What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower will be introducing a virtual work pass and mobile app that will allow holders to check their validity, expiration dates and other details via the web or mobile devices.

What does the change mean? The virtual work passes will not entirely replace physical cards, but will enhance security because personal information will no longer be displayed on the physical cards. Additionally, users will continue to be able to log on to the existing Employment Pass Online and Work Permit Online systems to check their information.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The change will be phased in according to industry sector for work permits. Implementation for employment passes, S passes, dependent’s passes and long-term visit passes is set for March 2018.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work permits, employment passes, S passes and other types of long-term passes.
  • Who is affected: Employers sponsoring foreign workers in Singapore.
  • Impact on processing: Work pass holders will not need to replace their physical cards when renewing their passes.
  • Business impact: The change will add convenience and security to work passes and will streamline services by moving information contained on the cards to web-based applications.  

Background: The ministry announced Aug. 28 that it would unveil a SGWorkPass mobile app for users to check the validity of their employment passes.

Work permits for the construction and marine industries will be phased in first by September, followed by work permits for most other sectors in February 2018. By March 2018, employment passes, S passes and all other long-term passes will be phased into the system.

BAL Analysis: The introduction of virtual work passes is consistent with the ministry’s efforts to digitize and streamline processes to enhance verification, reduce document fraud and provide flexible options for users.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Singapore. For additional information, please contact

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