Singapore – Covid-19 – Immigration update

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Update: June 1st, 2020

Singapore to gradually reopen borders, plans to resume essential travel among countries with low COVID-19 transmission rate

What is the change?

The Philippines Embassy is arranging a flight for foreigners returning to the Philippines on 3 June 2020. Tickets can be purchased on a first come, first served basis from the Philippine Airlines.

Appointments for services at Ministry of Manpower Services Centre (MOMSC) or Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC)

What is the change?

With Safe Reopening measures in place from 2 June 2020, the number of appointment slots for services at MOMSC or EPSC will be limited. Applicants are advised not be worried if they are unable to obtain a slot or make an appointment yet as the following measures are in place:

The following groups are also advised not make an appointment yet:

  • Pass holders who need to do a medical examination for card registration and have not done so. Please only make an appointment after completing the medical examination. Clinics will likely resume providing this service in Phase 2 (Safe Transition).
  • Pass holders who are currently staying in dormitories gazetted as isolation areas. Please only make an appointment after you are allowed to leave the dormitory. Otherwise, it is an offence.

Resumption of business activities from 2 June 2020

What is the change?

From 2 June 2020, businesses will be allowed to resume activities in a phased manner. In an email circular issued by the MTI on 31 May 2020, businesses are reminded to take the following actions:

  • Check if your business may resume here.
  • If your business is permitted to resume on-site operations on 2 June 2020, you are required to declare your manpower details using the “Permissions and Manpower Declaration” link at https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg within two weeks of resuming operations. The details that you are required to provide are: (i) the total number of employees/workers working on-site, and (ii) the proportion of these employees/workers who are working part-time and/or shifts. The portal is now available to receive your declaration.
  • Before you resume on-site operations, it is essential for your business to implement the Requirements for Safe Management at Workplaces, and comply with sector-specific advisories and requirements. More information can be found here.

Entry into Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) Building strictly for selected services and by appointment only; one-off delivery of identity cards and passports to applicants

What is the change?

Starting from 2 June 2020, the ICA at the ICA Building, 10 Kallang Road, will resume counter services in a limited and controlled manner, strictly for selected services and by appointment only. Members of the public should continue to use ICA’s e-Services available at MyICA, such as for passport application, identity card (IC) re-registration, and extension of Short-Term Visit Pass.

ICA counter services will only be available for services that cannot be done or completed online. Examples include collection of passport and IC, and completion of formalities for long-term immigration facilities. ICA will not accept walk-ins for these services. Before making their way to the ICA Building, members of the public have to first obtain an appointment date and time. To find out how to make an appointment and view the full list of e-Services available, please refer to the link below.

ICA will also arrange delivery of the IC and passport to residents who have applied for an IC under mandatory/optional IC re-registration, or applied for a passport, between 1 January and 31 May 2020, and have not collected their IC or passport because of the circuit breaker. Applicants will not be charged for this one-off delivery service. ICA is in the process of arranging for the delivery service, and will contact all affected applicants and provide them with the details of this service from mid-June to end July 2020.

Update: May 21th, 2020

Singapore to gradually reopen borders, plans to resume essential travel among countries with low COVID-19 transmission rate

What is the change?

Singapore will gradually reopen its borders with safeguards in place to allow Singaporeans to conduct essential activities abroad and for foreigners to enter and transit through the country, the Ministry of Health said on 19 May 2020, Tuesday.

“Singapore is currently exploring the possibility of piloting green lane arrangements with a few countries assessed to be at equivalent or lower risk of community transmission as Singapore, for which essential travel in limited numbers and with safeguards, could be conducted safely,” the health ministry said. It will consider expanding such arrangements gradually as global conditions improve.

Update: May 5th, 2020

Extension of passes expiring from 6 May 2020 to 5 June 2020

What is the change?

In an email circular to employers dated 1 May 2020, the MOM announced that in view of the circuit breaker extension, the Work Permits of non-Malaysian workers in Construction, Marine shipyard and Process sectors, as well as non-traditional sources (NTS) workers in the other sectors will be automatically extended until 1 July 20201 if they are expiring between 6 May 2020 and 5 June 2020.

