4 things to know about Singapore’s work pass framework enhancements

SINGAPORE – In his National Day Rally speech on Aug 21, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the importance of building a world-class talent pool in Singapore and the need to develop, attract and retain top talent here.

“This is an age where talent makes all the difference to a nation’s success,” he said.

In remarks delivered on Monday (Aug 29), Manpower Minister Tan See Leng added that since talent is Singapore’s only resource, acquiring it constitutes an “offensive strategy” for the nation.

On that front, he announced four targeted enhancements to the Republic’s work pass framework to better attract top talent and experienced professionals in areas facing a shortage of skills, such as technology.

The enhancements introduced were the following:

1. A new Overseas Networks & Expertise (One) Pass

From Jan 1, 2023, applications will open for this signature pass for top talent across sectors.

The aim of the One Pass is to attract global talent with valuable networks as well as deep skills and expertise in their fields that can help Singapore grow.

The One Pass will have a duration of five years, which is longer than the two or three years for typical Employment Pass (EP) candidates. It will provide pass holders the flexibility of assuming multiple roles and contributing meaningfully to Singapore’s economy.

Spouses of One Pass holders will also be able to work in Singapore upon obtaining a Letter of Consent.

To qualify, applicants will need to earn a fixed monthly salary of $30,000 and above, comparable to the top 5 per cent of EP holders.

Overseas candidates with no recent employment history in Singapore must demonstrate that they have worked or will be working for an established company that has a market cap of at least US$500 million (S$699 million) or annual revenue of US$200 million.

However, individuals with outstanding achievements across the arts and culture, sports, science and technology, and research and academia can also qualify even if they do not meet the salary criterion.