It was announced on the 3rd of March by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that Dependant’s Pass holders (DP) who are relying on a Letter of Consent (LOC) to stay in Singapore must apply and secure a work pass such as an Employment Pass, S Pass or work permit in order to work and stay in the country.

This new regulation is to ensure that the requirements of DP holders who wish to stay in the country reflect the requirements of other foreign workers in the country. This implementation by MOM will be set in stone by the 1st of May 2021.

If the latest requirements on securing your residency in Singapore is stirring a sense of panic within you, we would like to assure you that as long as you comply with the recent guidelines in a timely manner, you do not have to be worried! To assist you with this, we have come up with a guide on how you can navigate through these transitions without feeling lost.

For LOC holders

If you are currently holding a LOC with an upcoming DP renewal, it is highly recommended that you refresh your DP and then reactivate your LOC before the 1st of May so that you can have your LOC renewed for a longer term (which follows your renewed DP validity period). It would be a good idea to start your enrollment process at least a month before May, given that the processing time for renewal is approximately 3 weeks.

In the event that your DP remains valid for more than 6 months, the law enforcement agencies have informed the public that there is a possibility to apply for a one-off extension of your LOC until 30 April 2022, when you next renew your DP. However, it is not apparent at this point in time if this option will be available after the 1st of May. As such, we strongly advise you to look into this sooner than later to avoid any difficulties.

Companies who are hiring or have hired LOC holders

In the case of employers seeking employees who are LOC holders, you may still submit new applications before the change starts. And the period of LOC granted is likely to follow the period of validity of the applicant’s DP. For employers who intend to transfer their existing employees who are LOC holders to work passes should bear in mind and plan the following:

  • It is of utmost importance that you start paying a salary that matches the salary requirement for your employee to obtain a work pass before their LOC is no longer valid.
  • Do take note that authorities may question the sudden increase in salary—salary declared for the work pass application versus what the employee was being paid when holding a LOC.
  • As such, it is important to plan early and sieve out important details on your company’s finances, the employee’s responsibilities and the value they bring to your company to justify why your employee deserved a salary raise.

DP Holders who are business owners or plan to start a business

If you are carrying a LOC under your company, please be informed that employing a local staff member at the very last minute may not allow you to continue your LOC even if you have at least 30% shareholding in your company and are the sole owner, partner or director. In order for MOM’s system to show that you have at least 1 employee, you will need to contribute to their CPF for a period of 3 months. In conclusion, you are still required to renew your LOC or apply for an extension before the 1st of May.

If you are a DP holder who plans on starting your own business, the same process and requirements are applicable to you, which means you are required to wait for a period of 3-4 months after hiring a local employee to lodge your LOC application.

There will be additional details that will be released by MOM in May. In the meantime, we hope you take comfort in the fact that our dedicated team has assisted numerous LOC holders to get work passes even before this announcement was made. We are more than happy to help you find your way through these changes so that you may not feel overwhelmed with the current system. For more information and topics of your interests, send in your immigration-related questions here.