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Construction sector: Work Permit requirements

To employ migrant workers for the construction sector, you will have to meet specific requirements for worker's source country or region, quota and levy.

These requirements are additional and specific to the construction sector. You should also refer to the general Work Permit conditions and requirements.

Migrant worker eligibility

You can only hire migrant workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries or regions, age when applying and maximum period of employment.

Source countries or regions

You can employ migrant workers from these countries or regions:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Non-traditional sources (NTS):
    • India
    • Sri Lanka
    • Thailand
    • Bangladesh
    • Myanmar
    • Philippines
  • North Asian sources (NAS):
    • Hong Kong (HKSAR passport)
    • Macau
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan

Age when applying

The minimum age for all non-domestic migrant workers is 18 years old.

When applying for a Work Permit:

  • Malaysian workers must be below 58 years old.
  • Non-Malaysian workers must be below 50 years old.

Maximum period of employment

For the construction sector, the maximum number of years a worker can work in Singapore on a Work Permit is as follows:

Source country / region Types of workers Maximum period of employment

Basic-Skilled (R2)

i.e. those holding SEC, SEC(K).

14 years

Higher-Skilled (R1)

i.e. those who have been upgraded through various means.

26 years
NAS, Malaysia All sectors No maximum period of employment.

Note: All workers can only work up to 60 years of age.

Quota and levy

The number of Work Permit holders that you can hire is limited by quota (or dependency ratio ceiling) and subject to a levy.

Under the construction sector quota, you can employ 7 Work Permit holders for every local employee who earns the Local Qualifying Salary.

In addition to quota, NTS and PRC workers are subject to man-year entitlement (MYE) requirements. MYE does not apply to Malaysian and NAS workers.

The levy rate is as follows:

Tier Monthly Daily
Malaysians and NAS – Higher-Skilled $300 $9.87
Malaysians and NAS – Basic-Skilled $700 $23.02
NTS and PRC – Higher-Skilled, on MYE $300 $9.87
NTS and PRC – Basic-Skilled, on MYE $700 $23.02
NTS and PRC – Higher-Skilled, MYE waiver $600 $19.73
NTS and PRC – Basic-Skilled, MYE waiver $950 $31.24

Calculate your quota

  • The daily levy rate only applies to Work Permit holders who did not work for a full calendar month. The daily levy rate is calculated as follows: (Monthly levy rate X 12) / 365 = rounding up to the nearest cent.
  • If your Work Permit renewal involves changing between prior approval to MYE waiver, or vice versa, the change in levy rate will start on the 1st of the month following the expiry date of the permit.

You can:

Minimum percentage of Higher-Skilled (R1) workers

At least 10% of your construction Work Permit holders must be Higher-Skilled (R1) before you can hire any new Basic-Skilled (R2) construction workers or renew the Work Permits of existing R2 construction workers.

Work Permits of any excess R2 construction workers will also be revoked.

Levy bond

You will have to pay a levy bond for each Work Permit holder if:

  • Your workers’ Work Permits have been revoked because of unpaid levies.
  • You have been late in levy payments for at least 3 times in a 12-month period.
  • Your sole proprietorship has changed owner.
  • You are starting a new business entity to employ migrant workers. The business entities include:
    • Sole-proprietorship
    • Partnership
    • Incorporated business with a paid-up capital of less than $50,000

How much to pay

The amount of levy bond you need to pay depends on the worker's skill level.

If your worker is You need to pay
Higher-Skilled or Basic-Skilled $600
Unskilled $2,000

Levy bonds for skilled and unskilled workers have to be bought separately.

