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FAQs on entry approvals for foreign employees

What employers need to do before bringing in foreign employees into Singapore.

Can employers still bring in pass holders (work pass holders and their dependants) from overseas into Singapore?Show

With immediate effect, employers of pass holders coming from Malaysia (all modes of travel) must also obtain MOM’s entry approval before the pass holders can enter Singapore. Upon entry, these pass holders must serve the 14-day SHN.

However, those who provide essential services or supplies (e.g. lorry drivers, vegetable or frozen supply truckers) coming from Malaysia by land or sea crossing are exempted from the entry approval and SHN requirements.

To reduce the risk of importing the COVID-19 virus, we are restricting the entry of pass holders into Singapore.

All employers are strongly urged to defer bringing pass holders into Singapore.

To facilitate this, we will automatically extend the validities of all in-principle approvals (IPAs) that are expiring from during the Circuit Breaker period by 2 months. Thus, there is no need to request for an extension. To print IPAs with the new expiry dates, log in to the relevant eService:

  • WP Online for Work Permit holders employed by businesses
    > Click Check Status – Work Permit Application
    > Retrieve the worker’s record
    > Print letters and forms
  • EP Online for the other passes (e.g. Employment Pass, S Pass and passes for dependants)
    > Click Apply
    > Check Status-Application Outcome
    > Enter the FIN
    > Print Outcome Letter

We ask for your understanding and cooperation in doing your part to safeguard the interest of Singapore’s public health and the health of your other employees.

If you are unable to defer the pass holders’ entry, you may proceed with the following. However, please note that chances of getting an entry approval are very slim:

  1. Ensure you can fulfil the additional responsibilities to bring your work pass holders in. If they have dependants who are not issued any work passes, including Letter of Consent (LOC), they must also fulfil their responsibilities towards their dependants.
  2. Request for MOM’s entry approval before the pass holders can enter Singapore. Use our entry approval calculator to plan when to submit your request.

    For new or existing Who needs to request for entry approval Who is responsible to ensure SHN is observed
    Work pass holders, including those with LOC* Employer Employer and work pass holder
    DP or LTVP* holders who are not employed
    i.e. not issued a work pass, including LOC
    Local sponsor
    i.e. employer of EP / S Pass holder
    EP / S Pass holder and DP / LTVP holder
    * From 29 March 2020, 2359 hours, those with LTVPs issued by ICA need to request for ICA’s entry approval, even if they have LOCs issued by MOM.
  3. Wait for MOM’s approval before arranging for the pass holders to enter Singapore.

When should employers submit their requests?Show

Applications open daily from 12:01pm and close at 12pm the next day.

Requests received during this period are for arrivals within 10 days after the application closes (e.g. for arrivals in Singapore from 17 March 2020 to 26 March 2020, you can submit the request from 15 March 2020, 12:01pm to 16 March 2020, 12pm).

Use our entry approval calculator to plan when to submit your request.

Can employers submit multiple requests on the same day for an employee?Show

Employers should not submit multiple requests for an employee within the same application window (from 12:01pm today to 12pm tomorrow) using the same or different arrival dates. We will only process the first request and notify you on the outcome for it, and disregard the rest.

How will employers be notified of the outcome of the application?Show

Employers will receive the outcome via email on the same day if applications are submitted by 12pm, and on the next day if application is made after 12pm.

The email approval must be sent to the pass holder. He/She must show a print-out of this approval to the airline staff upon check-in before boarding the plane and at the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.

Is there a need to submit a new application for approval if the employee's flight is delayed or changed?Show

MOM’s approval already includes flexibility to deal with possible flight delays, which is stated in the email. However, you will need to make a new application if the arrival date falls outside the dates given in the approval.

Can employers get a levy waiver if their Work Permit or S Pass holder is quarantined?Show

Employers can get a levy waiver for Work Permit or S Pass holders who are given quarantine orders by MOH, as it is a form of hospitalisation leave.

