy

You pay less levy for higher skilled foreign workers. You can apply for the higher skilled worker levy rate for workers with the following certificates:

Type of qualification Certificates needed
Academic qualifications Malaysia – Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). If you wish to use a diploma or higher qualification, you need to produce a copy of the transcript or a letter from the institution stating the course duration.

North Asian sources (NAS) – High school certificates

People’s Republic of China (PRC) – Diploma

Skills Evaluation Test (SET)conducted by ITE SET Level 1 or National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Composite Assessment for Generic Manufacturing (CGM)
Market-Based Skills Recognition Framework (MBF)
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $1,600. You can update your worker’s salary using WP Online.
  • Worked at least 4 years in Singapore as a Work Permit holder.

Settling-in Programme

Before their Work Permits can be issued, first-time non-Malaysian Work Permit holders in the manufacturing 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)

Required safety courses

Foreign workers who handle metals and machinery in metalworking industry must take one of the following safety courses before their Work Permits can be issued:

  • Metalworking Safety Orientation Course (MSOC)
  • Apply Workplace Safety and Health in Metal Work

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 metalworking industry need to retake and pass the safety course based on these timelines:

If they have worked in the metalworking industry 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.

 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.

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