What is the change? The Ministry of Manpower is poised to expand its virtual work permit program to all work permit holders other than domestic workers.

What does the change mean? Beginning Monday, newly issued work permit cards will not contain any variable information (e.g., date of expiry or occupation), but will instead contain a code that will allow cardholders or employers to check validity, expiration dates and other details on the web or through the SGWorkPass mobile app.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The virtual work permit program will be extended to all work permit holders (other than domestic workers) on Jan. 15.
  • Who is affected: Work permit holders and their employers.
  • Impact on processing times: Work permit holders will not need to replace their physical cards when renewing their permits.
  • Business impact: The change will add convenience and security and will streamline services by moving information contained on the cards to web-based applications.

Background: MOM launched the SGWorkPass mobile app and piloted the virtual work permit program in September. Initially, the new cards were only issued to work permit holders in the Marine Shipyard and Construction sectors, but the program will now be expanded to all work permit holders other than domestic workers. Implementation for employment passes, S Passes, dependent’s passes and long-term visit passes is scheduled for March.

BAL Analysis: Plans to expand the issuance of virtual work permits are consistent with MOM’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