Changes in Dependent’s Pass Rules for Working in Singapore

Murtuza Topiwalla
Mar 19

The Singapore Dependent's Pass (DP) is a relocation visa issued to specific family members of a person holding an S Pass or an employment pass. It allows immediate family members of the person employed in Singapore to stay and work in the country after the issuance of a Letter of Consent (LOC). There are hundreds of thousands of DP holders who have received LOC and are now working in different Singapore companies. The rules governing Dependent's Pass will soon be changed according to the recent announcement by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). 

The MOM has announced that all DP holders will now have to get a work pass to be eligible to work in Singapore, effective May 01, 2021. However, the Ministry has announced that expatriates can continue to work till the expiry of their LOCs, which is normally one to two years. 

One of the major requirements for the issuance of the work visa is a minimum salary limit. The rules will also be changed for expats doing business in Singapore. The change of rules has received both negative and positive responses from the public and industrial sectors. This initiative has been taken by the government to increase more job opportunities for locals, however, talented individuals from other countries will still be able to work in the country after acquiring the work visa.  

The announcement by the Ministry of Manpower about Dependent's Pass 

The Ministry of Manpower has announced that the laws governing Dependent's Pass will be changed from May 01, 2021. This means if the employee's direct family member seeks to work in Singapore, they will have to apply for work passes from May 01, 2021. More changes to the law are expected to be announced on May 01. 

What the Change in Rules Means for the Employers?

The change in rules governing Dependent's Pass will directly affect the operations of local and international companies in Singapore. Employers will have to ask the DP holders to apply for the work visa on the expiry of the Letter of Consent. This will mean the companies will either have to lay off employees failing to meet the eligibility criteria for a work visa, or they will have to raise salaries to meet the minimum salary limit in line with the work visa requirements. This will completely change the country's job dynamics as Multinational Corporation will be thinking twice before offering jobs to foreigners.  

What will be the Impact of DP rule change on Individuals?

The change in DP rules will have a huge impact on the job industry as well as individuals doing their business in the country. The Dependent's Pass holders who have particularly moved to Singapore to pursue their business objectives have to be aware of the following changes to the Dependent's Pass rules. 

  • The employer must be the sole proprietor or a director who acquires at least 30% share of a company in Singapore.
  • The company currently has a permanent resident of Singaporean or Singapore national with allocated Central Provident Fund contributions for at least three months.

Any Dependent's Pass holder who does not meet the above-mentioned criteria cannot continue any business after the Letter of Consent expiry.

Bottom-line!

The Ministry of Manpower has decided to change the rules governing the Dependent's Pass in Singapore. This initiative has been taken to streamline the work arrangements in line with the foreign-worker requirements. The actual impact of the changes introduced to the Dependent's Pass will be gauged after the implementation of these changes on May 01, 2021.

Information Sources:  bloomberg.com | channelnewsasia.com | lexology.com

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