Skip to main content

Process sector: Work Permit requirements

You must apply for MYE to hire construction and process sector workers from non-traditional source countries/regions and the People's Republic of China (PRC).

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

Types of business activities

The process sector includes plants in the manufacturing of petroleum, petrochemicals, specialty chemicals and pharmaceutical products.

The production processes of these plants in the process sector involve specialised equipment and machinery. The construction and maintenance of the production units within these plants, which are classified as process construction and maintenance (PCM) works, require niche skills and expertise.

Such works are carried out by PCM contractors. They work with the process plant owners and engineering, procurement and construction companies to build and maintain the production units of the process plants.

Company requirements

A business providing PCM services to plants must be a corporate member of the Association of the Process Industry (ASPRI). Before it can recruit foreign PCM workers, the business must also be endorsed by ASPRI as a PCM contractor and be included in the PCM Controlled List.

For more information on membership and registration, refer to ASPRI’s website.

Worker requirements

Migrant workers employed for PCM works can only perform activities related to the construction, preventive and breakdown maintenance of plant equipment.

These workers are not allowed to be involved in the plant’s operations (operating plant equipment, warehousing and packing, etc.) or peripheral services (grass cutting, cleaning of offices, roads, waste disposal etc.).

Migrant worker eligibility

You can only hire migrant workers who satisfy the conditions for source countries or regions, age when applying and maximum period of employment.

Successful workers will also need to meet vaccination requirements to get their pass issued.

Source countries or regions

You can employ migrant workers from these countries or regions:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • Non-traditional sources (NTS):
    • India
    • Sri Lanka
    • Thailand
    • Bangladesh
    • Myanmar
    • Philippines
  • 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 process 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
NTS, PRC Basic-skilled (R2) 14 years
NTS, PRC Higher-skilled (R1) 26 years
NAS, Malaysia All sectors No maximum period of employment.

Note: All workers can only work up to 60 years of age.

Approved occupations for NTS and PRC workers

NTS and PRC Work Permit holders in the process sector can only be employed as “Process Maintenance and Construction Worker” or “Process Maintenance and Construction Worker-cum-Driver”.

They can engage only in work that requires these 13 skill sets:

  1. Electrical and Instrumentation works
  2. General fitting
  3. Machine fitting
  4. Metal Scaffolding
  5. Painting and blasting
  6. Plant civil works
  7. Plant equipment fitting
  8. Process pipefitting
  9. Refractory
  10. Rigging and material handling
  11. Rotating equipment fitting
  12. Thermal insulation
  13. Welding

Quota and levy

From 1 Jan 2024, there will be changes to the foreign workforce polices for the process sector. Read the FAQ to find out more.

The number of Work Permit holders that you can hire is limited by quota (or dependency ratio ceiling) and subject to a levy.

Under the process sector quota, you can employ 7 Work Permit holders for every local employee who earns the Local Qualifying Salary.

In addition to quota, NTS and PRC workers are subject to man-year entitlement (MYE) requirements. MYE does not apply to Malaysian and NAS workers.

The levy rate is as follows:

Tier Monthly Daily
Higher-skilled, on MYE $300 $9.87
Basic-skilled, on MYE $450 $14.80
Higher-skilled, on MYE waiver $600 $19.73
Basic-skilled, on MYE waiver $750 $24.66

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.
  • If your Work Permit renewal involves changing between prior approval to MYE waiver, or vice versa, the change in levy rate will start on the 1st of the month following the expiry date of the permit.

You can:

Settling-in Programme

Before their Work Permits can be issued, non-Malaysian Work Permit holders in the process sector must attend the Settling-in Programme (SIP) if they are either:

  • First time working in Singapore
  • Returning workers on in-principle approval (IPA)

Required safety courses

Workers employed in the process sector must take the following safety courses before starting work:

  • Oil Petroleum Safety Orientation Course (OPSOC) - All workers employed in the process sector must take the OPSOC.
  • Construction Safety Orientation Course (CSOC) - In addition to OPSOC, all workers employed to carry out the construction of process plants must also take the CSOC.

Workers must complete their training within 2 weeks from arrival in Singapore. This must be done before you can get their Work Permits issued or renewed.

Find a training provider for safety courses.

Steps for a Work Permit application

When applying for Work Permits for workers from the respective source countries/regions, please complete the steps in this order: 

Malaysian workers

Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.

NAS workers

  1. Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.
  2. Buy security bonds.

NTS and PRC workers - process construction

  1. Apply for man-year entitlement (MYE).
  2. Apply for prior approval (PA), unless the worker has 2 years of working experience in Singapore.
  3. Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.
  4. Buy security bonds.

Workers will be given a 1-year or 2-year Work Permit.

NTS and PRC workers - process maintenance

  1. Apply for In-principal support (IPS).
  2. Apply for a Work Permit and get in-principle approval.
  3. Buy security bonds.

Workers will be given a 2-year Work Permit.