Changes to work immigration rules – Dependant’s Pass holders will require Work Pass in order to work in Singapore

With effect from 1 May 2021, any foreigner in Singapore on a dependant's pass (“DP Holder”) will need to have their own work pass in order to be employed in Singapore; the current Letter of Consent (“LOC”) method will no longer be effective.

Employers employing DP Holders will now be required to sponsor work passes for these individuals once their current LOC expires. Practically, when applying for a work pass for a DP Holder, an employer will need to consider:

  • whether the DP Holder meets the relevant minimum qualifying salary for that type of work pass;
  • whether employment of the DP Holder will cause the employer to exceed its dependency ratio; and
  • payment of the relevant foreign worker levy to the Ministry of Manpower.

A DP Holder who owns a business in Singapore will be permitted to continue working under an LOC if the business creates local employment. Such a DP Holder will need to (i) be a sole proprietor, partner or company director; and (ii) hold at least 30% of the shares in the business. Further, that business must employ at least one Singaporean or permanent resident earning at least S$1,400/month and make contributions to the employee's Central Provident Fund account for at least three months.

If the DP Holder’s business does not meet these criteria, he/she may (i) continue to run that business on an existing LOC until its expiry; and/or (ii) apply for a one-off extension (which would run until April 30, 2022) when the dependant's pass comes up for renewal.

This article is produced by our Singapore office, Bird & Bird ATMD LLP, and does not constitute legal advice. It is intended to provide general information only. Please note that the information in this article is accurate as at 31 May 2021. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on any changes as soon as these are communicated to us. Please contact our lawyers if you have any specific queries.

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