Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Here’s to the makings of a work pass holder in Singapore. This writing is intended to answer queries from friends and fellows who envisioned themselves of working in Singapore anytime sooner.

What is an Employment or Work Pass?

Work Pass is like Working Visa in some other countries and is issued to foreign professionals, skilled and unskilled or semi-skilled foreign workers to legally allow them to work and stay in Singapore. It is by way of securing the country from unwanted aliens aside from getting taxes from workers. Work Passes are divided into different categories namely E-Pass, S-Pass, PEP and Work Permit. The E-Pass (Employment Pass) is given to professionals who will earn a fixed monthly salary of more than S$2800, and have certified qualifications and years of related experience. S-Pass is granted to mid-level skilled foreigners who will earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2000 and are degree or diploma holders with at least a couple years of experience. PEP (Personalised Employment Pass) is a pass for high earner professionals with a minimum last drawn salary from previous job of at least S$8000. It is issued to certain existing E-Pass holders and overseas foreign professionals with that range of salaries. 

In contrast to an Employment Pass, which must be revoked when the pass holder resigns from the employer, the PEP is not limited to the employer and is based on the good backgrounds of the applicant’s qualification. A PEP grantee can stay in Singapore for up to six months after leaving a recent job to seek new opportunities. A Work Permit (WP) is issued to foreign unskilled or semi-skilled workers with a monthly basic salary of not more than $2000. According to The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the duration of a Work Permit is generally two years, subject to the validity of the worker’s passport and the worker’s employment period, whichever is shorter. The worker is only allowed to work for the employer and in the specified occupation. Domestic helpers and performing artists belong to this category. Click this link for more elaborate details on E-Pass, S-Pass, Work Permit and PEP.

Note: New salary brackets will be implented on January 2012. 

How to obtain a Work Pass?

Employers are the ones who will make the application to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on the candidate’s behalf. Apparently, the first step is to apply for a job through online or walk-ins. Referrals are speedy way to spot a job provided that you have friends or colleagues that will recommend you in a company or for a job. Once the employer hired you, it doesn’t mean the agony ends there because MOM has and always will have the last say, last say means “approval” or “rejection” to the employers’ application of your work pass. MOM will evaluate your documents if to which category of Pass they will grant you or if your qualifications are related to the job offered. Rejection may result to irrelevant credentials to the job, could be under or overqualified and discrepancies to the submitted documents. Approved application on the other hand, grants you the issuance of In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter. This letter states the fundamental conditions and required documents for claiming personally your Work Pass at MOM, documents just in the likes of passport and diploma. No need to worry by the way, because your employer will tell you what documents you need to prepare to obtain the Pass.

To sum up, first, the employer will give you the employment contract. Second, they will give you EP/S Pass Application form to fill up. This form will require you to write down your backgrounds on education (merits and achievements as an additional), employment (order of previous work experiences and character references), trainings and other courses. Third, they will collect your documents like diplomas, Certificates of Employment, Transcript of Records, and any document that would support your credentials. You will also submit a copy of your passport, a recent photo and your tourist embarkation card if you are in Singapore. Once you completed filling out the forms, your employer will submit it online to the MOM, and then you wait for as sooner as two days and as later as two weeks for the result and that's the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter. Your employer will let you know of the result. Once you have the IPA letter you will proceed claiming personally your Work Pass card along with the original documents at the MOM. Then, it's the time you commence on work. 

EPEC (Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate) 

EPEC is a MOM document that allows a tourist to stay for one year in Singapore. It gives the jobseeker the privilege not to worry about visa expirations once approved. It is important that you will consider applying for this online before going to Singapore, the response is so fast, if you are rejected you will be notified a day after your application and will took 3 days if you are approved. If you are rejected once you can re-apply after 3 months. MOM has set strict qualifications for EPEC particularly in schools you belong, in the Philippines, they shortlisted 6 institutions only namely: Ateneo De Manila University, UP-Diliman, DLSU, UST, AIM and Mapua Institute of Technology. These shortlisted schools may change year by year depending on its global and national ranking. But if your school is not on the list, don’t lose hope, you can still try because they still consider other basis for granting the latter like good companies you had been working in your previous employments. Check this SITE for more info.

Note: As of November 2011, new changes are being implemented for EPEC grantee privileges particularly on the length of stay. Check the MOM site for more updates.

Seeking for a Job under Tourist Visa 

You can always look for a job in Singapore as a tourist; tourists are entitled to stay for 30 days and is allowed to extend his/her stay for another 30 days via online or MOM application. Of course, you need a credit card if you apply online. Renewal of stay for another 30 days would cost you around S$30 as of this writing. So you have a maximum of 2 months to hunt for a job. I’ve heard of people maximizing their stay of more than 2 months by exiting at adjacent country, it is possible, but it could be very risky on the jobseeker’s part on grounds of financial and overstaying watch. So be careful. On the other hand, you have the most advantage edge when you are physically in the country compared to the ones applying overseas through online because of the availability during interviews/evaluation when speaking of urgency. You may visit these links for job sites: Straitstimes, pinoysg, jobscentral, jobstreet, singaporejobsonline, jobsdb.

