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Manufacturing sector: Work Permit requirements

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

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

Requirements to be classified as manufacturing sector

Your company can be considered to be under the manufacturing sector if it meets all of these requirements:

  • Has a valid factory notification or registration.
  • Use machinery to manufacture or produce items from raw materials.
  • Operates in a designated industrial setting area.
  • For food processing companies: Has a valid Singapore Food Agency (SFA) licence to operate a food processing establishment or slaughter-house.

Make sure that your company continues to meet the requirements, or it may get reclassified into a different sector.

Examples of manufacturing activitiesShow

Examples of manufacturing activities

  • Manufacturing of electronics components
  • Manufacturing of pharmaceuticals and biological products
  • Manufacturing of basic industrial acids and alkalis
  • Manufacturing of oil or gas field machinery
  • Manufacturing of waxes, polishes and deodorants
  • Electroplating, hot-tip galvanising, die-casting and heat treatment
  • Semiconductor wafer fabrication plants
  • Manufacturing or processing of food or drinks

Examples of non-manufacturing activitiesShow

Examples of non-manufacturing activities

  • Assembly of ready-made parts
  • Bulk-breaking (e.g. cutting from big to small customised sizes)
  • Change of product colour
  • Basic modification (e.g. cutting or trimming of parts)
  • Sole printing (e.g. printing of posters, T-shirts, name cards)
  • Repair and maintenance
  • Testing or quality control
  • Packing or repacking

You should not deploy your Work Permit and S Pass holders to work in a retail or food and beverage setting or outlet. You need to add a business activity so that you can get a separate services account to employ them.

Change business process or relocate

If you plan to change your business processes or relocate, you need to give us the details to assess your business classification.

You can make the request using iSubmit. Under Request Type, choose option 6.

Migrant worker eligibility

You can only hire migrant workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries, 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)
  • 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 manufacturing 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
PRC Basic-skilled (R2) 14 years
PRC Higher-skilled (R1) 22 years
NAS, Malaysia All No maximum period of employment.

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. The levy rates are tiered so that those who hire close to the maximum quota will pay a higher levy.

The quota and levy rate for the manufacturing sector are as follows:

Quota Basic-skilled – monthly Basic-skilled – daily Higher-skilled – monthly Higher-skilled – daily
Basic Tier / Tier 1:
Up to 25% of the total workforce
$370 $12.17 $250 $8.22
Tier 2:
Above 25% to 50% of the total workforce
$470 $15.46 $350 $11.51
Tier 3:
Above 50% to 60% of the total workforce
$650 $21.37 $550 $18.09

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.

You can:

Qualifying for higher-skilled worker levy

You pay less levy for higher-skilled migrant workers. You can apply for the higher-skilled worker levy rate for workers with the following certificates:

Type of qualification Certificates needed
Academic qualifications

Malaysia – Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). If you wish to use a diploma or higher qualification, you need to produce a copy of the transcript or a letter from the institution stating the course duration.

North Asian sources (NAS) – High school certificates

People’s Republic of China (PRC) – Diploma

Skills Evaluation Test (SET) conducted by ITE SET Level 1 or National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) Composite Assessment for Generic Manufacturing (CGM)
Market-Based Skills Recognition Framework (MBF)
  • Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $1,600. You can update your worker’s salary using WP Online.
  • Worked at least 4 years in Singapore as a Work Permit holder.

Settling-in Programme

Before their Work Permits can be issued, first-time non-Malaysian Work Permit holders in the manufacturing sector must attend the Settling-in Programme (SIP).

Required safety courses

Migrant workers who handle metals and machinery in metalworking industry must complete one of these safety courses before you can get their Work Permits issued:

  • Metalworking Safety Orientation Course (MSOC)
  • Apply Workplace Safety and Health in Metal Work

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.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, workers must complete the safety course within 2 weeks from arrival in Singapore or 1 week from completing Stay-Home Notice.
As an employer, you must ensure that your workers pass the course. If they fail the course, they should retake it as soon as possible. They need to pass the course within 3 months of arrival. Otherwise, their Work Permits may be revoked.

Course requirements during employment

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

If they have worked in the metalworking industry 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.