Singapore’s New One Pass – Work Visa for Expats

Singapore has been a very attractive destination for many Australian expats over the past few decades, for which there are many drivers, from relatively low-income tax rates and zero capital gains tax to the safety and cleanliness of this city-state, and of course the proximity and pro-business culture of the nation.

There are approximately 20,000 – 25,000 Australian expats calling Singapore home, a number which has not changed a great deal over the past 10 years, however, changes to work and family visa requirements have certainly brought about their own challenges.

Whether it was increasing income requirements to renew Employment Passes (EPs), wage and staffing costs rising for running your own business, or shorter expiry periods for your EP or Dependant Passes (DPs), these all highlight the constantly-changing world of expat life. The most recent change, which impacted many Australian expats and others, was the change to the Dependant Pass requirements. This change effectively made it significantly more difficult for DP holders, which were typically the ‘trailing spouses’ of the EP holders, to work in Singapore.

Prior to this change, DP holders could apply for a Letter of Consent from their chosen employer, and be eligible to work for that company, which would be allowed and wouldn’t impact the quota of that company in terms of hiring local Singaporeans relative to ‘foreigners’ within their company. Now, DP holders would need to apply for an EP, or if they’re running their own business, employ at least one Singaporean and meet the minimum income and CPF contribution requirements, which meant that many small businesses and operations were no longer viable.

Over recent months and years, particularly throughout Covid-19, Singapore has faced increasing competition from London and Dubai in particular in attracting the ‘rainmakers’ to live and work in their country. This has led to Singapore not only overhauling some of the minimum income requirements for EP holders, and improving processing times, but also the launch of a new work pass, which would be known as the Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass, with the stated aim of bringing in “leads in fields across science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as finance, the arts, culture and sports”, as announced by Manpower Minister Tan See Leng.

The key highlights of the ONE Pass visa would be as follows:

  • Extended eligibility period: The new visa would grant the holder to work in Singapore for 5 years.
  • Partner’s working ability: Partners of the One Pass visa would also be allowed to work in Singapore for the same 5 years.

To be eligible for the new ONE Pass visa, what we currently know is that a minimum fixed salary of S$30,000 per month would be required, which based on the latest data, would apply to approximately the top 5% of the EP holders, however, more information will be released on this prior to 1 January 2023.

Further to this, applicants who haven’t worked in Singapore previously would also need to be able to demonstrate that they have worked previously, or will be working for an established company, that has a market cap of at least US$500 million OR annual revenue of US$200 million. They have highlighted that salary is just one component and will consider those that may not meet this criterion if they’re making “outstanding achievements” in their chosen field.

This will come as welcome news for many Australian expats and their families, or those professionals in Australia considering a move to Singapore but were concerned about their partners’ ability to work in the country.

If you’re considering a move to Singapore, or even if you’re already working in Singapore but want to understand your options further to truly make the most, financially, of your time in the lion city, reach out to us for a complimentary discussion.

We will be keeping you all up to date as further detail is released, so please stay tuned.


To Your Financial Success!

Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to Australian professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd - No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3

Australian Expatriate Group is a division of Global Financial Consultants in Singapore providing specialist advice to Australians living abroad.

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General Information Only: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your individual financial situation, objectives or needs. You should consider your own financial position and requirements before making a decision.

*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.

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