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Employment of Foreign Manpower Act

The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) regulates the employment of foreign employees and protects their well-being. Find out what it covers and your key responsibilities as an employer under the Act.

What is the EFMA

The Employment of Foreign Manpower Act prescribes the responsibilities and obligations for employing foreign employees in Singapore.

It covers regulations and enforcement for:

  • Work passes
  • Offences

Who it covers

The EFMA covers any person issued a work pass by the Ministry of Manpower. Work passes include Employment Pass, S Pass and Work Permits.

Key responsibilities

The EFMA outlines responsibilities relating to work passes, including applications, cancellations, medical insurance, levy, cancellation and repatriation. For specific requirements, see the individual work passes.

Foreign employees who are covered by the Employment Act are entitled to:

You are encouraged to have a written employment contract with your foreign employees that covers these areas.

Note: For foreign domestic workers (FDWs), their well-being and entitlements are provided for under the EFMA. FDWs are not covered by the Employment Act. For guidelines on the well-being of FDWs, read the rest days and well-being for FDWs.

Report a possible infringement

If you want to report a possible work pass infringement, you can call our hotlines or submit your feedback online.

Penalties

The penalties for common offences under the EFMA are listed in the table:

Offence Penalty
Employing a foreign employee without a valid work pass A fine between $5,000 and $30,000, or imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both.
For subsequent convictions, offenders face a mandatory imprisonment and a fine between $10,000 and $30,000.
Contravening any condition of a work pass A fine up to $10,000, or imprisonment for up to 1 year, or both.
Making a false statement or providing false information in any application or renewal of a work pass A fine up to $20,000, or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both.
Receiving money in connection with an employment of a foreign employee A fine up to $30,000, or imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both.
Obtaining a work pass for a foreign employee for a business that does not exist, or is not in operation or does not require the employment of the foreign employee An imprisonment term of 6 months and to a fine not exceeding $6,000. Offenders may also receive caning.

Relevant legislation

For the full legislation, see the following:

Amendments

The EFMA was last amended in 2012. For a summary of the amendments, see the following:

Last Updated: 19 April 2016