All other Work Permits2, S Passes and Employment Passes3 (including dependant passes) expiring between 6 May 2020 and 5 June 2020 will be extended until 1 July 20201, unless employers notify MOM via this form by 4 May 2020 that they do not wish to extend the work passes.

Work pass holders are advised to go for their medical examinations (if required for renewal) after the circuit breaker period. The extension of work pass validities will provide more time for the workers to complete their medical examinations.

If the security bond of the employee is expiring on or before 1 July 2020, employers are required to purchase a new one at least 14 days before the bond expires if they plan to renew the employee’s work permit. A separate email with further instructions will be sent to employers. Otherwise, employers should cancel the work pass on or before its expiry date and send the worker home.


1 Or until 14 days before the expiry date of their security bond, whichever is earlier

2 Except Training Work Permits, Work Permits for Performing Artistes

3 Except Training Employment Passes, Work Holiday Passes

Monthly declaration of salary payment for foreign employees in construction sector

What is the change?

With the increased number of foreign employees in the construction sector infected with COVID-19, MOM is requiring construction sector employers to submit a monthly declaration on salary payments to ensure that employees continue to get paid salaries, even during the circuit breaker period. In an email circular to employers dated 30 April 2020, it was stated that from May 2020, employers are required to submit a monthly declaration to indicate whether salaries have been paid for the preceding month(s).

Employers with foreign employees in the Construction sector are required to make an online declaration to indicate whether April 2020 salaries have been paid. The declaration should be submitted by 8 May 2020, 11.59 p.m.

Changes to work pass services arising from extension of circuit breaker period

What is the change?

With the extension of the circuit breaker period until 1 June 2020, the MOM has announced the following changes to its work pass services:

  • Card registration and collection: The Employment Pass Services Centre (EPSC) at Riverwalk and Hall C of MOM Services Centre at Bendemeer will be closed. Pass holders who are unable to proceed with card registration or collection can remain in Singapore with their notification letters or card replacement letters. Work pass holders who telecommute or work in essential services approved by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) may use the letters as proof of the validity of their passes. For notification letters that are expiring soon, MOM will automatically extend their expiry dates. Thus, there is no need to request for an extension. Please note that no hard copy letters will be issued for this extension. Once the circuit breaker period is over, please visit the MOM website for more details.
  • Card delivery services: Card delivery services will be suspended. MOM will inform employers of the new delivery dates.

For more information on other work pass services relating to passes expiring from 6 May 2020 to 5 June 2020; medical examinations for pass holders; workers who need trades certification (e.g., Construction Safety Orientation Course [General Trade], Safety Orientation Course [Metalworking] ) to get their Work Permits issued or renewed; settling-in programme (SIP) for foreign workers and foreign domestic workers; in-principle approvals (IPAs) that expire during the circuit breaker period; and cancellation of passes and extension of stay, please refer to the link below.

Extension of Stay-Home Notices (SHN) for work permit and S Pass holders in construction sector

What is the change?

All work permits, S Pass holders and their dependents, in the Construction Sector are currently serving SHN until 4 May 20204 . After careful consideration, the MOM and Building and Construction Authority (BCA) have decided to extend the SHN for all work permit holders and S Pass holders in the Construction sector. They will now serve their SHN until 18 May 2020, 11.59 p.m. Similarly, the Dependant Pass holders of these workers will be placed on SHN for the same extended period.

Advisory to workers on safe distancing measures at hotels

What is the change?

The MOM has observed that some foreign workers currently residing in hotel decant sites are not observing safe distancing measures. In line with the national circuit breaker measures, all workers are required to remain in their rooms if they are not at work and avoid any social gatherings with others. First time offenders will be issued with a verbal warning by the on-site hotel security staff. Employers will also be informed. MOM may also revoke the work passes of repeat offenders.

Update: April 24th, 2020

Reminder for employers to extend the stay of their foreign employees and dependants upon pass cancellation or expiry

What is the change?

In view of travel restrictions, some foreign employees and their dependants may face difficulties in returning home after the cancellation or expiry of their passes. Employers are reminded to extend their stay until travel restrictions have been lifted. According to the email circular to employers released by MOM’s Work Pass Division on 12 April 2020, employers are also required to bear the costs of sending them home.

