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Work Permit: hiring an existing process worker

If you are in the process sector, you can hire existing workers, without them having to leave Singapore first. 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 to 21 day window before the Work Permit expiry. They would not require the current employer’s consent.

At a glance

Who are eligible  Existing process workers from non-traditional sources (NTS), North Asian sources (NAS), 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 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

Requirements The existing Work Permit must have:
  • Been approved under a prior approval (PA) or in-principle support (IPS)
  • A remaining validity of at least 2 months when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit Remaining duration of the existing Work Permit.
Monthly levy rate
  • Higher-skilled: $300
  • Basic-skilled: $450

Getting a new term using prior approval or in-principle supportShow

Requirements
  • You must have a valid prior approval (PA) or in-principle support (IPS).
  • 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 or IPS, but subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Monthly levy rate
  • Higher-skilled: $300
  • Basic-skilled: $450

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

Requirements
  • The Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days when you apply.
Validity of new Work Permit 2 years, but subject to the validity of the passport and security bond.
Monthly levy rate
  • Higher-skilled: $600
  • Basic-skilled: $750

As an existing employer, what could I do to keep my workers

Existing employers are given priority to renew your workers’ Work 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 worker. You will need to log in to WP Online to agree or reject the transfer.

If the new employer’s application is approved:

  • You can continue to employ the worker, as long as the existing Work Permit is valid. This ensures that you do not lose out on the man- year entitlement (MYE) or in-principle support (IPS).
  • 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 transfer worker

To apply for a new Work Permit for the transfer:

  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 fines may be incurred.

To get the Work Permit issued:

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

We will deliver the new Work Permit card 4 working days after the documents have been verified.

Note:

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