Singapore: Work Permit Processing to Be Simplified

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By Michael Mackey

Oct. 29—The Ministry of Manpower is making procedural changes to simplify the work permit application process, an MOM spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 23.

“MOM is currently reviewing our work pass processes to improve the user experience,” the spokesperson said.

On Oct. 16, MOM and the Development Bank of Singapore launched a one-stop process for work permit applicants to open a Post Office Savings Bank account, a required part of the application process. Under the new procedure, an employer will bring a new employee to the MOM Services Center for the card registration appointment, and the following day the employee can visit the POSB Account Services Center for Work Permit holders to activate the bank account and collect the associated ATM card.

“With this initiative, the employer and the work permit applicant can apply for the bank account and the work permit at the same time,” the MOM spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA. “It is therefore possible to have a banking account, complete with an ATM card, within just seven days of a worker's arrival in Singapore.”

Because “this initiative is currently designed for work permit holders, specifically the lower-skilled group in our foreign workforce,” it will have little immediate effect on U.S. employers “whose work in Singapore typically falls into the higher-skilled categories,” the MOM spokesperson said.

“Depending on how this initiative works out,” however, “we will consider including the other pass types,” the spokesperson added.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Mackey in Bangkok at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at

For more information on Singapore HR law and regulation, see the Singapore primer.