How to pay the levy bond

You can:

  • Pay electronically using PayNow Corporate
  • Pay with a banker's or insurance guarantee

Processing time: 3 working days

Pay electronically using PayNow Corporate. Your company first needs to set up a corporate internet banking account. If you do not have one, please contact your bank. Thereafter:

  1. Log in to your corporate internet banking account.
  2. Choose PayNow (UEN) as the transfer option.
  3. Enter the Unique Entity Number (UEN) T08GA0019C9W2 as a payee.
  4. Enter your bill reference number in the following format <LBC + CPF Submission Number>, e.g. LBC123456789A-PTE-01.
    Note: You need to enter the bill reference number in the correct field on the payment page for us to track your payment.
  5. Make sure you purchase the levy bonds for your skilled and unskilled workers separately. Enter the levy bond amount to pay:
    • $600 for higher-skilled or basic-skilled workers.
    • $2000 for unskilled workers.
  6. Make sure you see “WORK PASS DIVISION/ AG” as the registered payee name before you make the fund transfer. You will receive the bank’s notification confirming that the transfer is successful.
  7. Proceed with your work pass transaction after 3 working days. Your levy bond will be processed, we will also send you an acknowledgement receipt by post.

Processing time: 5 working days

To submit the levy bond:

  1. Prepare the following documents:
    • Original banker’s or insurance guarantee.
    • Company letter stating company CPF submission number, contact details, and the number of workers the levy bond is for.
  2. Post the documents to:
    Levy Section
    Work Pass Division
    Ministry of Manpower
    18 Havelock Road
    Singapore 059764
  3. Your levy bond will be processed in 5 working days upon receipt, we will send you an acknowledgement receipt by post. You can proceed with your work pass transaction after that.

If you received a levy bond payment letter from us because your workers’ Work Permits have been revoked, we will need more time to process your levy bond. Follow the instructions on the letter, and we will contact you to advise on the next steps to reinstate your workers.

  • You should only pay MOM using PayNow when instructed, by using the specific UEN and bill reference number provided. Otherwise, we will not process your payment.
  • The levy bond monitoring period is usually 12 months (6 months for new companies). The levy bond will be released when this monitoring period expires. The bond monitoring period may be extended if there are more delays in levy payment.

Settling-in Programme

Before their Work Permits can be issued, non-Malaysian Work Permit holders in the construction sector must attend the Settling-in Programme (SIP) if they are either:

  • First time working in Singapore
  • Returning workers on in-principle approval (IPA)

Required safety courses

Migrant workers in the construction industry must complete one of these safety courses before you can get their Work Permits issued:

  • Construction Safety Orientation Course (CSOC)
  • Apply Workplace Safety and Health in Construction Sites

Once your workers have obtained an in-principle approval letter, register them for the course. They must:

  • Complete the course within 2 weeks from arrival in Singapore.
  • Pass the course within 3 months of arrival, or their Work Permits may be revoked.

Course requirements during employment

Migrant workers in the construction sector need to retake and pass the safety course based on these timelines:

If they have worked in the construction sector for They must pass the safety course
6 years or less Once every 2 years
More than 6 years Once every 4 years

When renewing a Work Permit, the worker’s safety course certificate must be valid for more than 1 month on the day of renewal. Otherwise the Work Permit will not be renewed.

Interview for selected companies

Some companies may be asked to go for an interview and submit documents about their business operations. This is to help us better understand their business activities. 

If your company is selected, you will receive an email on the interview details. It is compulsory for your ACRA-registered director to attend the interview.  

Steps for a Work Permit application

When applying for a Work Permit, please complete the steps in this order: 

For Malaysian or NAS workers

  1. Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.
  2. (Only required for NAS workers) Buy security bond.

For NTS or PRC workers

With MYE

  1. Apply for man-year entitlement (MYE). This can only be done by the main contractor.
  2. Ensure the company has Building Construction Authority (BCA) or Singapore List of Trade Subcontractors (SLOT) registration certification.
  3. Apply for prior approval (PA).
  4. Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.
  5. Buy medical insurance and security bond.

With MYE-waiver

  1. Make sure the company has Building Construction Authority (BCA) or Singapore List of Trade Subcontractors (SLOT) registration certification.
  2. Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.
  3. Buy medical insurance and security bond.