You may also visit these job portal websites: 

Monster Singapore Singapore 
Gumtree Singapore 
Craiglist Singapore 
LinkedIn Singapore 
JobHub Singapore 
JobCyclone Singapore 
Singapore Jobs Market 
Careers@Gov Singapore 
Opus IT Career Singapore 
Job-q Singapore 
GMP Recruit


Budget is the very core of all preparations for job-seeking in Singapore as a tourist. This will lose your focus on hunting down jobs if you still worry on this stuff while you’re already in the country. Probably, it will consume your time figuring it out where to get support and all. So here’s my approximate list of expenses for averaged spender individuals.

1. House Rental 
House Development Board (HDB) is a flat and the common type of residential means in Singapore aside from private-owned houses and condominiums. One unit is comprised of 3 bedrooms (the 2 common bedrooms and 1 master bedroom which has its own toilet), Kitchen, dining area, laundry area, common toilet and a living area depending on the HDB types some has its own balcony. The average rental of 1 whole unit is S$2000 to 2300. One room would cost S$600 to 700 for common bedroom and S$800-900 for master bedroom. Usually, 1 room is occupied with 2 persons. So, the average for each person would cost around S$300-350. Usual SOP in Singapore is 1 month deposit and 1 month rental. Summary: S$600 to 700 (for the 1st month) S$300 to 350/month 

 2. Food
If you are not into cooking, an average hawker menu (rice, 1 meat & 1 veggie) is around S$2.50 to 3.00 plus beverage of S$1 to 1.50 to complete a meal but if you want to save, you can bring water with you in the hawkers. So, if we consider S$3.00 as the base line it would mean S$9.00 a day, S$63.00 a week and S$252.00 a month. But if you have a thing for cooking, you can definitely stretch down the figures to a smaller value to as low as $S30.00 to 40.00 each week and even cheaper if you take bread or sandwiches for breakfast. Hawker is a food court version of the malls nearby community areas that offer cheaper foods. So, you can be your own player in this category. Summary: S$120.00/month

3. Transportation 
Modes of transportation here are MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), LRT (Light Rapid Transit), SMRT Buses, and Taxi which are air-conditioned. Travelling on MRT is relatively cheap with fares ranging from S.70 to S$2.20 on each line. So if you’re working in a 6-day basis and let’s assume that the average fare per one way trip is S$1.50, you will have S$3.00 a day, S$18.00 a week and S$72 a month. But if you are still searching for a job it does not mean you have to travel everyday for an interview so it's safe to mark it on around S$40.00 a month. Your house location to your workplace is a great factor to your transportation budget. Some people take 2 to 3 transfers every day before they reach their workplace. All transportations here are code-censored, EZ link cards are used to compensate for your ride and it is like an ATM card where you can deposit or load an amout you desire. Summary: S$72.00/month (for employed) $S40.00/month (for jobseekers)

4. Miscellaneous 
In one whole unit typical or average number of people is 6. The collective consumption of different services is usually shared and divided into number of persons in a unit. Public Utility Board or PUB is a body who is in-charge for the water and electric bills of each consumers. Some others include gas in the PUB.

PUB Share (S$240 / 6 persons) = S$40 
Cable/Internet (S$80 / 6 persons) = S$13
Mobile Phone load=S$50
Shared Toiletries=S$2

Summary: S$105/month 

5. Personal Commodities
Toiletries (Soap, Shampoo etc.) = S$10
Haircut = S$10(men)/ S$25 plus (women) 

And a lot of stuffs....for women. 


Approximately it’s safe to prepare an amount of S$900-1000 for the first month and S$600-700 for the second month and the succeeding months as well if you’re fortunate to grab a job in two-month’s time. Click this LINK for money conversion.

G - A - L - L - E - R - Y


  1. todo na to chuy!!grabeh...pra pabasa nlng sa mga curious ,more on- makulit mong frenships hahahaha

  2. yeah! wala pay makalimtan ug mention chuy...hehe

  3. Hey These are some very useful links. I also found some relevant links at Gigajob. If you want take
    time to check out latest jobs in singapore here. Hope it helps.

  4. I'm flabbergasted that you actually recommend this dishonest and unethical recruitment firm, JobOne. The owner, Ken Theng, also owns multiple business including YesTuition Agency. YesTuition agency has an extremely bad reputation and was convicted by the Singapore Government PDPC act, for misusing and publishing personal information! By submitting your job application to JobOne, you will never know if your personal information gets misused! I am a victim here, my personal information was misused and even fabricated and posted in their Yestuition’s website. I have written to Yestuition many times but they simply ignored me! Be careful of them!



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