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Foreign worker quota and levy requirements

The number of Work Permit holders you can hire is limited by a quota. You must also pay a monthly levy for these foreign workers.

Quota requirement

A dependency ratio ceiling (DRC), or quota, is the maximum ratio of foreign workers to the total workforce that a company in a given sector can employ.

Sector DRC 
Construction 83.3%
Process 83.3% 
Marine shipyard 77.8% 
Manufacturing  60% 
Services  35% 

If the DRC for the services sector is 35%, the total number of Work Permit and S Pass holders employed by a services company cannot exceed 35% of its total workforce.

In addition, the number of PRC Work Permit holders your company can hire is limited by a PRC sub-quota and is capped at:

  • 8% of your company’s total workforce if your company is in the services sector.
  • 25% of your company’s total workforce if your company is in the manufacturing sector.

We use information from your company’s CPF account to compute the number of local employees hired by your company, which determines the foreign worker quota.

The foreign worker quota is calculated based on the average number of local employees in your company over the last 3 months.  To ensure your quota is calculated correctly, please declare the paid salaries and CPF contributions of your local employees promptly and accurately.

The Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) determines the number of local employees who can be used to calculate your Work Permit and S Pass quota entitlement.

A Singaporean or Permanent Resident employee employed under a contract of service, including the company’s director, is counted as: 

  • 1 local employee if they earn the LQS of at least $1,400 per month.
  • 0.5 local employee if they earn half the LQS of at least $700 to below $1,400 per month.

The number of local employees will be updated every Saturday and you can check the quota balance on the next working day. 

Any late or non-payment of CPF contributions and salaries declaration will affect your quota and may cause your workers to be allocated higher levy tiers.

You may:

Calculate your quota

If you have never applied for a Work Permit or S Pass, you need to first declare your business activity.  Based on your declaration, we will assign your company to the most relevant sector, which determines the number of Work Permit and S Pass holders you can hire. 

Levy 

The foreign worker levy, commonly known as “levy”, is a pricing mechanism to regulate the number of foreigners in Singapore.

You must pay a monthly levy for Work Permit holders. The levy liability will start from the day the Temporary Work Permit or Work Permit is issued, whichever is earlier. It ends when the permit is cancelled or has expired.

Levy rate

The levy you pay generally depends on two factors:

  1. The worker’s qualifications.
  2. The number of Work Permit or S Pass holders hired.

Find out the levy requirements by sector:

Levy rates are regularly reviewed and adjusted as required. See the levy rates announced in Budget 2021.

Worker’s qualifications

Workers who possess relevant years of working experience in Singapore, fixed monthly salary, academic qualifications or skills-based test certificates may be considered as higher-skilled workers and qualify for higher-skilled worker levy.