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Original employer responsible for Work Permit Holder during transfer period to new employer

We refer to Mr Liu Mu Tian’s letter (“应明确雇佣关系终止时间点,” 12 January).  

Work Permit Holders (WPHs) may transfer to a new employer, with their original employer’s consent. 

 The original employer remains responsible for the stay, upkeep and well-being of the worker when the worker is on a Special Pass. The original employer’s responsibility for the worker ceases when the worker is granted an In-Principle Approval (IPA) to work for the new employer or is repatriated by the original employer.    

 We thank Mr Liu for his feedback and will enhance the information regarding the original employers’ responsibilities during the transfer process. We will also include explanatory details of the transfer process on our website at


Chew Ee Tien
Director, Customer Operations
Work Pass Division
Ministry of Manpower


Point of time in termination of contract between employer and employee should be stated clearly - Lianhe Zaobao, 12 Jan

One of the employees in my company only mentioned one week before the expiration of his work permit that he would not renew his contract and would not return to his home country. Instead, he found a new employer through the agency he had contacted earlier. Therefore, he requested my company to sign an employee transfer agreement so that the new employer could apply for a new work permit for him.  

After obtaining the in-principal approval from MOM for the new work permit, my company terminated the employee's expired work permit, and at the same time paid to cancel the return flight ticket purchased in advance, thus terminating the employment relationship with the employee.  

About ten days later, the new employer cancelled its commitment to hire the employee on the grounds that they could not apply for a work permit for him.  

The employee had no choice but to apply to MOM for an extension of his stay. Yet, MOM requested my company to “approve” the application for a former employee who was no longer in our employment, citing that we were the original employer. This was puzzling.  

In order to avoid the shirking of responsibilities by all parties involved, MOM should clearly stipulate the responsibilities of the employees and both past and future employers during the handover, especially the details and timing of when the termination of the employment relationship would take effect, so that the original employer could decide wisely whether to agree to the transfer of employees.  

Liu Mu Tian