Apply for levy waiver

Can employers get a levy waiver for Work Permit or S Pass holders who went on home / overseas leave for more than 60 days, as they are not able to enter Singapore when the travel restrictions are in place?Show

Employers can get a levy waiver for foreign employees on home or overseas leave up to 90-day cap if they unable to return due to travel restrictions.

You can apply for levy waiver after the worker enters Singapore.

Can employers apply work passes for new Chinese employees who are currently not in China (e.g. those who are currently studying in another country)?Show

Since 31 January 2020, MOM will reject all new work pass applications for foreign employees from mainland China until further notice. Employers may appeal with documentary proof that the applicant has not been to China recently.

Can employers apply for a work pass to hire an existing Chinese employee who is currently working with another Singapore employer, and has not travelled out of Singapore recently?Show

Employers can apply for an Employment Pass or S Pass for an existing Chinese employee who is currently working with another Singapore employer and has not travelled out of Singapore.

Companies in the construction, process or marine sectors can hire existing PRC Work Permit holders from the same sector who are in Singapore, with the agreement of their current employers. Please refer to the sector-specific rules for Work Permit for details.

From 2 March 2020, companies in the manufacturing and services sectors can also do the same. The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) will link up interested companies who may want to hire or transfer their excess PRC Work Permit holders. Interested companies can approach the SBF at manpowerconnect@sbf.org.sg. Find out more about this temporary scheme.

My pass holders are unable to enter Singapore due to the travel restrictions. Can MOM extend the validity of their in-principle approvals (IPAs)?Show

We will automatically extend the validities of all in-principle approvals (IPAs) that are expiring during the Circuit Breaker period by 2 months. Thus, there is no need to request for an extension.

To print IPAs with the new expiry dates, log in to the relevant eService:

  • WP Online for Work Permit holders employed by businesses
    > Click Check Status – Work Permit Application
    > retrieve the worker’s record
    > Print letters and forms
  • EP Online for the other passes (e.g. Employment Pass, S Pass and passes for dependants)
    > Click Apply
    > Check Status-Application Outcome
    > Enter the FIN
    > Print Outcome Letter

No, pass holders must complete their 14-day SHN before their employers can send them for any of the above-mentioned issuance-related procedures. If their Short-Term Visit Passes (STVP) are expiring soon, for:

  • Employment Pass, S Pass, Dependant’s Pass or Long Term Visit Pass holders, please request for an extension of the STVP within 2 weeks before it expires.
  • Work Permit holders, we will automatically extend their STVP and in-principle approvals by 2 weeks. Please note that no letters will be issued for this extension.

MOM will not hesitate to take enforcement measures against any parties who do not comply with the SHN requirements. Measures include criminal proceedings, work pass revocations and withdrawal of work pass privileges.

Use the SHN calculator to calculate the SHN period.

Can MOM extend the Short-Term Visit Pass (STVP) of pass holders who enter Singapore and are required to serve the 14-day SNH?Show

For Employment Pass, S Pass, Dependant’s Pass or Long Term Visit Pass holders, please request for an extension of their STVP within 2 weeks before it expires.

For Work Permit holders, we will automatically extend their STVP by 2 weeks. Please note that no letters will be issued for this extension.

Can MOM extend or renew work passes nearing expiry if the foreign employees cannot return to Singapore because of the travel restrictions?Show

We advise employers to submit a new work pass application for such employees after the situation stabilises.

Can MOM allow foreign employees to stay longer if employers are unable to send them home due to travel restrictions imposed by their countries?Show

Employers can apply for extension of Special Pass / Short-Term Visit Pass. We will extend the employees’ stay for another month.

My foreign employee intends to travel out of Singapore. What risks should I consider and how should I advise the employee?Show

Any foreign employee or his/her dependant who leaves Singapore from 27 March 2020, will be deprioritised for entry approval, and could see significant delays before they are allowed to return to Singapore.

If your foreign employee leaves Singapore from 27 March 2020 and subsequently develops symptoms within 14 days of returning to Singapore, you are responsible for any COVID-19 treatment costs that your foreign employee incurs in Singapore if your foreign employee is a Work Permit of S Pass holder. This is in line with employers’ responsibilities under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.