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Marine shipyard sector: Work Permit requirements

To employ foreign workers for the marine shipyard sector, you will have to meet specific requirements for business activity, worker's source country, quota and safety courses.

These requirements are additional and specific to the marine shipyard sector. You should refer to the more general conditions and requirements for Work Permit as well.

Requirements to be classified under the marine shipyard sector

The marine shipyard sector refers to shipyards and their contractors engaged in shipbuilding or ship repair activities in Singapore. To be classified under the marine shipyard sector, your company must meet both of these requirements:

  • Principal business activity is shipbuilding or ship repair.
  • Qualify as a shipyard or shipyard-sponsored contractor.

Being engaged in marine-related activities alone without meeting the requirements above will not qualify you under the marine shipyard sector. You may be classified under the services or manufacturing sector, as appropriate.

Principal business activity

Your company’s principal business activity registered with ACRA must be any of the following:

Activity Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC) 2010
Building of ships, tankers and other ocean-going vessels
(including conversion of ships into off-shore structures)
30111
Repair of ships, tankers and other ocean-going vessels 30112
Manufacture and repair of marine engine and ship parts 30113
Building and repair of pleasure crafts, lighters and boats 30120

To qualify as a shipyard or shipyard-sponsored contractor

You need to meet the requirements below:

If your company is a These requirements and benefits apply to you
Sponsoring shipyard
  • You need a certificate of registration (shipyard).
  • You must have a waterfront facility for shipbuilding or ship repair works.
  • You are able to support resident contractors and common contractors.
  • You don’t require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • You can apply for or renew Work Permits on your own.
Non-sponsoring shipyard
  • You need a certificate of registration (shipyard).
  • You must have a waterfront facility for shipbuilding or ship repair works.
  • You can support common contractors, but subject to approval.
  • You require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • You can apply for or renew Work Permits on your own.
Resident contractor
  • You must be supported by a specific sponsoring shipyard.
  • You don’t require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • Your sponsoring shipyard must apply for or renew Work Permits on your behalf.
Common contractor
  • You can be supported by several sponsoring or non-sponsoring shipyards.
  • You require prior approvals to apply for or renew NTS or PRC Work Permits.
  • The sponsoring or non-sponsoring shipyard must apply for or renew Work Permits on your behalf. Specific Work Permit applications or renewals must be made by the same shipyard that supported you for the prior approval applications.

Find out about prior approval and how to apply.

Foreign worker eligibility

You can only hire foreign workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries, age when applying and maximum period of employment.

Source countries

You can employ foreign workers from these countries:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Non-Traditional sources (NTS):
    • India
    • Sri Lanka
    • Thailand
    • Bangladesh
    • Myanmar
    • Philippines
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    • Hong Kong (HKSAR passport)
    • Macau
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan

Age when applying

The minimum age for all non-domestic foreign workers is 18 years old.

When applying for a Work Permit:

  • Malaysians must be below 58 years old.
  • Non-Malaysians must be below 50 years old.

Maximum period of employment

For the marine shipyard sector, the maximum number of years a foreign worker can work in Singapore on a Work Permit is as follows:

Nationality Type of worker Maximum period of employment
NTS, PRC Basic-skilled (R2) 10 years
NTS, PRC Higher-skilled (R1) 22 years
NAS, Malaysia All No maximum period of employment.

Note: All workers can only work up to 60 years of age.

Place of work and approved occupations

Work Permit holders must work within the shipyard’s premises.

NTS and PRC Work Permit holders can only be employed in approved occupations.

Quota and levy

The number of Work Permit holders that you can hire is limited by a quota (or dependency ratio ceiling) and subject to a levy.

Under the marine shipyard sector quota, you can employ 4.5 Work Permit holders for every full-time local employee.

From 1 January 2018, the marine shipyard sector quota will be reduced to 3.5 Work Permit holders for every full-time local employee.

The levy rate is as follows:

Category Monthly levy rate Daily levy rate
Higher-skilled $300 $9.87
Basic-skilled $400 $13.16

Calculate your quota

You can:

Note: The daily levy rate only applies to Work Permit holders who did not work for a full calendar month. The daily levy rate is calculated as follows: (Monthly levy rate x 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.

Qualifying for higher-skilled worker levy

You pay less levy for higher skilled foreign workers. You can apply for the higher-skilled worker levy rate for workers with any of these certificates:

Type of qualification Certificates needed
Academic qualifications

Malaysia – Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). For diploma or higher qualifications, provide a transcript or letter from the institution stating the course duration.

North Asian sources (NAS) – High school certificates.

Skills Evaluation Test (SET) conducted by ITE SET Level 1 or National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
Trade test endorsed by these institutions 3G and above in welding

Required safety courses

Foreign workers in the marine shipyard sector must take one of the following safety courses before they can get their Work Permits:

  • Shipyard Safety Instruction Course (SSIC)
  • Apply Workplace Safety and Health in Marine Work

As soon as you get the in-principle approval letter, register the workers for the course. They must take the course within 2 weeks of arriving in Singapore. The Work Permit cannot be issued until they have taken the course.

As an employer, you are responsible for your workers passing the test. If they fail the course, they should retake it as soon as possible. They need to pass the course within 3 months of their arrival, or their Work Permits may be revoked.

Course requirements during employment

Foreign workers in the marine shipyard sector need to retake and pass the safety course based on these timelines:

If they have worked in the marine shipyard sector for They must pass the safety course
6 years or less Once every 2 years
More than 6 years Once every 4 years

When renewing a Work Permit, the worker’s safety course certificate must be valid for more than 1 month on the day of renewal. Otherwise the Work Permit will not be renewed.