MOM will not hesitate to take action against employers who do not comply with these requirements, including prosecution action and withdrawal of work pass privileges. To adhere to safe distancing measures, please use the online service to extend their stay, instead of visiting MOM’s service counters.

Employers must ensure acceptable housing for Malaysian employees while they are in Singapore

What is the change?

Following the extension of Malaysia’s MCO until 28 April 2020, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) announced that employers are not obliged to provide housing for their Malaysian employees after 14 April 2020. Nevertheless, in the email circular to employers issued by the Work Pass Division on 22 April 2020, it is stated that while employers are not obliged to pay for housing, they must still ensure their Malaysian employees stay in acceptable housing while in Singapore. Otherwise, they are liable to be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act. Employers and employees may mutually agree on housing arrangements.

Further measures to help companies during extended circuit breaker

What is the change?

The Government will extend the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) wage subsidy of 75% for all sectors for the month of May 2020. This will help employers retain their local employees and continue paying them salaries during this period. Companies that reduce their employees’ salaries or put them on no-pay leave will receive correspondingly lower payouts in subsequent tranches. MOM will also investigate complaints of unfair practices to ensure that JSS payouts have been used to support employee salaries.

As part of the Solidarity Budget, employers are also given a Foreign Worker Levy (FWL) rebate of S$750 for each S Pass or Work Permit holder employed as of 29 February 2020. In addition, levies due to be paid in April 2020 have been waived. The Government will extend these measures by providing:

  • FWL rebate of S$750 for each S Pass or Work Permit Holder employed as of 1 May 2020.
  •  Waiver of FWL due in the month of May 2020.

The financial support to employers is to help them continue paying the salaries of our migrant workers, as part of Singapore’s commitment to look after their livelihoods during this difficult period. To ensure consistency of understanding and practice, MOM will require employers to make an acknowledgement at this link.

The FWL rebate will be processed and credited as follows:

  • Companies with PayNow Corporate accounts must acknowledge by 8 May 2020 to receive the FWL rebate on 29 May 2020; those that acknowledge by 22 May 2020 will receive the FWL rebate on 19 June 2020.
  • Companies without PayNow Corporate accounts must acknowledge by 22 May 2020 to receive the payment by cheque from 3 July 2020.

Update: April 23th, 2020

Over 62,000 employers to benefit from S$675 million in Foreign Worker Levy rebates

What is the change?

The Government had earlier announced at the 6 April 2020 Solidarity Budget that it would provide employers with a Foreign Worker Levy rebate of S$750 for each work permit or S Pass holder. This is on top of the waiver of the Foreign Worker Levy that is due in April 2020. The initiatives are meant to provide additional support to help employers to care for the upkeep of our foreign workers during the circuit breaker period.

From 21 April 2020, more than 62,000 employers will benefit from close to S$675 million in the first wave of levy rebate payouts. This will be disbursed to eligible employers who have paid at least one month of levy due in 2020. Employers do not need to apply for the levy rebate. Employers will be informed once the rebate is successfully paid to them. In the meantime, employers can check their eligibility and the amount of rebate they will receive here1.

Eligible employers who have successfully signed up for PayNow Corporate will receive the rebate on 21 April 2020. MOM urges employers to sign up for PayNow Corporate by 29 April 2020, if they have not already done so, to be in time for the second crediting attempt on 30 April 2020. Otherwise, employers will receive the rebate via cheque from 15 May 2020.


1 Employers can check their levy eligibility and rebate at www.mom.gov.sg/levy-rebate. Only Directors, business owners, as well as Work Permit Online (WPOL), Employment Pass Online (EPOL)’s administrators and users can use this service.

Advisory to employers that certain foreign employees in the construction sector (and their dependants) are put on Stay-Home Notice from 20 April 2020 to 4 May 2020

What is the change?

As the number of COVID-19 infected cases involving foreign employees in the construction sector is increasing, Foreign Employees (as defined below) and their Dependants (where applicable), are put on Stay-Home Notice (SHN) effective from 20 April 2020, 0000 hours to 4 May 2020, 2359 hours (SHN Period).

