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FAQs on temporary scheme to help businesses manage manpower disruption

Employers can use this temporary scheme to hire or transfer Work Permit holders already in Singapore.

Why is MOM introducing this temporary scheme for employers to hire existing Work Permit holders who are available for transfer?Show

MOM has introduced this scheme following consultation with the industry, trade unions and partner agencies. This is to give companies in the manufacturing and services sectors more flexibility to manage their manpower. This scheme is an extension of a similar scheme for the construction, process and marine shipyard sectors.

Companies in the manufacturing and services sectors will be allowed to hire existing Work Permit holders (who are in Singapore) within their respective sectors, with the agreement of their current employers. Companies that are facing manpower shortages can save on search and recruitment expenses, while those with excess manpower can give their workers an opportunity to continue working in Singapore and save on repatriation costs.

Why is MOM expanding the temporary scheme from 1 April 2020 to allow inter-sectoral transfers of Work Permit holders, as well as transfers of Work Permit holders whose work permits are nearing expiry, for all sectors?Show

With entry approvals for work pass holders into Singapore being restricted to a very small number to reduce the risk of COVID-19 importation, MOM has expanded the temporary scheme from 1 April 2020 to allow firms in all sectors to:

  • Hire Work Permit holders from all sectors with the agreement of the current employers;
  • Hire Work Permit holders from all sectors whose work permits are nearing expiry (agreement from the current employers is not needed).

Firms in need of additional manpower can now tap on a larger pool of Work Permit holders from different sectors while reducing their search and recruitment costs. Firms with excess manpower can also transfer their WPHs to other firms more quickly.

When will the scheme be implemented?Show

This scheme will be in place till 31 August 2020, subject to further review.

The Ministry has announced that this is a temporary scheme till 31 August 2020 for firms to hire existing workers. Does that mean the worker's Work Permit validity upon transfer will only be for 6 months?Show

The duration of a Work Permit is generally two years, subject to the validity of the worker’s passport, the security bond and the worker’s employment period, whichever is shorter. For sectors that require prior approval, it will also be subjected to the prior approval duration.

How can I apply for this scheme?Show

For transfers of Work Permit holders with more than 40 days to Work Permit expiry (including inter-sectoral transfers), firms can approach SBF at manpowerconnect@sbf.org.sg or visit SBF’s website for more information. Agreement from the current employers is required. All prevailing Work Permit criteria apply for new applications.

Note: Firms in the construction, process and marine shipyard sectors can continue to use WPOL to hire existing Work Permit holders within their respective sectors, with the agreement of the current employers. There is no need to go through SBF.

For transfers of Work Permit holders with 40 days or less to Work Permit expiry (including inter-sectoral transfers), firms can submit their request to MOM online. Agreement of the current employer is not needed. All prevailing Work Permit criteria apply for new applications.

Firms in the construction and process sectors can continue to use WPOL to hire existing Work Permit holders within their respective sectors, and whose Work Permits are expiring in 21 to 40 days’ time. There is no need to submit a request using the online form.

Is this scheme also applicable to Malaysian Work Permit holders?Show

Firms are already allowed to hire Malaysian Work Permit holders who are in Singapore, from any sector. Agreement from the current employer is not required. Hiring companies can continue to use WPOL to hire existing Malaysian WPHs who are in Singapore.

How does the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) administer the scheme?Show

Companies will have to mutually agree on a suitable transfer arrangement for the worker. Thereafter, the hiring company is required to submit to SBF a Letter of Consent, endorsed by the current employer to transfer the employment of its worker to the hiring company. Once SBF has verified the consent, SBF will inform both MOM and the hiring company. The hiring company can then proceed to submit a Work Permit application to MOM using Work Permit Online (WPOL) after 3 working days but no later than a month.

The releasing company does not need to cancel the worker’s Work Permit. The Work Permit will be auto-cancelled once the hiring company issues the Work Permit for the worker.

For more information, please visit SBF’s website.

Do I need to be a member of SBF to be eligible to hire or release Work Permit holders under SBF's scheme?Show

Companies who are not members of SBF can also register their interest with SBF.

Are there any fees involved in this scheme?Show

The hiring company will need to submit a new Work Permit application. The current application fee of $35 per application applies.

SBF is providing the facilitation service for free for the whole period of the temporary scheme until 31 August 2020.

What are the criteria to get an approval if I intend to hire a transfer worker?Show

All parties (i.e. existing employer, worker and new employer), must agree to the transfer arrangement, unless the worker’s Work Permit is expiring within 40 days or less.

For all transfers, all other prevailing criteria under the respective sectors (e.g. dependency ratio ceiling, source country controls, maximum employment age, etc.) will still apply.