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Govt easing restrictions for work permits and S-pass applications to meet manpower shortage

More room for an increase because of stable control of the Covid-19 pandemic, testing capacity and strong public health measures

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Singapore — To help address the worker shortage experienced by businesses, the Government is easing restrictions for work permits and S-Pass applications across all sectors.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), in consultation with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Trade and Industry, will be adjusting the processing of new work permits and S-Pass applications of workers across all sectors to better support businesses, reported channelnewsasia.com on Tuesday (Dec 15).

Before the adjustments, MOM highlighted that it was accepting applications for new work passes from countries with lower health risks such as China. The agency is now processing applications from all approved source countries where workers from certain countries or areas specialise in a particular industry sector, noted the report.

According to MOM, it now has more room for an increase in work pass holders to help with the manpower shortage, noting Singapore’s stable control of the Covid-19 pandemic, testing capacity and strong public health measures.

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The report mentioned that employers from the construction and food and beverage industries, in particular, have been facing worker shortages.

Consequently, existing work pass holders are now being accepted to return to Singapore, said MOM.

Both employers and applicants are still required to adhere to current borders, including entry approval from the authorities, taking pre-departure tests, and fulfilling their Stay-Home Notices in Singapore.

Based on the MOM website, an S-Pass holder is a mid-skilled technical individual with a fixed monthly salary of at least S$2,500. The duration of the pass is up to two years, although it is renewable. An employer or appointed employment agent applies on behalf of the applicant for the pass.

Meanwhile, a work permit is generally issued to foreign unskilled and semi-skilled workers. The duration of a work permit is usually two years, subject to the validity of the worker’s passport, the security bond and the worker’s employment period, whichever is shorter.

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