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Prior approval (PA) for marine shipyard sector

If your company is a non-sponsoring shipyard or common contractor, you will need to get prior approval (PA) before you can apply for or renew a Work Permit. The PA reference number must be provided in the Work Permit application or renewal. 

What is prior approval

PA is an approval for companies to employ migrant workers from NTS countries and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

PA indicates the number of migrant workers the company is allowed to employ from these countries. It also determines the number of workers who can have their Work Permits renewed, or who can be transferred from another company in Singapore.

Who should apply

You need to apply for PA if you are a non-sponsoring shipyard or common contractor.

PAs are given based on:

Company Type Requirements
Non-sponsoring shipyard
  • Company's quota, track record and financial capability.
  • Shipbuilding and ship-repair jobs secured.
Common contractor
  • Company's quota, track record and financial capability.
  • Shipbuilding and ship-repair jobs awarded by the shipyards.
  • Number of workers supported by the shipyards.

Types of PAs

Depending on how you want to use the PA, you can get a new or renewal PA. 

For NTS or PRC workers

Type Use of PA Validity


  • Recruiting new workers.
  • Transfer of workers currently working in Singapore.
3 months
Renewal For renewal of workers. 3 months

How to apply

Submit your application using WP Online. You will find a “Prior Approval (Marine)” tab in the left-hand menu.

The processing time for an application is as follows:

If you are a We aim to give you an outcome
Shipyard applying for your own prior approval Within 2 working days
Shipyard applying prior approval for your common contractor Within 2 working days
Common contractor applying for your own prior approval After your shipyard has reviewed your application

Sometimes, we may ask you to submit supporting documents to review your application. Below are some of the common documents we may ask from you:

  • A copy of contracts, invoices or purchase orders of the jobs declared in your application.
  • A summary list of the jobs you completed in the past 12 months.
  • Financial information of your company like bank statements and financial statements.

Check status

You can also check the status of your application in WP Online. If your application status is “Pending MOM Review” or “Document Verification”, you should receive an outcome within 3 weeks.