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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.

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:

If the Work Permit has a validity of 14 days or more, you can apply using WP Online.

If the worker's Work Permit is expiring in less than 14 days, you first need to apply for pre-approval from MOM. You will need the existing employer to sign the consent form.


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. Their Work Permit must have a remaining validity of at least 21 days.

If you had applied for man-year entitlement (MYE) or in-principle support (IPS) with project contracts that were awarded or had the tender called on or before 18 February 2022, you may use the awarded MYE quotas to hire an existing NTS worker 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) or IPS.

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

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. 

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 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 MYE or 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. 

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. Otherwise, an overstaying fine will be imposed.

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 within 5 working days after the documents have been verified.


  • 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.

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.