A guide to the different types of passes needed to work in Singapore

The suggestion to relocate to a different country is always an exciting and courageous move, especially if it presents new opportunities or career advancement for you, or your family. Many families looking to emigrate choose Singapore for this reason.

Once you have arrived in Singapore, settled in and visited the sights the island has to offer, it’s time to allow your visit to be sustained and funded for you and your family for an indefinite amount of time! Eltoma can help you obtain a Letter of Consent, which will give you a much wider range of opportunities for employment in Singapore.

What is a Letter of Consent?

A Letter of Consent is a document supplied by the Ministry of Manpower, which allows qualified Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pass holders to seek employment or start a business in Singapore.

For those seeking employment, the application for the letter of consent is typically done after a job offer has been confirmed or secured. The prospective employer will then submit the application to the Ministry of Manpower. For those who are starting their own company should look into setting up the company before making any application. The average processing time for this type of application is about one week.

Dependant or long Term Visitor Pass holders can apply for a Letter of Consent with the MOM. Upon approval of letter, the holder can start work.

What is a Dependant Pass?

A Dependant Pass has a much wider definition than that of a Long Term Visitor Pass, as it includes not only the spouse, but also all the immediate family members of an individual holding a work visa (e.g. Employment Pass / EntrePass) with has a monthly salary of at least SGD $5,000.

To apply for a Dependant Pass, you need to meet the requirements for any of the following criteria:

  • Are the legally married spouse to a sponsor.
  • Are a child who is under 21 years old, unmarried to a sponsor.
  • Are a legally adopted child who is under 21 years old to a sponsor.

What is a Long-Term Visit Pass?

To obtain a Long-Term Visitor Pass, one would need to be married to a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident. Generally, married couples with a Singaporean child are considered more favourably. For those with no children, the duration of marriage may be taken into consideration. Besides being able to work in Singapore, LTVP holders can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Certainty of stay in Singapore.
  • Eligibility for healthcare.
  • Employers will not need to pay foreign workers’ levy when employing an LTVP holder.
  • An LTVP is granted for three years and can be renewed for up to five years at each subsequent renewal.

Applying for different passes

The application for a Dependent Pass or Long Term Visit Pass can be organised by a professional service provider. The advantage of engaging a service provider like Eltoma Corporate Services is that we have access to the MOM’s online electronic portal. We also have an understanding of the processes and procedures and can inform you about what documentation is required or needs to be prepared initially. Predominantly for individuals whose country of origin does not issue certifications in English, a translated copy will need to be supplied, certified by either a Notary or a translator who is certified by Ministry of Manpower.

What Opportunities does a LOC present?

A. Seeking employment

This option is usually for those who choose to control their existing skills and would like to enjoy the assurance of a steady and reliable income. Especially since Singapore is now actively asserting employers to embrace more flexi-hour or work-from-home provisions, the current job market is full of opportunities for those who want to continue employment whilst managing external or family commitments.

B. Setting up a Sole Proprietorship

A Sole Proprietorship is the simplest form of business structure, where only one owner is responsible for any decisions, assets and liabilities. Given its simplicity, a Sole Proprietorship is easy to start, easier to manage from an administration perspective and has fewer compliance regulations to adhere to, compared to an incorporated company.

C. Setting up a PLC (Private Limited Company)

While it also offers LOC holders the route to entrepreneurship, option (C) is different from the previous options. Matters such as loans & financing and on-going statutory compliance have to be taken into account. Contact us to know more about how to incorporate a company in Singapore.

What else should I know about a Letter of Consent?

Approval of a Letter of Consent is subject to the Ministry of Manpower’s discretion; and while the process and application procedure is much easier than applying for a full work visa (such as the Employment Pass / EntrePass etc), it is also conditional on the approval and renewal of your sponsor’s work visa, which could be your family member or spouse. In the event that your sponsor’s work visa is annulled, your LOC will be cancelled as a matter of succession.

While this automatic cancellation may be cause for concern among some employers, the current tight labour market in Singapore has resulted in employers becoming increasingly willing to take on Letter of Consent holders as employees, as a result of the increased limitations on foreign workers implemented by the Ministry of Manpower over recent years.

Asper the MOM’s new foreign labour policy, companies are required to comply with a quota to ensure competitive job packages and adequate job opportunities for locals. Therefore, the number of foreign workers (who have different skill sets, or seek a lower compensation package) that a company can employ is very much restricted. In spite of this, Letter of Consent holders will not be considered as a foreign worker and prospective employees will therefore save on additional government taxes and do not need to think about their company’s quota.


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