Definition of foreign employees

“Foreign Employees” are foreign employees in the Construction Sector holding Work Permits and S Passes, residing in a Specified Place of Accommodation as defined in the Notifications to Employers (see Appendices A and B ). It excludes any dormitory gazetted as an “isolation area”, or any foreign employee dormitory as defined in the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act (FEDA) 20151 as special arrangements have been made for foreign employees living in these places of accommodation. “Dependants” are family members of the Foreign Employees issued with Dependant’s Passes. This is a precautionary measure taken to minimise the risk of further community transmission of COVID-19.

Steps to be taken by employers

  • Employers are required to take the following steps by 19 April 2020, 2359 hours:
    • Issue the additional work pass conditions to your Foreign Employees (and require and take reasonable steps to ensure that your Foreign Employees issue the additional special conditions to their Dependants, if any).
    • Remind your Foreign Employees and their Dependants (if any) to fully comply with the additional conditions, failing which their Work Permits, S passes or Dependant’s Pass may be revoked.
    • Ensure that each of your Foreign Employee and their Dependants (if any) has a local mobile number registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and inform your Foreign Employees and their Dependants (if any) to download the WhatsApp and TraceTogether apps.
    • Inform your Foreign Employees and their Dependants (if any) that enforcement officers may contact them via WhatsApp audio and/or video call during the SHN Period.
    • Require and take reasonable steps to ensure your Foreign Employees and their Dependants (if any) monitor themselves for any signs of fever, cough, breathlessness or a runny nose including providing thermometers for the workers to record their temperature.
    • Arrange to deliver food to your Foreign Employees during the SHN Period, as they are not allowed to leave their premises to buy food. More information on this can be found in MOM’s advisory to employers on food arrangements for construction foreign employees on Stay-Home Notice from 20 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 issued on 21 April 2020.
  • From 20 April 2020 onwards, employers are required to submit a daily declaration on compliance to the measures listed above.

Exemption appeal for Foreign Employees carrying out essential services

For companies approved to carry out essential activities, employers may submit an appeal to BCA to allow your Foreign Employee(s) to leave their places of residence to perform work in respect of the permitted essential activities during the SHN Period. Appeals are subject to BCA’s approval on a case-by-case basis, and the number of Foreign Employees approved may also be limited.

Update: April 22nd, 2020

Precautionary Stay-Home Notices for Work Permit and S pass holders in construction sector

What is the change?

As a precautionary move, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will require all Work Permit holders and S Pass holders in the construction sector to be placed on mandatory stay-home notices (SHNs). This SHN will take effect on 20 April 2020 and end on 4 May 2020 (both dates inclusive). The Dependant Pass holders of these workers are also to be placed on SHN.

The SHN applies to all workers and their dependents in any place of accommodation, or any place which is converted into a place of accommodation on a temporary basis, or otherwise. It excludes those staying in any dormitory gazetted as an isolation area, or any foreign employee dormitory as defined in the Foreign Employee Dormitories Act 2015, as special arrangements have already been catered for them.

During the SHN period, MOM enforcement officers will conduct regular checks on the workers to ensure compliance to SHN requirements. MOM will take strict enforcement measures against errant employers or employees who do not comply with the SHN requirements, including the suspension of work pass privileges and revocation of work passes. More information on the steps to be taken by employers can be found in the next article below.

Two Singapore Citizens and one foreigner to be charged after breaching their Stay-Home Notices (SHN)

What is the change?

Two Singapore Citizens and one foreigner will be charged in court on 21 April 2020 after breaching their Stay-Home Notices (SHN).

The Government had announced that with effect from 16 March 2020, 2359 hours, all residents, Long-Term Pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore with travel history to any ASEAN country1 within the last 14 days would be issued an SHN and must remain in their place of residence at all times for a 14-day period. From 20 March 2020, 2359 hours, these requirements were extended to all residents, Long-Term Pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore. Further measures were put in place, from 9 April 2020, 2359 hours, requiring all residents, Long-Term Pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore to serve their 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities.

