Work Live Study in Singapore   

Singapore An Introduction

Physical location:

Singapore is an island city state located at the southern most tip of Peninsula Malaysia 
The main island of Singapore is 42 k.m. from the east to west and 23 k.m. from north to south. 
The total land area is 647.5 square k.m. Average daily temperature is a maximum of 30.8 degrees C 
in the afternoon and the minimum is 23 degrees C. just before dawn . Average daily relative humidity is 84.4 % .

Population: projected total population target 6.5 million by 2030

Total population: (source: SDOS & ICA)

1970: 2.07 million (2.01m SC/SPR & 61,000 foreigners)
1980: 2.41 million (2.28m SC/SPR & 131,000 foreigners)
1990: 3.05 million (2.74m SC/SPR & 311,000 foreigners)
2000: 4.03 million (3.27m SC/SPR & 745,500 foreigners)
2006  4.48 million (3.60m SC/SPR & 875,000 foreigners)
2007  4.5886 million (3.1338 SC / 0.4492  SPR & 1.0055 foreigners)
2008  4.8394 million (3.1644 SC / 0.4782 SPR & 1.1967 foreigners)
2010  5.08 million as at 31/06/10 (3.2m SC / 0 .540m SPR & 1.31m foreigners 
2012  5.31 million (3.285 SC | 0.533 PR & 1.494 non residents)
2013  5.40 million (3.313 SC | 0.531 PR & 1.554 non residents)

Singapore citizens and permanent residents

Citizenships & SPRs Granted to foreigners by ICA (source: ST )

Year                           Citizenships     SPRs
2002                            7,600                39,500
2003                            6,800                32,000
2004                            7,600                36,900
2005                           12,900               52,300
2006                           13,200               57,300
2007                           17,334               63,627
2008                           20,513               79,167  
2009                           19,900               59,500
Apr 09 - Mar 10           19,300               46,300  
                                                      LTSVP applications               LTSVP Approved
Mar 2009 - Mar 2010 total               70,300 Applications              56,300 Approved

                                                          SC Spouse applications            SC Spouse Approved
Annual Average   2005 -2009             15,400 LTSVP                             13,200 LTSVP
Annual Average   2005 -2009              9,900 SPR                                    5,400 SPR

132,000 SPR applications were received by ICA in 2009. 115,000 were processed and 
59,500 were successful. Many of  the PRs were family members of new SPRs as well as 
dependents of Singapore Citizens. The selection process is stringent. Most new PRs were 
the Professionals, Technical Personnel and Skilled Workers under the Employment Pass.
It assesses their tertiary and professional qualifications. One criterion used is whether 
they can integrate well into Singapore society.

The Straits Times reported on 20th July 2010 that the total population of Non Resident 
Singaporeans (PRs + foreigners) is about 1.79 million. The 2009 Ethnic composition (%) 
of resident population: Chinese 74.2%; Malays 13.4%; Indians 9.2% & Others 3.2%. Of the 
74.2 Chinese a recent S.T. report estimated the Dialectic grouping as 41% Hokkien; 21% Teochew;
15% Cantonese; 8% Hakka; about 200,00 Hainanese and around 50,000 FooChow

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Foreign Worker's Policy:

The philosophy of the Foreign Worker's Policy is to maintain a controlled and revolving pool of 
foreign workers to supplement the local workforce due a a declining birth rate, aging population, 
fast economic growth and Singaporeans shunning dirt, dangerous and demeaning type of work. 
The approved sources for foreign workers for Singapore Work Permits issued by the Ministry of 
Manpower includes South Korea, Taiwan, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, Macao, India, 
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. There 
is no nationality restrictions to work in Singapore under Singapore Employment Pass or S Pass  
issued by Singapore Ministry of Manpower. The ST of 17/03/09 reported that Singapore total employment 
as at December 2008 is 2,952,400 of which 1,894,700 are local and 1,057,700 are foreigners. 

English language is the official government administrative language and hence all documents to be 
submitted for official matters to ICA or MOM must have English translations .

Medical Examination for Foreign Workers, WP, SPass, EP, DEP,  Foreign Students & SPR  

Medical Examination is required for foreigners who applied and obtained in-principle approval for 
Student Pass, Work Permit, S Pass, Employment Passes of 6 month's duration or more, Long Term 
Immigration Passes and Permanent Residence. The Medical Report from a Singapore registered doctor 
should be submitted in person by the applicant. Issuance of the Student Passes, Work Permits, S Passes. 
Employment Passes, SPR will be subjected to the outcome of the medical report.  Call Steve 65-98365486 
to make arrangements. Cost of normal medical exam is S$50. For express or same day result the cost is $80-100


Work Permit Holders

A Work Permit (WP) is generally issued to foreign unskilled workers.

