What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has posted new standard processing times for Work Passes, Dependant’s Passes and Long Term Visit Passes.

What does the change mean? The posted processing time for online submissions of Work Passes, Dependant’s Passes and Long Term Visit Passes is now three weeks, up from the previous standard of one week.

  • Implementation time frame: MOM has advised that applications filed prior to March 11 will be processed under the old timing, but that anything filed since March 11 will be subject to the new processing times.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work Passes, Dependant’s Pass and Long Term Visit Pass, including renewals.
  • Who is affected: Employers and foreign nationals applying for any of the above-listed passes.
  • Impact on processing times: The change adds about two weeks to the processing time for the passes listed above.
  • Business impact: Businesses may need to adjust timelines and start dates because of the increased processing times.

Background: The new processing times were posted within the last week. MOM said processing times had not been updated since between 2005 and 2010.

“Our employment and security landscape has since evolved and MOM has put in place more measures to check and verify work pass applications,” MOM said in a statement. “These measures, such as verifying documents, qualifications and data with other government agencies and even overseas organisations take more time.” MOM added that it has “stepped up to check if the hiring firms are adopting fair employment practices.”

Additional information on the application process for passes and permits is available on MOM’s FAQ site.

BAL Analysis: Employers should take note of the new processing times and plan their schedules accordingly. While the posted processing times reflect how long it takes for standard applications to be processed, delays are possible if MOM requests additional information or if there are other unexpected complications.

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

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