ICA has investigated each of the three individuals’ wilful breaches of SHN requirements. In consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, they will be charged in court on 21 April 2020 for their respective offences under the Infectious Diseases Act and its Regulations. A person convicted of an offence under the Infectious Diseases Act and its Regulations is liable to a fine of up to $10,000, or up to six months’ imprisonment, or both.

ICA will not hesitate to take firm enforcement action against those who fail to comply with SHN requirements. Besides prosecuting offenders under the Infectious Diseases Act and its Regulations, ICA may also cancel their immigration facilities and bar them from re-entering Singapore, where applicable.

Update: April 17th, 2020

Exit declarations for Malaysian employees

What is the change?

In view of the extension of Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) until 28 April 2020, the Ministry of Manpower has issued the following instructions in an email circular to employers cancelling work passes for their Malaysian employees:

1.Complete the exit declaration form confirming that:

  • The employee and the employer have both agreed to end the employment.
  • The employers has already settled all outstanding employment issues (including salary payment) with the employee.
  • The employee is aware that the prevailing work pass criteria, entry approval, Stay-Home Notice and other MOM requirements will apply if he/she wishes to work in Singapore again.

2. Employee to show the acknowledgement email and attachment, which will be sent to him/her after the form is completed, to the immigration officer before leaving Singapore.

Employers are also requested to inform the employee that he/she may need to produce a medical certificate certifying that he/she is fit to travel (e.g., does not display COVID-19 symptoms) to the Malaysian immigration officer. Otherwise, he/she may be stopped from entering Malaysia.

3. Once the employee has left Singapore, employers are to notify MOM if they wish to cancel the work pass.

Employers are not obliged to provide housing for their Malaysian employees after 14 April, but may mutually agree with them on housing arrangements. To qualify for levy waiver for Malaysian employees who were on unpaid leave in Singapore until 14 April, please use this form.

Employers are advised to check Work Permit (WP) Online and Employment Pass (EP) Online regularly for further updates and requirements that may be imposed on work passes.

Update: April 16th, 2020

Enhanced measures for workplaces which remain open

What is the change?

As part of a nation-wide circuit breaker which commenced on 7 April, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce has introduced several enhanced measures. For workplace premises which remain open, cross-deployment or movement of workers across different workplace premises (e.g., different branches) will be disallowed. Essential service providers who need to move between different locations to perform their services (e.g., Information Technology (IT) support, maintenance, logistics, community nurses making house visits) must ensure that safe distancing measures are complied with.

The MOM and other enforcement agencies will continue with inspections and take appropriate enforcement actions against non-compliant workplaces. First-time offences by essential service providers, owners or occupiers will be issued composition offers of S$1,000, and repeat offenders will face higher fines or prosecution in court for egregious cases. Essential service providers may be required to suspend their operations should any of their staff working on the premises become infected.

Update: April 14th, 2020

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) intensifies inspections of factory-converted dormitories and workers breaching circuit breaker measures

What is the change?

In view of the evolving COVID-19 situation, the MOM has stepped up inspections at factory-converted dormitories (FCDs) to ensure that living conditions are acceptable, and that the well-being of the dormitory residents are taken care of. With circuit breaker measures in place until 4 May 2020, MOM officers are also checking that FCD operators and employers adhere to the enhanced safe distancing measures.

Despite past enforcements carried out in the vicinity of Tuas View Square, MOM inspectors found 24 work pass holders eating, drinking, and gathering in groups. To send a clear signal of the seriousness of the offense, MOM has decided to revoke all 24 work passes and permanently barred the individuals from working in Singapore.

MOM urges owners and operators of FCDs to pay special attention to the management of their dormitories during this circuit breaker period. Employers are also reminded to continue to pay the salaries of their workers promptly and look after their well-being during this period of circuit breaker. A copy of the advisory can be found here.

MOM will not hesitate to revoke the work pass privileges of errant employers. Work pass holders who do not cooperate will be fined, or have their work passes revoked and permanently barred from working in Singapore.

Update: April 10th, 2020

Inter-agency taskforce to support foreign workers and dormitory operators during circuit breaker period

What is the change?

In view of the “circuit breaker” measures kicking in from 7 April till 4 May, foreign workers are not able to go to work. An inter-agency taskforce has been set up to provide support to foreign workers and dormitory operators during this period.

