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From May 1, dependant’s pass holders will need to obtain work passes if they want to work in S’pore

SINGAPORE — From May 1, spouses and family members of foreigners working in Singapore who hold dependant's passes will need to obtain a work pass in order to work here, the Manpower Ministry announced on Wednesday (March 3).

From May 1, dependant’s pass holders will need to obtain work passes if they want to work in S’pore

The change means that spouses and other dependants of work pass holders will be subject to the same requirements as all other foreigners if they want to work in Singapore.

  • Family members of foreigners working here who hold dependant’s passes must obtain a work pass if they want to seek employment here
  • The change will take effect from May 1 
  • Employers who currently hire them must apply for work passes if they want to continue employing these pass holders

SINGAPORE — From May 1, spouses and family members of foreigners working in Singapore who hold dependant's passes will need to obtain a work pass in order to work here, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced on Wednesday (March 3).

Right now, dependant's passes holders who want to seek employment have to get a letter of consent from the MOM. 

The change means that spouses and other dependants of work pass holders will be subject to the same requirements as all other foreigners if they want to work in Singapore. 

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said: “We will provide sufficient time for existing dependant's pass holders working on a letter of consent, as well as their employers, to transit to this new arrangement. Most of them meet prevailing work pass criteria. Those who do not will have to cease working in Singapore.”

She said that most dependant's pass holders do not work during their stay in Singapore — they represent about 1 per cent of all work pass holders.

Existing dependant's pass holders who are now employed can still continue working until the expiry of their letter of consent.

When the letter of consent lapses, employers of dependant's pass holders will need to apply for an applicable work pass if they wish to continue hiring them. 

MOM will “facilitate the transition to a work pass”, it said in a factsheet released to the media during a parliamentary debate into its budget.

The relevant qualifying salary, dependency ratio ceiling, as well as levies for the respective work passes will apply for these employers.

The move is intended to align the requirements for dependant's pass holders who wish to work in Singapore with those for all other foreigners working here, and will bring consistency to recent updates to the work pass framework, the ministry added.

The framework was tightened in last year’s Unity Budget by raising the salary requirements for employment pass holders — from S$3,900 to S$4,500, and to at least S$5,000 for those in the financial services sector. The qualifying salary for an S pass, issued to a mid-level skilled worker, was also raised as well.

MOM recently tightened other rules on family members of foreigners. Last November, it told intra-corporate transferees — foreign employees who were posted here by their multinational corporations — not to bring their family members to Singapore under dependant's passes or long-term visit passes, The Straits Times reported.

PASS HOLDERS WHO OWN BUSINESSES

An exemption is granted for certain business owners who hold dependant's passes, MOM said.

These dependant's pass holders can continue running the businesses with a letter of consent if their businesses create domestic employment.

They will have to fulfil the following criteria:

  • The dependant's pass holder is a sole proprietor, partner or company director with at least 30 per cent shareholding in the business
  • The business hires at least one Singaporean or permanent resident who earns at least the prevailing Local Qualifying Salary (currently S$1,400) and receives Central Provident Fund contributions for at least three months

The Local Qualifying Salary is a pay level for residents used by MOM to determine whether resident workers are meaningfully employed and not just given token salaries to allow the employer to hire foreign workers.

If dependant's pass holders own businesses that do not meet the criteria, they will be allowed to run the business until the letter of consent expires.

They may also apply for a one-off extension of their letter of consent until 30 April 2022 when next renewing their dependant's pass, MOM said.

“Thereafter, they will need to meet the criteria... in order to renew their letter of consent, or obtain an applicable work pass to continue working in Singapore,” it said, adding that more details of the changes will be released on May 1.

Related topics

dependant’s pass work pass S-Pass MOM letter of consent

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