Entry approvals for new work pass holders from overseas have been limited to a very small number to reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 to Singapore. Following consultation with the industry, trade unions, and partner agencies, MOM has introduced a temporary scheme to give companies in all sectors more flexibility to manage their manpower needs in light of disruptions due to COVID-19.
Under this scheme, firms in all sectors can now hire existing Work Permit holders (who are in Singapore) within or across their respective sectors. This allows firms in need of additional manpower to tap on the pool of experienced Work Permit holders in Singapore, while reducing their search and recruitment expenses. Companies with excess manpower can also transfer their Work Permit holders to other firms, giving their workers the opportunity to continue working in Singapore, while saving on repatriation costs.
The conditions for the transfers of Work Permit holders are as follows:
- For transfers during Work Permit duration:
Agreement from the current employer must be obtained.
- For transfers between 40 and 21 days (inclusive) to Work Permit expiry:
Agreement from the current employer is not needed. However, if the current employer has already renewed the worker’s Work Permit by this time, another employer will not be able to apply for the transfer of the worker.
- For transfers from 20 days to Work Permit expiry:
Agreement from the current employer must be obtained from 1 September 2020. This is to give the current employer sufficient time to make repatriation arrangements for their workers before the Work Permit expires, should the worker be unable to find another employer.
All prevailing sectoral Work Permit requirements for the worker’s source country or region, quota and levy will continue to apply.
This temporary scheme will be in place until 28 February 2021, subject to further review.
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.
Firms in the construction, marine shipyard and process sectors should submit online to register their workers’ details and grant consent for the sector associations to facilitate their transfer to another company locally.
Firms in the manufacturing or services sectors should provide the workers’ details and agreement for the transfer to the Singapore Business Federation or email email@example.com.
For transfers within the respective sectors
More than 40 days to Work Permit expiry
Firms can submit their request via the respective channels below. Agreement from the current employer is required.
Between 21 and 40 days (inclusive) to Work Permit expiry
Firms can submit their request online. Agreement from the current employer is not needed.
Note: Firms in the construction and process sectors can continue to use WP Online 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 online.
Within 20 days to Work Permit expiry
Firms can submit their request directly to MOM using online forms if they are in the:
Agreement from the current employer is required.
Firms in the manufacturing and services sectors can approach SBF or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Agreement from the current employer is required.
Note: All prevailing Work Permit criteria apply for all new applications.
For all transfers across sectors
Firms that are looking to hire transfer workers can submit their request to the respective sector associations:
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 WP Online to hire existing Malaysian Work Permit holders who are in Singapore.
Companies may register their interests to transfer their workers or receive new workers by registering with MOM and the relevant sector associations.
To facilitate the process, the sector associations will request companies to mutually agree on a suitable transfer arrangement for the worker. Releasing companies may also need to provide the respective sector associations a written agreement from the workers if required (e.g. if the worker to be transferred has a cancelled Work Permit), to allow transfer of the worker to the hiring company.
The sector association will verify the consent and inform both MOM and the hiring company of the verification. The hiring company can then proceed to submit a Work Permit application to MOM via WP Online within a month.
The releasing company does not need to cancel the worker’s Work Permit. The Work Permit will be cancelled automatically once the new Work Permit applied for by the hiring company is issued to the worker.
For more information, please visit the respective sector associations’ websites:
Companies who are not members can also approach the associations in the respective sectors.
The hiring company will need to submit a new Work Permit application. The current application fee of $35 per application applies.
The sector associations are providing the facilitation service free of charge for the whole period of the temporary scheme until 28 February 2021.
All parties (i.e. existing employer, worker and new employer), must agree to the transfer arrangement, unless the worker’s Work Permit is expiring between 40 and 21 days (inclusive).
For all transfers, all other prevailing criteria under the respective sectors (e.g. dependency ratio ceiling, source country controls, maximum employment age, man-year-entitlement prior approval) will still apply.