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Process sector: Work Permit requirements

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

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

Types of business activities

The process sector includes plants in the manufacturing of petroleum, petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and pharmaceutical products.

The production processes of these plants in the process sector involve specialised equipment and machinery. The construction and maintenance of the production units within these plants, which are classified as process construction and maintenance (PCM) works, require niche skills and expertise.

Such works are carried out by PCM contractors. They work with the process plant owners and engineering, procurement and construction companies to build and maintain the production units of the process plants.

Company requirements

A business providing PCM services to plants must be a corporate member of the Association of the Process Industry (ASPRI). Before it can recruit foreign PCM workers, the business must also be endorsed by ASPRI as a PCM contractor.

For more information on membership and registration, refer to ASPRI’s website.

Worker requirements

Foreign workers employed for PCM works can only perform activities related to the construction, preventive and breakdown maintenance of plant equipment.

These workers are not allowed to be involved in the plant’s operations (operating plant equipment, warehousing and packing, etc.) or peripheral services (grass cutting, cleaning of offices, roads, waste disposal etc.).

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 process 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 sectors No maximum period of employment.

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

Approved occupations for NTS and PRC workers

NTS and PRC Work Permit holders in the process sector can only be employed as “Process Maintenance and Construction Worker” or “Process Maintenance and Construction Worker-cum-Driver”.

They can engage only in work that requires these 13 skill sets:

  1. Electrical and Instrumentation works
  2. General fitting
  3. Machine fitting
  4. Metal Scaffolding
  5. Painting and blasting
  6. Plant civil works
  7. Plant equipment fitting
  8. Process pipefitting
  9. Refractory
  10. Rigging and material handling
  11. Rotating equipment fitting
  12. Thermal insulation
  13. Welding

Quota and levy

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

Under the process sector quota, you can employ 7 Work Permit holders for every full-time local employee.

In addition to quota, NTS and PRC workers are subject to man-year entitlement (MYE) requirements. They may qualify for a waiver if they have at least 2 years of experience in the process sector. MYE does not apply to Malaysian and NAS workers.

The levy rate is as follows:

Tier Monthly Daily
Higher-skilled, on MYE $300 $9.87
Basic-skilled, on MYE $450 $14.80
Higher-skilled, on MYE waiver $600 $19.73
Basic-skilled, on MYE waiver $750 $24.66

Calculate your quota

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.
  • If your Work Permit renewal involves changing between prior approval to MYE waiver, or vice versa, the change in levy rate will start on the 1st of the month following the expiry date of the permit.

Qualifying for higher-skilled worker levy

You can apply for the higher-skilled worker levy rate if your worker earns a fixed monthly salary of at least $1,200 (use WP Online to update the salary), and meets any of these requirements:

Requirements What is needed
Work experience Worked in Singapore for at least 2 years in any sector.
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.

People's Republic of China (PRC) – Diploma.

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.
Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Completed any of these WSQ courses:
  • Composite Assessment for Generic Manufacturing (Process)
  • Perform Process Pipe Fitting Work
  • Rotating Equipment Fitting Work
  • Perform Fitting Work in Workshop
  • Perform Metal Scaffolding Work
  • Perform Rigger and Signalman Tasks

Note: Existing higher-skilled workers must meet the minimum $1,200 fixed monthly salary requirement during their Work Permit renewals to maintain their skill status.

Required safety courses

All workers employed in Process sector must take the following safety courses before starting work.

Oil Petroleum Safety Orientation Course (OPSOC)

All workers employed in the process sector must attend the Oil Petroleum Safety Orientation Course (OPSOC).

Construction Safety Orientation Course (CSOC)

In addition to the OPSOC, all workers employed to carry out the construction of the process plants must also attend the Construction Safety Orientation Course (CSOC).

Find a training provider

Steps for a Work Permit application

When applying for Work Permits for workers from the respective source countries, you need to submit your applications in the following order:

Malaysia

Get In-principle approval (IPA) for each worker.

Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan

  1. Get In-principle approval for each worker.
  2. Buy security bonds.

NTS and PRC - process construction

  1. Apply for man-year entitlement (MYE).
  2. Apply for prior approval (PA), unless the worker has 2 years of working experience in the process sector.
  3. Get In-principle approval for each worker.
  4. Buy security bonds.

Workers will be given a 1-year or 2-year Work Permit.

NTS and PRC - process maintenance

  1. Apply for In-principal support (IPS).
  2. Get In-principle approval for each worker.
  3. Buy security bonds.

Workers will be given a 2-year Work Permit.

If an NTS or PRC Work Permit holder has worked in the Process sector for a cumulative period of 2 or more years, any employer in the Process sector can hire the worker without the need for MYE or IPS. A different levy rate will be imposed on these MYE or IPS waiver workers.