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Work Permit - Before you apply

Prior Approval


What is Prior Approval?

Construction companies must have Prior Approval (PA) from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to employ Foreign Workers from the Non-Traditional Source (NTS) countries and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

The PA indicates the number of Foreign Workers a company is allowed to bring in from the above countries. It also determines the number of workers who can have their Work Permits renewed, or who can be transferred from another company in Singapore.

PAs are given based on:

  1. The duration of the Work Permits applied for;
  2. The number of full-time local workers employed by the company over the past three months as reflected in the company's CPF contribution statements;
  3. The number of man-years allocated to the company (for main contractors) or
  4. The man-years directly allocated from the company's main contractor (for sub-contractors); and
  5. The remaining number of company's quota available.

Who should apply?

All companies submitting new applications, renewals, and changes in employer for NTS/PRC construction workers should apply for Prior Approval before making Work Permit applications.

Companies may employ NTS or PRC construction workers who have worked with any employer for a cumulative period of two or more years in the construction industry without the need for Man-Year Entitlement (MYE). Hence, Prior Approval is also not needed for such workers.

The levy payable for basic skilled worker will be higher than the higher skilled worker, regardless of the MYE. You may view the levy rates here.

Companies employing construction workers from Malaysia and North Asian Sources need not apply for Prior Approval.


Types of Prior Approval and validity periods

Please note that the balance of MYE of the expired PA will be returned to the MYE certificate seven days after the expiry date.

For NTS construction workers:

Type
Use of Prior Approval
Validity
New

For recruiting new NTS workers with Skills Evaluation Certificates/Skills Evaluation Certificates (Knowledge) from their home countries.

The workers are required to sit for the Skills Evaluation Certificate (Knowledge), formerly known as the Skills Evaluation Certificate if they do not possess the required certificate.

Five months
Transfer/Renewal
For transfer of NTS workers currently working in Singapore and Work Permit renewal of NTS workers

For construction workers from the PRC:

Type
Use of Prior Approval
Validity
New

For recruiting new PRC workers with Skills Evaluation Certificates/Skills Evaluation Certificates (Knowledge) from their home countries.

The workers are required to sit for the Skills Evaluation Certificate (Knowledge), formerly known as the Skills Evaluation Certificate if they do not possess the required certificate.

Six months
Transfer/Renewal
For transfer of PRC workers currently working in Singapore and Work Permit renewal of PRC workers.
Five months

When to submit Prior Approval applications?

Prior Approval applications must be submitted before the MYE's expiry date.


Application

To apply for Prior Approval (PA), a company must have:

  • A valid Building Construction Authority (BCA)* or Singapore List of Trade Subcontractors (SLOT) Registration Certificate;
  • For main contractors:

    • - The company must have a valid MYE Certificate; and
  • For sub-contractors:

    • - MYE directly allocated from the main contractor.
* Under BCA's Contractor Registration System, the Supply workheads (SY) are not acceptable for PA application.

The completed application form and required documents can be sent by post to Construction Permit Section, Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764. Alternatively, you may submit the application via WP Online.

Applications submitted by post will be processed within 14 working days. The results of the application/PA letter will be mailed to the company. Application submitted via WP Online will be processed within the next working day.

For more details and to apply, please refer to:


Appeals for rejected applications

Appeals can be made when Prior Approval applications are unsuccessful.

Appeals should be:

  • In writing to the Work Pass Division, stating the reasons for appeal; and
  • Submitted within one month of the previous application's outcome and within the MYE validity period.

Alternatively, you may re-submit the Prior Approval application via WP Online after you have addressed the rejection reason(s).


Cancelling/Withdrawing Prior Approval

The sub contractor or the main contractor may request for the cancellation or withdrawal of the Prior Approval. You can submit the request with the reason(s), name and designation of the requestor, using your:

  • Business's email account; or
  • Company's letterhead.

H: Partial PA withdrawal is not allowed.


Application for change of Prior Approval type

To apply for change of Prior Approval (PA) Type after approval, the employer has to submit the following documents by post to Construction Permit Section, Work Pass Division, Ministry of Manpower, 18 Havelock Road, Singapore 059764.

  • A company's appeal letter stating the type of conversion. The letter has to be in company's letter-head and signed by a managerial staff/director/partner/sole-proprietor of the company;
  • The support letter issued by main contractor confirming on the change of PA Type.

The processing time is 14 working days.

Alternatively, employer may submit the change of PA Type request via WP Online. The application will be processed within the next working day.

The change of PA Type will be processed as a new application with the validity period remaining unchanged.

Important Information

    1. The original validity date of the PA remains unchanged. Request for extension of PA expiry date is not allowed.
    2. The number of Man-Years applied remains unchanged.
    3. The following validity period of PA is required for the change of PA type and PA type for PRC construction workers submitted via the different mode:

       

      Type of Request Mode of Request Minimum Validity Period of PA
      Change of PA Type WP Online 7 days
      Post 21 days
      Change of Construction PA for PRC workers (from "NEW" to other types) WP Online 37 days
      Post 51 days
    4. Request for change of PA type is not allowed once the MYE has expired
    5. Partial change of PA type is not allowed.

Disputes by the main contractor over a sub-contractor’s Prior Approval application

A main contractor who disputes the Prior Approval (PA) given to a sub-contractor should write to the Work Pass Division within seven days after the PA has been granted to sub-contractor.

Last updated on 13 June 2013 08:42:45