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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.

From 1 July 2022, the COE without consent period will return to the 40 to 21 days before Work Permit expiry, which was the prevailing practice prior to COVID-19.  

Hence, a new employer can hire a worker during the 40-21 day window before his Work Permit expiry. They would not require the current employer’s consent.

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.
  • 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.

The following requirements apply to workers from non-traditional sources or the People’s Republic of China, depending on whether you are:

Taking over the remaining Work Permit termShow


The Work Permit must have:

  • Been approved under a prior approval (PA).
  • A remaining validity of at least 2 months when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit Remaining duration of the existing Work Permit.
Levy rate
  • Higher-skilled: $300
  • Basic-skilled: $700

Getting a new term using prior approvalShow

  • You must have a valid prior approval (PA).
  • The worker’s Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit Based on the duration of the PA, also subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Levy rate
  • Higher-skilled: $300
  • Basic-skilled: $700

Getting a 2-year term using man-year entitlement (MYE) waiverShow

  • The Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit 2 years, subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Levy rate
  • Higher-skilled: $600
  • Basic-skilled: $950

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.

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.

How to apply for a Work Permit for a transfer worker

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. 

Issuing the Work Permit

You can only request for the Work Permit to be issued when the current permit has been cancelled or expires.

Once the current Work Permit is no longer valid, we will SMS or email you. You will then have 14 days to get the new Work Permit issued. Otherwise the transfer approval will be revoked and overstaying fine may be incurred.

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.


  • If you need an earlier transfer, have a discussion with the worker and the existing employer to come to an agreement on when to can 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.

If you don't want to transfer

If you change your mind about the transfer after the new Work Permit application has been approved, you may need to send the worker home.

Use the Application for Transfer Worker module in WP Online to find out what you need to do.

Employers who have paid for Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and related COVID-19 tests costs for their Work Permit holders and who agree to transfer the worker to another employer can share such costs with the new employer. To do so, they must follow MOM’s Criteria and Guidelines for Sharing of Stay-Home Notice and Related COVID-19 Tests Costs between Employers of transfer non-domestic Work Permits holders