What is the change? Qualifying salary requirements for S Pass holders will increase from 2,200 to 2,300 Singapore dollars (from about US$1,606 to $1,679) in January.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals who are employed locally in Singapore and who require an S Pass to work in-country are now expected to meet a minimum monthly salary of SG$2,300 in order to apply, an increase of SG$100 from the previously set salary requirement.

  • Implementation time frame: Increases to the minimum salary for new S pass applications will take effect Jan. 1; For S Pass renewals, the new minimum salary will take effect for S passes expiring after July 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: S Passes (new and renewal applications).
  • Who is affected: Employers sponsoring an S Pass, employees applying for an S Pass, existing S Pass holders for renewal.
  • Business impact: Businesses may see an increase in labor costs and tighter criteria to assess S Pass eligibility, which may also result in downgrades if the company is eligible to sponsor work permits.
  • Next steps: Applicants for new and renewal S Passes must meet the new salary levels.

Background: The 2019 increase is part of a two-phase transition, announced by the Ministry of Manpower Committee of Supply in 2017, which will result in an SG$2,400 qualifying salary requirement for S Pass holders by 2020. To facilitate a smooth transition, employees with passes that expire between Jan. 1 and June 30 are able to renew their passes, for up to one year, based on the pre-2019 salary requirement. By implementing the increase in phases, Singapore plans to improve the quality of foreign labor in the country while helping employers retain their current employees.

Analysis & Comments: Employers should factor in the changes when planning assignments. Companies may need to review and make necessary adjustments to current employees’ salaries to ensure that they are able to retain their S Passes.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.