The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated Singapore’s need to attract global talent. The country has acted swiftly and contained the spread of the virus, opening their borders fully to all. Hong Kong, the financial hub of Asia, is still struggling with quarantine and COVID-19 containment measures. Similarly, China’s strict zero-COVID policy has driven many people to leave the country and come to Singapore in search of better work and study opportunities.
Singapore Introduces “ONE” Pass
The Singapore government recently announced a new initiative to attract top global talent. A new work pass, the Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass (ONE), will be open for applications from 1 January 2023. This move is one of several measures Singapore has put in place to strengthen its position as a global talent hub. The country has been making progressive plans to bring in the best people around the world and to accelerate the development of the local talent pool.
The new Overseas Networks and Expertise Pass for top foreign professionals has a criterion of S$30,000 in fixed monthly salary. Applicants who do not meet this salary threshold can also apply if they have outstanding achievements in the fields of arts, sports, science or academia.
The pass will be valid for five years, compared to the current two years for new Employment Pass (EP) applicants, and it is not tied to a job role in Singapore. Spouses of the ONE Pass holders are also able to obtain a Letter of Consent (LOC) to work in Singapore. The longer five-year duration of the pass, as well as the letter of consent (LOC) for spouses, is meant to further encourage top talent to come to Singapore. For overseas candidates, the previous or prospective employer must also have a market capitalisation of at least US$500 million or an annual revenue of at least US$200 million.
Employment Pass and ONE Pass Comparison
The following table provides a quick snapshot of the difference between the current EP and the upcoming ONE Pass:
|Employment Pass||ONE Pass|
|What can you do with the pass?||Work for an employer||Concurrently start, operate and work for multiple companies at any one time|
||Must earn a minimum of S$30,000 fixed monthly salary within the past year, or will do so under future employer in Singapore|
|Pass validity for new applicants||
Five years for experienced tech professionals with skills in shortage from 1 September 2023
Yes, for three years
|Yes, for three years|
|Eligibility to bring dependants?||Yes, only if candidates earn a minimum of S$6000 (for spouses and children) or S$12,000 for parents||Yes, spouses can work with a Letter of Consent (LOC)|
Changes to the S Pass
Concurrently, the Singapore government has also announced changes to the S Pass qualifying salaries. The following table summarises these changes:
|New applications: submitted on or after 1 September 2022
Renewals: from 1 September 2023
|New applications: from 1 September 2023
Renewals: from 1 September 2024
| New applications: from 1 September 2025
Renewals: from 1 September 2026
|All Sectors (except financial services)||S$3,000
(Increases progressively with age, up to $4,500 for those in mid-40s)
|At least S$3,150 (to be finalised)||At least S$3,300 (to be finalised)|
(Increases progressively with age, up to $5,500 for those in mid-40s)
|At least S$3,650 (to be finalised)||At least S$3,800 (to be finalised)|
|Eligibility to bring dependants?||Yes, only if candidates earn a minimum of S$6000 (for spouses and children) or S$12,000 for parents|
Changes to S Pass Quota
|From 1 Jan 2023|
||Change from 18% to 15% of total workforce|
If you are unsure whether you qualify for an Employment Pass or S Pass, we highly recommend you use the Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) to check before applying or renewing your pass.
With all these measures in place, Singapore is indeed an ideal location to be considered for your next corporate relocation. With sophisticated infrastructure in place, a stable government and family-friendly policies, we foresee high employee mobility activity into the country.
Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.