Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)
The Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) is a type of work visa in Singapore that is issued to highly-skilled foreign professionals based on the merits of their education, experience, and prior salary; it does not require the sponsorship of an employer in Singapore. This means that a PEP pass holder can switch between employers more easily without having to cancel the existing pass and applying for a new one. Both the existing Employment Pass (EP) holders as well as overseas foreign professional looking to relocate and work in Singapore can apply for the PEP. However, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the government agency that manages the labor and employment policies in Singapore has specified eligibility criteria and an application process that foreign professionals must follow. PEP applications are subject to review and approval by MOM.
In a bid to attract highly qualified foreign talent to the country, the Singapore government provides additional benefits to holders of the Personalized Employment Pass in comparison to the standard Employment Pass. You may also consider the newly launched Overseas Network and Expertise Pass (ONE Pass Singapore).
This article will discuss the PEP, its validity and the application process that a candidate applying for the pass must follow.
What is a Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)?
A Personalized Employment Pass is a type of work visa applicable to high-earning EP holders or overseas foreign professionals. The PEP is issued to the professional and it is not tied to a specific employer. This means that once a candidate obtains a PEP he or she does not need to reapply for a new pass in case of a change in employer. One of the main advantages to PEP holders is that they can stay in Singapore continuously for a 6 month period without a job offer to evaluate suitable job opportunities for them in the country.
The pass is valid for up to 3 years and is non-renewable. When the PEP expires, the candidate must apply for a standard Employment Pass to continue working in Singapore.
A candidate can apply for the PEP if he or she is:
- An EP holder having a monthly salary of at least S$12,000 or
- An overseas foreign professional whose last drawn monthly salary is at least S$18,000. The last drawn salary must be within a 6 month period before applying for the PEP.
The following are not eligible to apply for the PEP:
- An EP holder under a sponsorship scheme;
- A freelancer;
- A sole proprietor, partner, shareholder, director in a company registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore; and
- A journalist, editor, sub-editor or producer.
You are not allowed to start a business or conduct any form of entrepreneurial activity while on a Personalized Employment Pass (PEP).
A PEP holder must fulfill the following requirements to continue holding the Pass:
- A PEP holder must not be unemployed for more than a period of 6 months in Singapore;
- A PEP holder must earn a fixed salary of at least S$144,000 annually irrespective of the number of months he or she is employed; and
- The holder must notify changes to the MOM.
How to Apply?
A candidate has the authority to apply for the PEP. The MOM outlines the following steps for the PEP application:
- A candidate can submit the PEP application form along with the documents at any SingPost branch.
- On approval of the application, the MOM will issue an in-principle approval letter.
- The PEP must be issued within 6 months of the in-principle letter.
- The candidate must register fingerprint and photo on the issuance of the PEP.
- The MOM will deliver the card to the address listed in the application.
The request to issue the PEP can be made through EP Online.
When applying for the PEP copies of the following documents must be submitted:
- Personal particulars page of candidate’s passport;
- Academic certificates;
- New or previous employment contracts;
- Employment history;
- Latest 3 months salary slips & bank account statements; and
- Latest tax statement.
Please note that any document not available in English must be translated to English.
Cancelling and Replacing a PEP
Cancelling the PEP
A candidate (PEP holder) or an employment agent can cancel the PEP if the holder has been unemployed for a period exceeding 6 months. The pass can be cancelled immediately on EP Online. The person cancelling the pass must remember to issue a Short Term Visit Pass for 30 days if the PEP holder is still staying in Singapore. The original pass must be returned within 1 week of cancellation.
Replacing the PEP
If a PEP card is stolen, lost or damaged, either the PEP holder or an employment agent can apply for a replacement within a period of 7 days. If a PEP holder’s card is stolen, he or she has to file a police report.
A PEP holder has to notify the MOM in case of changes such as a change in residential or personal details, change in employer, change in contract details. The holder also has to notify the MOM annually declaring his or her annual salary. The timeline within which you have to notify the MOM differs depending on nature of the change.
Passes for the Family of the PEP holder
A PEP holder can bring his or her family members to Singapore either on the Dependant’s Pass or the Long Term Visit Pass. Family members include the PEP holder’s:
- Common-law spouse.
- Children under the age of 21 years.
- Unmarried handicapped children above the age of 21 years.
- Unmarried stepchildren under the age of 21 years.
Before granting any Singapore visa, the MOM thoroughly scrutinizes all applications. A foreign professional applying for the PEP should consider contacting a corporate services provider to help with the application process. This reduces the chances of rejection of the foreign professional’s application by the MOM. Additionally, the service provider can help notify the authorities about changes to the PEP in a timely manner.
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