SINGAPORE: Work Pass Exemption Limitations Announced

The rules surrounding Singaporean Work Pass Exemptions have been changed, as announced by the Ministry of Manpower (MoM).

Foreign nationals can enter Singapore on a short term visit pass, which is valid for up to 60 days, and carry out work pass exempt activities which can include but are not limited to, attending seminars, being a participant in exhibitions and short term journalistic activities, provided they were engaged to perform said activities before entering the country. Foreign nationals must inform MoM of their intention to carry out exempted activities upon arrival in Singapore.

The announced change now states that foreign nationals using the work pass exemption are limited to a 90 day period within a calendar year, meaning that they can visit under these conditions for 60 consecutive days and then can return at a later date for a further 30 days only.

Prior to the change there was no set policy on how often the work pass exemption could be used, and so many foreign nationals would file to re-enter the country multiple times within the same year. The change now means that any foreign national wishing to work more than 90 days in any one year will be required to apply for a Work Pass.

As part of the changes to the work pass exemption MoM have also removed “software installation” as an exempted activity, under the category of “Specialised Services related to a New Plant / Operation / Equipment”. The following activities under this category will continue to be work pass exempt:

  • Commissioning or audit of any new plant and equipment.
  • Installing, dismantling, transfer, repair, or maintenance of any machine or equipment.

Should you need further advice or information on Singaporean immigration, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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