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Licensing requirements

Before you apply for your licence

Entities and individuals that are actively involved in putting job seekers in touch with employers and vice versa on a regular basis, and/or could substantially influence the outcome of the employment terms and conditions are required to obtain an employment agency licence if such activities are carried out in Singapore. This is regardless of whether the entity or individual is based in Singapore or overseas and regardless of whether the job seekers are placed in jobs in Singapore or overseas.

Employment agency works are activities carried out to facilitate the placement of a worker with an employer. They may include:

  • Communication with any worker for the purposes of assisting in job applications
  • Collation of biodata or resume of any worker to help secure employment
  • Submission of work pass application on behalf of employer or worker to MOM

A licence is not required when recruiting persons for the sole purpose of employing them for your own company/business. A licence is also not required if you are outsourcing your own staff (i.e. you are the employer who hire and pay the staff), to your customers' premises/offices.

The following activities and entities are exempted from the need to obtain an employment agency licence:

  • Wholly web-based job portals
  • Entities and individuals who maintain and operates any job bulletin board and who does not otherwise carry on an employment agency
  • Entities who submits work pass applications and who does not otherwise carry on an employment agency
  • Recognised universities or educational institutions
  • Community Development Councils
  • Employment and Employability Institute Pte Ltd
  • Singapore Workforce Development Agency

For more details on exemption, please refer to pdfEmployment Agencies (Exemption) Order 2011.

Licensing criteria

You must meet the following criteria before you may apply for an employment agency licence:

  • You must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident at the point of application. If you are a foreigner applying for an employment agency licence for a business/company/limited liability partnership (LLP)/Limited Partnership (LP), you are required to obtain an Employment Pass which will allow you to work in that particular business/company/LLP/LP.
  • You must hold the following positions in your organisation, as registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
    • Owner (for Sole-proprietorship and Partnership)
    • Managing Director, Director or Agent (for Company)
    • Partner (for Limited Liability Partnership)
    • General Partner (for Limited Partnership)
  • You must have one of the following principal activities, as registered with ACRA.
    1. ‘Maid Agencies' (SSIC 78103)
    2. ‘Employment Agencies (excluding maid agencies)' (SSIC 78104)
    3. ‘Executive Search Agencies' (SSIC 78105)
  • You cannot be an undischarged bankrupt.
  • You cannot have any previous court convictions records (particularly under Women's Charter, Children and Young Persons Act, Penal Code, Immigration Act, Employment Agencies Act and Employment of Foreign Manpower Act) in Singapore or elsewhere, of an offence involving dishonesty or human trafficking.
  • You are not a director of or involved in the management of an employment agency whose licence had been revoked.

To check if you are qualify for an employment agency licence, you may use the self assessment tool in the attached link:

Do I qualify for an employment agency licence?

Key Appointment Holder

  • Your partner, owner, manager, director, managing director, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer and any person who has general control and management of the administration of any specified employment agency work (known as key appointment holders) must not be an undischarged bankrupt.
  • Your key appointment holders do not have any conviction records (particularly under Women's Charter, Children and Young Persons Act, Penal Code, Immigration Act, Employment Agencies Act and Employment of Foreign Workers Act) in Singapore or elsewhere, of an offence involving dishonesty or human trafficking.
  • Your key appointment holders are not directors of or involved in the management of an employment agency whose licence had been revoked.

To check if you are eligible to be registered as a KAH, you may use the self assessment tool in the attached link:

Do I qualify to be a Key Appointment Holder?

Certificate of Employment Intermediaries

Under the New Employment Agency (EA) Regulatory Framework, a new Certificate of Employment Intermediaries (CEI) will replace the current Certificate for Employment Agencies (CEA). The CEI aims to equip EA personnel with the necessary knowledge of relevant legislation and regulations. This ensures that the EAs understand the law and their obligations, thereby raising their professional knowledge and service to their clients.

For more information on Certificate of Employment Intermediaries (CEI).

Your obligations as an employment agency operator

a) What should be included in the written service agreement between you and employers of foreign domestic workers

Employment agencies (EAs) are required to sign a written service agreement with employers of foreign domestic workers that satisfies a set of requirements. Please refer to the pdfEmployment Agency Comprehensive Licence Condition 16 for the requirements.

EAs can continue to use the existing standard service agreement that is administered under the accreditation framework as it fulfills the set of requirements. Alternatively, EAs may use a pdfrecommended service agreement.

b) Staff registration card

Upon successful registration of the EA personnel, EAs are required to issue all registered personnel with the registration card in accordance to the specifications prescribed in the pdfEmployment Agencies Rules 2011.

Please be informed that failure to issue a registration card to the EA personnel in the prescribed form will be an offence. All EA personnel are also required to show their registration cards to prospective or new clients and allow them to take down any information on the cards.

pdfSample of Registration Card

docTemplate of EA Personnel Registration Card

c) Placement Declaration

It is important for MOM to have the latest information on the type of placement your employment agency is doing. Access to Work Permit Online (WPOL) and Employment Pass Online (EPOL) application will only be given to employment agencies who have declared to MOM through Online Business Licensing Service that they are placing foreigners. MOM will not issue WPOL/EPOL account to employment agencies who have declared as not placing foreigners.

Employment agency licensees are required by Employment Agency Licence Conditions 3 and 14 (for Comprehensive Licence) to keep the MOM updated on the following information. If there has been a change in your UEN number/business entity type, you also need to submit a new application for your employment agency.

Item Action Working days required
(excl. day of submission)
Remarks
Change in employment agency details
  • operating address
  • email address
  • new branch applications
  • accreditation details
Log in to OBLS Immediate Where applicable, prior approval for appropriate land use should be sought from the relevant authorities, e.g. Housing & Development Board, JTC Corporation, Urban Redevelopment Authority.
Update branch information
  • Open a new branch
  • Update Existing Branch address 
  • Termination of Branch
Log in to OBLS  3 Where applicable, prior approval for appropriate land use should be sought from the relevant authorities (e.g. Housing & Development Board, JTC Corporation, Urban Redevelopment Authority).
Update Foreign-Domestic Worker (FDW) interim address Register FDW Interim Address  Immediate  
Updates to ACRA information (Company Details section)
  • Changes to SSIC
  • Changes to Registered address
  • Addition /Removal of directors/partners
  • Change in company/business/limited liability partnership (LLP) name (no change to UEN)
Log in to OBLS 7
Tick the ‘Update Company Details’ checkbox for the ‘Update Company Details’ section in OBLS so that the information displayed would be received by MOM.
Any other updates Log in to OBLS 3  
Updates of details of licensee and
employment agency information

 Log in to OBLS
User Guide for updating licence
information on OBLS
 pdfDownload
Notes for using OBLS:

  1. If there is any part of the update has been rejected, the entire update application is considered rejected. Another online submission is required.
  2. Please ensure the unit number of your address is properly entered before submission. The OBLS form will reload after the postal code is entered.
  3. Updating of licence information near the licence expiry date will cause a delay in licence renewal. You should avoid submitting any updates 2 weeks prior to date of licence expiry. Updating of information is available via OBLS throughout the year.
  4. Write down the application ID (eg UXXXXXXXXX) that you receive after submitting the update application. The application ID allows you to check the status of your application in OBLS

For limited partnerships, updates can be should be made in writing (together with the necessary supporting documents) and sent to the following address:

The Employment Agency Licensing Branch
Foreign Manpower Management Division
1500 Bendemeer Road, #02-01
MOM Services Centre
Singapore 339946

Last updated on 22 December 2014 10:10:33