When it comes to a small country like Singapore, it has no shortages of rules and regulations, especially when it comes to their work passes. For many new entrepreneurs who have worked blood, sweat and tears to establish their enterprise, applying for work passes under their company for new hires seemed to be a complicated and confusing process. But don’t let some silly paperwork get in the way of expanding your business. Here’s a basic guide on how to apply for work passes under your company.

Nature of Business

Prior to applying for a work pass, it is recommended for you to check if the nature of your business or the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code coincides with your business activities. For example, if your business is by nature a consultancy, listing the nature of your business as manufacturing will be inconsistent with your business activities and this can jeopardise your chances of a successful work pass application.

Just recently, we encountered a case where the authorities inquired on an application under a company with a manufacturing classification due to the low headcount and lack of factory space for a labour-intensive sector. So, clarify the nature of your business and ensure it adheres to the guidelines of the SIC.

Business Activity Declaration

If you are applying for a work permit or S Pass for the first time, you must declare your business activity prior to submitting the application. Based on your declaration, the authorities will assign your organisation to the most relevant sector (this is usually in accordance with the nature of your business as stated above). This is important because your sector will determine the number of Work Permit and S Pass holders you can hire.

To declare your business activity, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a CPF (Central Provident fund) account which is a compulsory comprehensive savings and pension plan for working Singaporeans and permanent residents, primarily to fund their retirement, healthcare, and housing needs in Singapore. If you do not have an account, you can create one here.
  • Contribute CPF for your local employees for at least 1 month.
  • If you are in the manufacturing sector, have a valid Factory Notification or Registration.
  • In some cases, you may be required to submit copies of licences, such as the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) licence for food businesses or food manufacturers.
  • For additional information on business activity declaration, click here.

Type of Work Pass

Identify the type of work pass you are applying for. Singapore has a multitude of work passes that are used for different purposes, which is why it is crucial to understand which work pass is suitable for your new hire. Here are some examples of the different passes you can acquire.

  • Employement Pass (EP)

For foreign professionals, managers and executives.

Candidates need to earn at least $4,500 a month and have acceptable qualifications.

  • S Pass

For mid-level skilled staff.

Candidates need to earn at least $2,500 a month and meet the assessment criteria.

  • Entre Pass

For eligible foreign entrepreneurs wanting to start and operate a new business in Singapore.

  • Work permit for foreign workers

For high-earning existing Employment Pass holders or overseas foreign professionals.

The PEP offers greater flexibility than an Employment Pass.

  • Letter of Consent (LOC)

For eligible spouses or children of EP holders who hold aDependant’s Pass, or an LTVP/LTVP+ (Long-Term Visit Pass) issued by ICA.

The LOC allows the holder to work in Singapore. The employer must apply for the LOC.

Job Posting / Check Quota

To promote fair employment practices and improve labour market transparency, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has made it compulsory for employers submitting Employment Pass and S Pass applications to first advertise on MyCareersFuture and fairly consider all candidates to prevent discriminatory hiring.

The Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) guidelines must be followed by all employers. Failure to do so may result in work pass privileges curtailed.


Work Pass Account Registration (WPAR) is a portal for business employers to register for online accounts, including Employment Pass Online, Work Permit Online, and declaring your business activity. This is crucial if you are an employer applying for S Passes or Work Permits for the first time because the MOM processes the working pass documentation you submitted through your EPOL/WPOL and would subsequently release the results on the respective accounts.

Therefore, if you are a business owner applying for work passes for the first time, ensure that you set up a work pass account in order to go through the entire documentation process.

If you are still uncertain about the process of applying for working passes under your company, get in touch with our Lead Immigration Specialist now to find out more!

At Transform Borders, we offer strategic consultation to our clients and assist with the job posting process as well. This is to ensure your work pass application is in line with the Fair Consideration Framework and more importantly, to ensure the chances of success for your new hires!