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Work Permit: hiring an existing construction worker

If you are in the construction sector, you can hire existing construction workers who are already working in Singapore. Find out the requirements and how to apply.

At a glance

Who are eligible Existing construction workers from non-traditional source (NTS), North Asian sources or People’s Republic of China (PRC).
When you can apply
  • With the existing employer’s agreement: Any time while their Work Permit is valid. You can apply using WP Online. If you wish to hire a worker whose Work Permit is expiring in less than 20 days, you first need to apply for pre-approval from MOM. You will need the existing employer to sign the consent form.
  • Otherwise: During 40-21 day window before the Work Permit expiry.  

Why hire an existing worker

You may consider hiring workers who are already working in Singapore to:

  • Benefit from experienced workers and a faster deployment time.
  • Save on the cost of bringing in new workers. 

Transferring existing workers with current employer's agreement

If the current employer agrees, you can apply for existing workers while their Work Permits are valid. Their Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days.

Companies that had applied for MYE with project contracts that were awarded or had the tender called on or before 18 February 2022, may use the awarded MYE quotas to hire existing NTS workers at a lower levy rate till 31 December 2024 or project completion date (whichever is earlier). To do so, you will need a valid prior approval (PA).

For all other companies hiring existing workers from PRC and NAS sources, PA is not required.

To apply for a new Work Permit for a transfer worker:

  1. Follow the general Work Permit application process.
  2. An SMS or email will be sent to the existing employer. The existing employer need to log in to WP Online to agree or reject the transfer, within 7 working days. If consent is not given by the existing employer, the Work Permit application submitted will be automatically rejected.
  3. Upon approval, you need to get the Work Permit issued. 

As the existing employer, what can I do to keep my workers

Existing employers are given priority to renew your workers’ permits.

If you want to keep your workers, you should renew their Work Permits early, upon receiving the renewal notice.

When your workers’ Work Permits are within 40 to 21 days from expiry, another employer can apply for new Work Permits for them without your consent.  

We will SMS or email your WP Online administrator if another employer submits an application for your workers.

If the new employer’s application is approved:

  • The worker is still under your employment as long as the existing Work Permit under your company is valid. 
  • You will remain responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the workers until the new Work Permit is issued under the new employer.
  • You are responsible for settling any outstanding salary while the worker was under your employment.

Issuing the Work Permit

You can only request for the Work Permit to be issued when the current permit has been cancelled or expires. Otherwise, an overstaying fine will be imposed.

Once the current Work Permit is no longer valid, we will SMS or email you to get the new Work Permit issued. Otherwise the transfer approval will be revoked, and overstaying fine may be incurred. 

If you need more time to get the Work Permit issued, please ensure the worker has a valid legal stay. Otherwise, an overstaying fine will be imposed.  

To get the Work Permit issued:

  1. Log in to WP Online.
  2. You will be asked to upload these additional documents:

We will deliver the new Work Permit card within 5 working days after the documents have been verified.

Note:

  • If you need an earlier transfer, have a discussion with the worker and the existing employer to come to an agreement on when to cancel the existing Work Permit.
  • Once the new Work Permit is issued, you will be responsible for worker’s upkeep and maintenance. Make sure you arrange for an acceptable accommodation for them before you take over their employment. 

Roles and responsibilities

Please see the table below to find out the current and new employers’ responsibilities during the transfer of a migrant worker within their own business sector:

Work Permit status Who is responsible for worker's upkeep, maintenance and repatriation What you need to do next
Current employer New employer Current employer New employer Current employer New employer
Live Approved Discuss and agree with new employer on the date to get the new Work Permit issued.

Get the pass issued before the IPA expires or earlier if the current employer agrees.

If you are hiring the worker without the current employer’s consent, get the new Work Permit issued within 7 days after the current one expires.
Live IPA expired, withdrawn or cancelled You may renew the Work Permit (if eligible), or send the worker home. No further action needed.
Expired/Cancelled Approved No action needed. Get the Work Permit issued now to avoid any overstaying fine. Submit a request if you need more time to get the pass issued.
Expired IPA withdrawn or cancelled before the worker’s Work Permit expires. You may renew the Work Permit (if eligible), or send the worker home.
No action needed.
Expired IPA withdrawn or cancelled after the worker’s Work Permit expires. No action needed. You need to arrange to send the worker home.