Recent Important Changes to Housing Requirements for Singapore Work Pass Holders

Expat Academy Recent Important Changes to Housing Requirements for Singapore Work Pass Holders  The Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has come across cases of work pass holders staying in overcrowded premises or commercial buildings which are not allowed for residential use. As a result, from 14 Sep 2018, there are some changes to the process for when a request is submitted to issue work/dependent passes or update the residential address. MOM will only approve the request if the work pass holder’s residential address meets the revised housing requirements.

Former Practice

Expat Academy Recent Important Changes to Housing Requirements for Singapore Work Pass Holders

Formerly, when a request was entered for the issuance of work/dependent passes, it was a requirement for an address to be entered into Employment Pass Online (EPOL) which could be:

  • The employee’s local permanent address
  • The temporary accommodation address (e.g., hotel or serviced apartment)
  • The client’s office address, if the above two addresses were not available.

New Process

Beginning 14 September 2018, when a request is entered for the issuance of work/dependent passes, it is a requirement for a residential address to be entered into EPOL:

  • The employee’s local permanent address, or
  • The temporary accommodation address (e.g., hotel or serviced apartment) – the permanent address will have to be updated as soon as it is available.
  • The client’s office address is no longer a valid option.

Important Guidelines for Addresses

This change will apply for all new applications and renewal applications. The following addresses can be provided:

  • Temporary address (e.g., hotel or service apartment) –  Can be entered in EPOL before the permanent address is ready.
    • Employees can login to EPOL using their SingPass to update their residential address, or
    • Employers can send separate authorisation to update the employee’s residential address after the pass has been issued.

When a temporary address is entered during issuance, it is identified that the pass holder’s residential address belongs to a serviced apartment/hotel, which is not meant for a long-term stay. If the employee is staying at a serviced apartment for at least six months, they would need to email the tenancy agreement stating the stay duration to after submitting this request.

  • Housing & Development Board (HDB) –  Before employee’s address can be registered, employees must:
    • Ensure that the HDB flat owner registers employees as tenants with HDB before they move in.
    • Employees will have to login using their SingPass to HDB’s eService “Rental Flat – Flat Details” to check if the flat owner has registered them as tenants of the flat.
  • Private Residential Premises – If the address is unable to be updated on EPOL:
    • Employees will need to ask their landlord to complete the occupants’ declaration form for home owners and email both the completed form and PRP owner’s IRAS property tax statement to MOM.
  • Overseas Address – EP or S Pass holders who are frequent travelers and do not permanently reside in Singapore may use their overseas address.

Any change of residential addresses for existing pass holders should also be updated for existing passes within 14 days for Employment and S Pass Holders. Similarly, employees may login to EPOL to update the change of address, or authorise their provider for assistance.

What Do Companies and Relocating Employees Need to Know

  • There is a potential delay in work pass issuance if Singapore MOM does not approve the residential address provided.
  • Both the employer and employee are responsible to ensure compliance to the MOM requirement during issuance of the work permits or change in address. Failing to do so may result in both a fine up to SGD 10,000 and/or possible imprisonment of the employer representative for each known occurrence.
  • It is important to note that it is non-compliant for the employee to start work before their work pass is issued.

For more information on Singapore work passes, please contact your Cartus representative, or refer to Singapore Ministry of Manpower website.

Posted by: Yaele Meilland, Director, Destination & Real Estate Services, Singapore

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