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Work Permit: hiring an existing construction worker

If you are in the construction sector, you can hire existing construction workers who are already working in Singapore. Find out the requirements and how to apply.

At a glance

Who are eligible Existing construction workers from non-traditional source (NTS), North Asian sources or People’s Republic of China (PRC).
When you can start applying
  • With the current employer’s agreement: any time while their Work Permit is valid.
  • Otherwise: starting from 40 days before their current Work Permit expires.
Last day to apply 21 days before the current Work Permit expires.
How long it takes Within 1 week, unless more information is required.

Why hire an existing worker

You may consider hiring workers who are already working in Singapore to:

  • Benefit from experienced workers and a faster deployment time.
  • Save on the cost of bringing in new workers.
You can use the Foreign Construction Workers Directory System (FCWDS) to search for existing workers who are eligible for transfer. The FCWDS is created by the Singapore Contractors Association.

Transferring existing workers with current employer's agreement

If the current employer agrees, you can apply for existing workers while their Work Permits are valid.

The following requirements apply to workers from non-traditional sources or the People’s Republic of China, depending on whether you are:

Taking over the remaining Work Permit termShow

Requirements

The Work Permit must have:

  • Been approved under a prior approval (PA).
  • A remaining validity of at least 2 months when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit Remaining duration of the existing Work Permit.
Levy rate
  • Higher skilled: $300
  • Basic skilled: $700

Getting a new term using prior approvalShow

Requirements
  • You must have a valid prior approval (PA).
  • The worker’s Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit Based on the duration of the PA, also subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Levy rate
  • Higher skilled: $300
  • Basic skilled: $700

Getting a 2-year term using man-year entitlement (MYE) waiverShow

Requirements
  • The workers must have at least 3 years of construction experience in Singapore.
  • The Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit 2 years, subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Levy rate
  • Higher skilled: $600
  • Basic skilled: $950

Transferring existing workers without getting agreement

You can also hire existing workers without getting the current employer’s agreement.

The following requirements apply to workers from non-traditional sources or the People’s Republic of China, depending on whether you are:

Getting a new term using prior approvalShow

Requirements
  • You must have a valid prior approval (PA).
  • The worker’s Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit Based on the duration of the PA and subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Levy rate
  • Higher skilled: $300
  • Basic skilled: $700

Getting a 2-year term using man-year entitlement (MYE) waiverShow

Requirements
  • The workers must have at least 3 years of construction experience in Singapore.
  • The worker’s Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit 2 years and subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Levy rate
  • Higher skilled: $600
  • Basic skilled: $950

When you can apply

You can apply for the transfer 40 to 21 days before the worker’s Work Permit expires.

However, if the current employer has already renewed their Work Permit by this time, you will not be able to apply for these workers.

Timeline for applyingShow

The timeline for you to submit the Work Permit application is as follows:

Timeline for applying

MOM processes renewals and applications on a first come, first served basis. This means that:

  • If the existing employer has already renewed the Work Permit, you will not be allowed to submit the Work Permit application.
  • If you submitted the Work Permit application before the existing employer renews the permit, the renewal will not be allowed.

As an employer of existing workers, what can I do to keep my workersShow

Existing employers are given priority to renew your workers’ permits earlier than 40 days before expiry.

If you want to keep your workers, you should renew their Work Permits early, upon receiving the renewal notice.

We will SMS or email your WP Online administrator if another employer submits an application for your workers. Your administrator will receive another notification after the application has been processed.

If the new employer’s application is approved:

  • The worker is still under your employment as long as the existing Work Permit under your company is valid. This ensures that you do not lose out on the man-year entitlement (MYE).
  • You will remain responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the workers until the new Work Permit is issued under the new employer.
  • You are responsible for settling any outstanding salary while the worker was under your employment.

How to apply for a transfer worker

To apply for a new Work Permit for a transfer worker:

  1. Follow the general Work Permit application process.
  2. Use the Application for Transfer Worker module on WP Online to monitor the status of workers you are planning to transfer in as well as your workers who are transferring out.
  3. Upon approval, you need to get the Work Permit issued.

Issuing the Work Permit

You can only request for the Work Permit to be issued when the current permit has been cancelled or expires.

Once the current Work Permit is no longer valid, we will SMS or email you. You will then have 14 days to get the new Work Permit issued. Otherwise the transfer approval will be revoked and overstaying fine may be incurred.

To get the Work Permit issued:

  1. Log in to WP Online.
  2. You will be asked to upload these additional documents:

We will deliver the new Work Permit card within 4 days after the documents have been verified.

Note:

  • If you need an earlier transfer, have a discussion with the worker and the existing employer to come to an agreement on when to can cancel the existing Work Permit.
  • Once the new Work Permit is issued, you will be responsible for worker’s upkeep and maintenance. Make sure you arrange for an acceptable accommodation for them before you take over their employment.

If you don't want to transfer

If you change your mind about the transfer after the new Work Permit application has been approved, you may need to send the worker home.

Use the Application for Transfer Worker module in WP Online to find out what you need to do.