How do I get an Employment Pass in Singapore?

What is an Employment Pass (EP)?

An Employment Pass (EP) issued by the Ministry of Manpower in Singapore is a work pass for foreign professional employees, managers, and owners of Singaporean companies. The pass allows you to live and work in Singapore and, depending on the salary criteria, bring family members with you to Singapore on a Dependant's Pass. The Employment Pass (EP) is initially issued for 1-2 years and can be renewed subject to meeting the COMPASS eligibility criteria of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Renewed Employment Pass (EP) are usually valid for 3 years.

Eligibility for Employment Pass

The criteria and eligibility for the Employment Pass (EP) in Singapore were revised in September 2023. Applicants for an Employment Pass (EP) are now evaluated against the COMPASS points-based system. There are two parts to the Employment Pass (EP) eligibility process in Singapore.

Part One - MINIMUM Employment PASS (EP) Qualifying Salary

Earn at least the Employment Pass (EP) qualifying salary, which is benchmarked to the top third of local professional, managerial, executive, and technical (PMET) salaries by age.

AgeCurrent EP qualifying salaryRevised EP qualifying salary from January 2025
23 or below$5,000$5,600
45 or above$10,500$10,700

There is a higher qualifying salary requirement for Employment Pass (EP) candidates applying for a role within the financial services sector in Singapore. Employment Pass (EP) candidates are required to have a salary of at least S$5,500 for the financial services sector, which increases progressively with age up to S$11,500 at age 45 and above.


If the candidate meets the minimum qualifying Employment Pass (EP) salary for their age, the next step is the COMPASS points-based system. Please note that if you do not meet the minimum qualifying salary for your age, the application for an Employment Pass (EP) will be automatically rejected by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in Singapore.

COMPASS is a points-based system for evaluating Employment Pass (EP) candidates. There are foundation criteria: Salary, Qualifications, Diversity and Support for Local Employment. Up to 20 points are awarded for each criterion. Additional bonus points are awarded if candidates and their organisation meet the requirements for the Skills and Strategic Economic Priorities criterion. A candidate needs 40 points to pass the COMPASS points-based system and to qualify for a Singapore Employment Pass (EP).

C1. Salary

Employment Pass (EP) candidate's monthly salary compared to salary benchmarks by sectorPoints
90th percentile and above20
65th to less than 90th percentile10
Below 65th percentile0

C2. Qualifications

Employment Pass (EP) candidate's qualificationPoints

Additional points are given for Employment Pass candidates with a bachelor's/undergraduate degree from:

  • A top 100 university based on QS World University Rankings and other highly-reputed universities in Asia
  • Singapore’s Autonomous Universities (NUS, NTU, SMU, SIT, SUSS, STD)
  • Other prestigious global universities endorsed by a Singapore government agency

Standard points are given for Employment Pass (EP) candidates with a bachelor's degree that do not meet the criterion above

  • Comparable to a bachelor’s degree in the UK system. This is determined by benchmarking to international recognition bodies, such as the UK National Information Centre for Recognition and Evaluation of International Qualifications and Skills (UK ENIC).
  • Additionally professional qualifications that are well-recognised by the industry and endorsed by a relevant Singapore government agency.

No degree-equivalent qualifications

  • No points will be awarded, however, if you manage to score 40 points overall, you can still be successfully issued with an Employment Pass (EP).

C3. Diversity

Diversity in the workplace is valued heavily, and if a candidate's nationality is not heavily represented in the organisation, additional COMPASS points are awarded on a sliding scale.

  • Fewer than 25 PMETs score 10 points by default.
  • At least 25 PMETs points depend on the share of the nationality amongst the organisation’s PMETs.
Share of candidate’s nationality among organisation’s PMETsPoints
Less than 5%20
5% to less than 25%10
25% or more0

C4. Support for Local Employment

Organisations that create opportunities for local employment and support career progression for locals are awarded additional points.

  • Fewer than 25 PMETs, your application will score 10 points by default.
  • At least 25 PMETs, your points will depend on your organisation’s local PMET share relative to its sector.
Organisation's local PMET share relative to its sectorPoints
50th percentile and above20
20th to less than 50th percentile10
Below 20th percentile0

C5. Skills Bonus (Shortage Occupation List)

Up to an additional 20 bonus points may be awarded to candidates with specialist skills that are in demand in Singapore. Check the job Shortage Occupation List (SOL) for more details to see if you qualify.

C6. STrategic Economic Priorities Bonus

For organisations that meet the criteria below, an additional 10 points can be awarded.

  • Undertaking ambitious investment, innovation and internationalisation activities in partnership with economic agencies
  • Endorsed by National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) as strong partners on company and workforce transformation activities

Exemption from COMPASS Points-BAsed Scheme for Employment Passes (EP)

If you meet the following criteria, your Employment Pass (EP) application in Singapore will be evaluated using the COMPASS points-based system.

  • Fixed monthly salary of at least $22,500
  • Applying as an overseas intra-corporate transferee
  • Filling the role for 1 month or less

How long does it take for an Employment Pass application to be reviewed in Singapore?

If your company is registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for Employment Pass (EP) online applications, a status update will be given within 10 business days. Typically, it takes two weeks to get the application outcome. For more complicated applications, it can take up to 4-8 weeks.

If your Employment Pass (EP) application is approved, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will send an In-Principle-Approval (IPA) letter to your employer. The IPA letter is valid for 6 months from the date it is issued.

What happens if an employment pass (EP) application is rejected?

If you meet the minimum Employment Pass (EP) qualifying salary and the application is rejected, your employer may submit an appeal within three months of the rejection date. Further qualifying documents and evidence supporting the Employment Pass (EP) application will need to be submitted.

Common reasons for Employment Pass (EP) applications being rejected in Singapore include:

  1. The employer did not advertise the job position on the My Careers Future - National Jobs Bank database website for the required period before the Employment Pass (EP) application was filed.
  2. The role does not meet the criteria for hiring a foreign worker, or the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) deems that it can be filled by a local worker.
  3. The salary, required qualifications, and work experience do not align with the advertised role.
  4. The employer is blacklisted by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) due to unfair hiring practices.

Can I bring my family to live with me in Singapore after the Employment Pass (EP) is approved?

To apply for a Dependent's Pass for your spouse and unmarried children up to the age of 21, you need a minimum monthly salary of S$6,000.

If you would like to bring your parents to Singapore, you will need a monthly minimum salary of S$12,000 to sponsor the Long Term Visitor Pass. Parents of an Employment Pass (EP) holder cannot be issued with a Dependant's Pass.

What should I do if my Employment Pass application is rejected?

Your employer can submit an appeal to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to appeal the rejection of the Employment Pass (EP) application. The appeal has to be submitted within 3 months. You cannot directly appeal the rejection with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and all appeals and supporting documents have to be submitted by the employer. You can help support the appeal by providing additional documentation and supporting evidence to your employer.

The outcome of the Employment Pass (EP) application rejection takes at least 3 weeks and the outcome of the Employment Pass (EP) rejection appeal can be checked online by your company's human resources department.