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Singapore's working climate

Singapore affects changes in rules on work pass exempt activities

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Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has recently removed the restriction of Work Pass Exempt Activities of a maximum of 60 days in one visit.

However, the MOM website states that foreign nationals conducting Work Pass Exempt Activities are limited by the duration of stay provided on the Short Term Visit Pass (STVP) issued upon entering Singapore. At the same time the duration that foreign nationals can perform a Work Pass Exempt Activity cannot exceed a cumulative total of 90 days in a calendar year.

Work Pass Exempt Activities include:

  • Arbitration or mediation services
  • Exhibitions
  • Journalism
  • Junket activities
  • Location filming and fashion shows
  • Performances
  • Specialised services related to a new plant / operations / equipment
  • Seminars and conferences
  • Sports
  • Tour facilitation

Additional requirements to get a work pass exemption for each activity can be found here.

Requirements for a work pass exemption

To be eligible for the work pass exemption, foreign nationals must be:

  • Engaged to perform the Work Pass Exempt Activity before you enter Singapore.
  • Have a valid Short-Term Visit Pass issued by the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore that allows you to stay during the activity.
  • Notify MOM of your intention to work in an exempted activity after you enter Singapore, and before starting the activity. It is an offence to start work without letting us know.
  • Comply with other specific legal requirements in Singapore (e.g. registration requirements to practise in Singapore for selected professions).

It is noted that foreign nationals should apply for a work pass from MOM if they wish to work beyond the STVP duration to ensure they have valid work and stay privileges.

The MOM website also noted that there are certain activities that foreign nationals can participate in for the duration of the Short Term Visit Pass without notifying MOM, including:

  • Attending company meetings, corporate retreats or meetings with business partners.
  • Attending study tours or visits, training courses, workshops, seminars and conferences as a participant.
  • Attending exhibitions as a trade visitor.

However, it is noted that the above activities should not involve a contract of service or a contract for service with an employer in Singapore.

Additionally, MOM pointed out that trainers or speakers at a training courses or workshops will need to either notify MOM for a Work Pass exemption or get a Miscellaneous Work Pass. It also noted that foreign nationals taking up any on-the-job training, would require a work pass.

Photo / iStock

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