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Calculation of Foreign Worker Quotas

Declaration of business activity

If you have never applied for a Work Permit (WP) or S Pass before, you are required to declare your organisation’s business activity*, before submitting any WP or S Pass applications. We will assess and assign your organisation to the most relevant industry, based on the business activity declared. The industry assigned then determines the number of WP and S Pass holders the organisation may recruit.

* For newly set up businesses

If your organisation has registered with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority for less than six months and does not have a Central Provident Fund (CPF) account, please approach the CPF Board to open an account. Your organisation should contribute CPF for your local employees for at least one month at the point of business activity declaration.

Please provide us the latest copy of the Record of Payment (CPF 90) through iSubmit. You may check the updated quota through WP Online after seven days. You should proceed to apply for Work Permit or S Pass only when there is available quota.

Your may access this online service from 8am - 10pm (Monday to Saturday), excluding public holidays. (SingPass is required)

We aim to process your request within two working days.

You may also declare your business activity by submitting the hardcopy application form to MOM’s Work Pass Division. Forms processed manually will take seven working days.

Second CPF Account

You may have already employed Foreign Workers for a business activity under an existing CPF account. If you wish to have a second CPF account to employ Work Permits and/or S Pass holders for another business activity, please write to the Work Pass Division with details on your organisation's existing and new business activities. We aim to reply you within 14 working days.

Please refer to the table to see if you are required to enclose any other supporting documents.

Calculation of quota

  1. The Controller of Work Passes uses your company’s Central Provident Fund (CPF) account to determine your local workforce and then uses that data to calculate your foreign worker (FW) quota.

    • Local workforce refers to full-time employees (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) employed by your company under a contract of service who have worked for a calendar month, and are receiving their monthly salary on time as well as CPF contributions similar to the industry norm. For MOM’s purposes, two part-time employees count as one local full time employee.
    • To cater for minor fluctuations in the number of local workers you employ, we look at the average of CPF contributions over a three-month period. If you make the CPF contributions by the 14th of the same month, it will be included in next month’s quota calculation. For example, if you pay your employees’ July contributions by 14 July, it will be included in your quota for August. The quota for August will be worked out using May, June and July’s CPF contributions. By making CPF contributions in the same month, companies that have recruited locals recently will be able to see their quota updated earlier.
    • If you would like to maintain your current practice of making CPF contributions in the next month, i.e. CPF contributions for August are made in September, you may do so. MOM will still use a three-month average to compute your foreign worker quota. 
    • With this change, it remains that any late payment or default of CPF contributions will affect your foreign worker quota. MOM will not consider late CPF contributions in our calculations, even if you settle your arrears and pay any interest or fines due subsequently.
    • To prevent abuse, local employees who receive CPF contributions from three or more employers will not be considered when computing the quota. Locals who work on a full time job for one employer and take a part-time job for another will not be affected. 
  2. Once your local workforce is determined, the maximum number of foreign workers you can hire is then calculated as a percentage of the maximum total workforce allowed based on the sectoral Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC).

    Max Total Workforce




    Local Workforce + Max. Foreign Workforce*
    * comprises of S Pass and Work Permit holders
    Max Foreign Workforce = DRC% × [Local Workforce + Max Foreign Workforce]
    Max Foreign Workforce = DRC% × Local Workforce 
    [100% - DRC%]
  3. Once you have exceeded your quota, new applications and renewals of your work passes (both WP and S Pass) may be rejected. If you are persistently above your quota, MOM will also cancel your excess work passes.
  4. For more information on the number of local workforce required, please refer to the Guidelines on the Calculation of Quota and Levy Bill or use Quota Calculator for Work Permits and S Passes.

Guidelines on the Calculation of Quota and Levy Bill

pdfSchedule of changes in Dependency Ratio and levy rates from Jul 2013 to Jul 2015
Quota Calculator for Work Permits and S Passes PDFDownload

Industry-specific conditions & requirements

Visit the following sections to see eligibility criteria for Foreign Workers in the different industries.

Last updated on 07 August 2014 06:58:29