The duration of a Work Permit is generally two years, subject to the validity of the workerís
passport, the Bankerís/Insurance Guarantee, and the workerís employment period, whichever is
shorter. The worker is only allowed to work for the employer and in the specified occupation.

Specific variants of Work Permits allow foreigners to work as domestic helpers, confinement
nannies and performing artistes.

The minimum age for all non-domestic foreign workers is 18 years old. To apply for a Work Permit, 
Malaysians must be below 58 years old while non-Malaysians must be below 50 years old.

WP Holder (Excluding FDW) 670,000 in 2010; 702,000 in 2011; 713,000 in 6/2013

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Foreign Domestic Workers

WEF  1/1/05 the minimum age limit will be at least 23 years + 8 years of formal education 
There are 201,500 FDWs as at 6/2013


Employment Pass Holders

The Employment Pass allows foreign professionals to work in Singapore. It applies to foreigners
who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $3300 , and have recognised qualifications. Employers
must make applications for Employment Passes on behalf of a job candidate. Any change of employer
will require a new application.

EPholder: 115,000 in 2009; 142,000 in 2010; 176,000 in 2011; 170,500 in 6/2013

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S Pass

The S Pass allows mid-level skilled foreigners who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least
$2,200 to work in Singapore. Employers must make S Pass applications on behalf of a job candidate.

S Pass applications are assessed on multiple criteria including salary, education qualification,
skills, job type and work experience.

From 1 July 2013, the following changes will apply to all sectors:

SPass Holders: 82,000 in 2009; 98,000 in 2010; 113,000 in 2011; 155,000 at 6/2013

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Professional Visit Pass Holders replaced by

Work Permit  Performing Artiste
Miscellaneous Work Pass
Work Pass Exempt Activities


Student's Pass Holders

It is an offence under the Singapore Immigration Regulations for a foreign student to attend school 
without a valid student pass. A foreign student seeking admission to a kindergarten, private school 
or an institution of higher learning e.g. university or polytechnic should approach them directly for 
admission. Donation to the Education Fund of the Ministry of Education is not required for admission 
to a kindergarten, private school or institute of higher learning.  The present foreign student enrolment 
in Singapore at 6/2013 is 77,500 (a decline over prior years)

Click here for information on Part Time courses


Singapore Laws

Foreigners working, living or visiting Singapore are subject to Singapore laws. Singaporeans and 
foreigners are accorded the same protection under Singapore Laws. The trafficking and possession 
of illicit narcotic drugs carries the mandatory death sentence. Overstaying or entering illegally in 
Singapore is a serious offence and on conviction the penalties may include mandatory imprisonment 
and caning. Employers hiring illegal workers are also severely punished with huge fines plus possible 
caning for repeat offenders. 

Examples of Some Offences and their Penalties

Application for Singapore Permanent Residence & Citizenship

SPRs can remain in Singapore until their five-year re-entry permit expires. 

2012  5.31 million (3.285 SC | 0.533 PR & 1.494 non residents)
2013  5.40 million (3.313 SC | 0.531 PR & 1.554 non residents)

For updated information on SPR & Citizenship


Singaporeans & Foreign Spouses

Immigration rules have been relaxed to allow Singaporean women who marry foreigners to bring 
in their husbands. From 2nd Jan 1999 Singaporean woman can sponsor her foreign husband for PR 
so long as the family has the means to support itself. Foreigners who have ever work in Singapore 
under Work Permit scheme must obtained the prior written approval of MOM before contracting a 
marriage with any Singaporean or SPR. Failure to adhere to this MOM ruling can cause the 
offending party to be barred from entering into Singapore. 

Long Term Pass


Singapore Income Tax Liability for Foreigners

Foreigners have to pay tax on income earned in Singapore and the amount of income they have to 
pay would depend on how much they earn and their tax residency. Source: IRAS Advisory to 
employers Ref: 2010/F&C/1/2010

Period of stay Tax Resident Status Tax Implications
183 days or more Resident All incomes will be taxed at progressive resident rates. Tax relief can be claimed
61 to 182 days Non-resident Employment income is taxed at 15% or progressive resident rates, depending on which results in a higher tax. Director's fees and other income are taxed at the prevailing rate of 20%. Tax reliefs are not allowed
60 days or less Non-resident The short term employment income is exempt from tax. Director's fees and other income are taxed at the prevailing rate of 20%. Tax relief are not allowed

Caution : No one should rely on any of the above information without first verifying the accuracy and validity of the contents with the relevant experts or proper government authorities in Singapore. Email us for general enquiries

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