Updates on Employment Pass Application during COVID-19

Feb 22 2021

COVID-19 has impacted the way we live, play and work. With countries closing borders and enforcing strict test regiment, the way we live and ‘navigate’ the world today has drastically changed.

Be it foreigners looking to work overseas or employers intending to bring in their employees, many find themselves confused and often overwhelmed by the rapidly changing regulations that reflect the volatile global situation.

Based on our experience in handling Employment Pass (“EP”) applications, we have developed the following checklist to help you in your EP application process, and addresses inquiries that you may have.

Things to Note before Approval of the EP Application

1. Minimum Salary Requirements

The Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) announced on 27 August 2020 that the minimum offered salary for EP applicants has increased:

  • Minimum offered monthly salary of S$4,500 (S$5,000 for those in the Financial Sector)
  • Applicants with more years of working experience are expected to earn more (e.g. someone with 10 years of experience is expected to earn around S$9,000)
  • Employers are advised to use the online Self-Assessment Tool (“SAT”) provided by MOM to check their candidates’ eligibility before applying for their EP

2. Fair Consideration Framework (“FCF”) Job Advertising Requirement

According to MOM’s FCF, hiring companies must first advertise vacant positions on MyCareersFuture for local jobseekers to apply and be fairly considered, before they can submit their EP applications on behalf of their foreign hires:

  • Applicable to both EP and S-Pass applications
  • Advertise for a period of 28 calendar days
  • EP and S-Pass applications can only be submitted after the 28-day period
  • Hiring companies must put in effort to consider local candidates who have applied for the advertised positions, and hire them first
  • Exceptions to job posting requirements:
    • Companies with less than 10 employees
    • Applicants with an offered monthly salary of S$20,000 or higher

Items to Note after the Approval of EP Application

Upon approval of the EP Application, MOM will issue an In-Principal Approval (“IPA”) Letter. This Letter is valid for six months from the date of approval. The applicant will need to make arrangements to come to Singapore during this period, otherwise the approval will be withdrawn.  

Steps for Applicant to Note When Travelling to Singapore (as of 10 February 2021)

  1. Apply for MOM Entry Approval within 60 days of the scheduled day of arrival:
    1. The hiring company has to apply for the MOM Entry Approval using its CorpPass for the applicant
    2. Please take note that the hiring company should have obtained the MOM Entry Approval before confirming the flight details and making payment
    3. The applicant is only allowed to enter on the approved dates stated in the MOM Entry Approval
    4. MOM Entry Approval is also required if the applicant is bringing in his dependants
    5. Each pass holder requires one MOM Entry Approval
  1. Keep updated on the necessary tasks that need to be done to enter Singapore, as indicated on MOM’s website:  
    1. Before entering Singapore, it is advisable that the hiring company checks what are the necessary tasks and tests required for pass holders to enter Singapore. This is especially necessary as the global COVID-19 situation is still volatile, as with Singapore’s regulations
    2. The requirements differ for different group of countries. More information can be found here: https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/entry-approval-requirements
  1. Upon his arrival in Singapore, the applicant has to go through the COVID-19 swab test at the airport

  2. He has to serve their Stay Home Notice (“SHN”) or wait for the COVID-19 swab test result to be out (depends on which country the pass holder comes from)

  3. Having obtained the necessary clearance, he has to go through the usual EP process to be issued the pass

Change in Arrival Plans

Do take note that the MOM Entry Approval is valid for three days. For an example, if the applicant applies to enter Singapore on 2 March, the entry approval granted will be valid on 1, 2 and 3 March.

If the arrival plan is rescheduled after the approved date(s), the hiring company will have to cancel the current entry approval and submit a new application indicating the new date.

COVID-19 Medical Insurance

Hiring companies have to cover all Work Permit, Training Work Permit, and S-Pass workers with COVID-19 medical insurance. The insurance must cover at least S$10,000 of the medical expenses incurred if workers develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive within 14 days of their arrival in Singapore. However, it is highly encouraged to cover EP holders or applicants as well, though it is not compulsory.

Bearing Costs if Applicant/Pass Holder Contracts COVID-19

For locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, the Singapore Government will pay for treatment and hospitalisation fees incurred. However, if the pass holder develops COVID-19 symptoms or is tested positive within 14 days of their arrival in Singapore, the Government will not cover the treatment cost:

  • For S-Pass holders, their employer is responsible to pay for the treatment cost
  • For EP holders, employers and pass holders should come to a mutual agreement on who to  bear the treatment cost or how the cost can be shared


If you feel that you still need an experienced consultant to offer advice on maximising your chances of approval and provide guidance on the application process, we are more than happy to assist you.

Kindly contact BusinessSolutions@RSMSingapore.sg