May 3, 2021

Singapore to Change Dependant’s Pass Work Authorizations

To align the Dependant’s Pass (DP) holder’s requirements with those of all other foreign nationals working in Singapore, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has announced that they will soon need a formal employment pass to be permitted to work.
At present, dependants of foreign national Employment Pass, EntrePass or Personalized Employment Pass holders can apply for a Letter of Consent to be able to work in Singapore. However, beginning May 1, 2021, Dependant’s Pass holders will be required to obtain an applicable work pass (Employment Pass, S Pass or Work Permit) and the Letter of Consent (LOC) will no longer be sufficient to permit them to work in Singapore. This process is already in place for dependants of S Pass holders.

The Ministry of Manpower advised that DP holders working in Singapore with a letter of consent represent approximately one per cent of all work pass holders. Most of these individuals meet prevailing work pass criteria, but those who do not will have to cease working in Singapore.

Those DP holders who are currently working are allowed to continue to do so until the expiry of their Letter of Consent. Employers will then need to apply for the relevant work pass should the individual wish to continue working beyond the expiry of their current LOC. MOM will facilitate the transition to a work pass as long as they meet the relevant qualifying salary, dependency ratio ceiling, and/or levies for the respective work passes.

The exception to the changes are DP holders who are also business owners. These individuals may continue running their businesses on an LOC as long as their business is providing local employment opportunities, and they meet the following specified criteria:

    1. The DP holder is a sole proprietor, partner, or company director with at least 30% shareholding in the business; and
    2. The business hires at least one Singaporean/Permanent Resident who earns at least the prevailing Local Qualifying Salary (currently $1,400) and receives CPF contributions for at least 3 months.

Those who do not meet the above criteria can continue work and to run their business in Singapore on their existing LOC until its expiration, or apply for a one-off extension until April 30, 2022. However, after that period they will need to either meet the above criteria to be eligible to renew their LOC, or obtain an applicable work pass.

Any Dependant Permit holder who plans to start a new business can apply for an LOC to do so if they meet the criteria above.

For further information on the requirements for dependents to work in Singapore, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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