Rationale Behind Hiring Foreigners For Jobs In Singapore [Infographic]

foreigners jobs in singapore

JobStreet surveyed 1,400 Singaporean jobseekers and 200 employers, to get some perspectives on why companies hire foreigners for jobs in Singapore.

Here are the highlights and an infographic of the results:

  • 66% of local job seekers considered low cost of labour as the reason for hiring foreigners. Only 16% of employers had the same view.
  • 40% of employers felt that the flexibility of foreigners to take up jobs in Singapore that locals avoid was the main reason for hire.
  • 27% of locals saw value in working with non-Singaporeans. Foreigners were thought to be less demanding at work and better skilled in their area of work compared to Singaporeans.
  • 47% of the employers reaffirmed their decision to hire foreigners for jobs in Singapore, citing lower employee turnover rate as the key benefit. Other benefits mentioned include non-Singaporeans having fewer demands at work and being more willing to put in longer hours at work.

foreigners jobs in singapore

Visa Options When Looking For Jobs in Singapore For Foreigners

singapore work visa employment-pass

When aiming for jobs in Singapore for foreigners, here’s a quick look at your Singapore visa and work visa options.

Options for which you can apply without a job in hand

Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) [This has been discontinued]

The EPEC allows foreigners to stay in Singapore for up to one year to facilitate their job search in Singapore. Successful EPEC applicants are required to apply for a one-year Visit Pass to allow them to stay in Singapore. This is only valid for the job search phase. Once you are employed your employer will need to apply for an Employment Pass for you.

Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)

Foreigners who wish to work in Singapore may be eligible for the Personalised Employment Pass if:

  1. their last drawn fixed monthly salary overseas was above a certain amount, or
  2. they are former  P1 Pass holders who are now residing overseas.

Employers will not need to apply for any other pass for you. This pass is valid for 5 years but you cannot be unemployed for more than 6 months at a stretch. The popularity of this option has increased over the years with people looking for jobs in Singapore for foreigners.

Visit Pass

You can apply for (and extend) a regular visa to visit Singapore for a short while and search for a job during this time. Once you are employed your employer will need to apply for an Employment Pass.

Options for which you need a prospective employer to apply

Employment Pass (EP)

The EP is for skilled employees who will be working in Singapore, with a minimum salary starting at S$2,800. There are three different types of EPs, the P1, P2 and Q1.

S Pass

The S Pass is for mid-skilled employees who will be earning a fixed monthly salary of at least $2,000.

Letter of Consent

If you are a Dependant Pass holder and want to work in Singapore, then a prospective employer can employ you by applying for a Letter of Consent (instead of an EP or S Pass, which are also possible options).

For jobs in Singapore for foreigners, The MOM approves Employment Pass applications based on several factors

singapore employment pass eligibility approve

Note: The minimum salary requirements change from time to time, so please follow the links provided above, to view the latest figures on the MOM website.

No More Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) For Foreigners Wanting To Work In Singapore


The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has decided to discontinue the Employment Pass Eligibility Certificate (EPEC) scheme from 1 December 2011. From now on the MOM will not be accepting any applications for EPECs.

The EPEC was introduced in 1992 and is a certificate which signalled to employers that its holder is likely to be eligible for an Employment Pass.  It also allows its holder to stay in Singapore to facilitate their job search and is valid for 2 years.

After an individual received an EPEC they need to activate it, which meant applying for a Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) to stay in Singapore (for up to 1 year previously). The LTVSP could be applied for any time during the 2 year validity period of the EPEC.

Here are some FAQs which the MOM has answered regarding suspension of the EPEC:

Without the EPEC, how can a foreigner search for a job in Singapore?

There are many means whereby foreign talent can search for job opportunities in Singapore without the need to be physically present (such as job boards and recruitment firms).

Foreign students who are graduating from selected local institutes of higher learning (IHLs) can apply for a one-year LTVP to stay in Singapore after graduation to look for a job.  The list of IHLs is available on the ICA website.

I am an EPEC holder.  What are my current options?

If your EPEC is still valid and you are interested in coming to Singapore to look for a job, you can apply for a non-renewable three-month LTVP from ICA, before your EPEC expires. If your EPEC is still valid but you have no plans to come to Singapore to look for a job, you do not need to do anything.    If your EPEC has expired, you will not be able to renew your EPEC or apply for a LTVP from ICA.

I applied successfully for an EPEC before 1 December 2011, but have not applied for an LTVP from ICA.  What is the duration of the LTVP I can apply for?

You can apply for a non-renewable three-month LTVP from ICA.

 I have previously applied successfully for an EPEC and LTVP.  Can I still apply for another three-month LTVP from ICA using the EPEC? 

No.  You will not be able to apply for another LTVP from ICA with your EPEC if you have already previously done so.

My EPEC has expired.  Can I renew my EPEC or apply for a LTVP from ICA?

No.  The EPEC is issued on a one-time basis and is non-renewable.  You will not be able to apply for a LTVP from ICA using the EPEC.

My EPEC application is still being processed.  Will my application be rejected?

All EPEC applications that are being processed will be assessed with the same criteria as before.  EPEC applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application via email. Successful applicants will be issued EPECs which will still remain valid for 2 years from the date of issue.

Can I still use my EPEC during my job search in Singapore after 1 December 2011?

Yes, you can use your EPEC as a signal to employers during your job search in Singapore after 1 December 2011, as long as your EPEC is still valid (i.e. 2 years from the date of issue).