The MOM will assist the operators of S11 Dormitory @ Punggol as well as Westlite Toh Guan Dormitory, to look after the well-being of their residents, such as ensuring that they get timely supply of catered meals, and the premises are kept clean. A similar team has been deployed to Toh Guan Dormitory, which has also been gazetted as an isolation area.

The taskforce will progressively deploy inter-agency teams to the rest of the dormitories to support their operators as they implement the circuit breaker measures.

Two Singapore Citizens charged after breaching Stay-Home Notice (SHN)

What is the change?

Two Singapore Citizens were charged in court on 7 April after breaching their SHN. The Government had announced that with effect from 20 March, 11.59 p.m., all returning residents (Singaporeans, Permanent Residents), Long-Term Pass holders and short-term visitors entering Singapore would be issued an SHN and must remain in their place of residence at all times for a 14-day period.

The Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will not hesitate to take firm enforcement action against those who fail to comply with the SHN requirements. Besides prosecuting offenders under the Infectious Diseases Act and its Regulations, ICA may also cancel their immigration facilities, where applicable.

ICA also reminds all travellers to ensure that they submit complete and accurate health and travel declarations via the SG Arrival Card. Anyone who makes a false or misleading declaration will be liable to prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act. The penalty for providing false or misleading information is a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months. For subsequent offence(s), the penalty is a fine of up to S$20,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months. For foreigners, ICA may also take further administrative actions, such as revocation of, or shortening the validity of permits and passes to remain in Singapore.

Update: April 09th, 2020

Expansion of the enhanced Stay-Home Notice (SHN) requirements to all countries

What is the change?

From 9 April 2020, 11.59 p.m., all Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents and Long Term Pass holders entering Singapore will be required to serve a 14-day self-isolation at dedicated SHN facilities.

This is a further expansion of the enhanced SHN requirements for travellers returning to Singapore. Previously, returnees from the UK and US were required to serve a 14-day self-isolation at dedicated SHN facilities, and this was subsequently expanded to returnees from ASEAN countries, France, India and Switzerland.

Nevertheless, if there are unexpected capacity constraints (e.g., due to a larger than expected number of returnees), the dedicated SHN facilities may be prioritised for returnees from certain regions or countries, based on risk assessment. Returnees who are already back in Singapore will continue to serve their 14-day SHN at their current location.

As was earlier announced, all returnees who disregarded prevailing travel advisories and left Singapore from 27 March 2020 would be required to bear the full cost of their 14-day SHN at dedicated SHN facilities.

10 non-essential businesses told to close after flouting circuit breaker rules

What is the change?

Ten businesses that do not provide essential services have been told to cease operations after they were found to have remained open during the circuit breaker period that began on Tuesday, 7 April 2020 and is expected to last until 4 May 2020.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said that verbal warnings were issued to these businesses and if they do not comply, they would be fined and their operations would be suspended.

Update: March 30th, 2020

Entry approval required for all Long-Term Pass holders

What is the change?

The ICA and the Ministry of Education (MOE) will implement additional precautionary measures for all Long-Term Pass (LTP) holders who are entering or returning to Singapore. These include holders of the Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP), the Student’s Pass (STP), as well as those who have been granted In-Principle Approval (IPA) for a LTP. These measures will come into effect from 29 March 2020, 11.59 p.m.

Entry approval for holders of LTVPs and STPs issued by ICA

All LTVP holders1, as well as those who have been granted IPA for LTVP, who are planning to enter or return to Singapore, must obtain ICA’s permission before they commence their journey to Singapore. They can do so by submitting their application for entry to ICA_nCoV_request@ica.gov.sg.

All existing STP holders, and those who have been granted IPA for STP, who are planning to enter or return to Singapore must obtain MOE’s permission before they commence their journey to Singapore. MOE will take into consideration the course in which the student is enrolled, and prioritise entry approval for those studying in publicly-funded Institutes of Higher Learning. STP holders, and those who have been granted IPA for STP, should submit their application to their respective educational institution, which will then forward their application to MOE.

If permission is granted, applicants will be issued an approval letter of entry by ICA for LTVP holders, or by MOE for STP holders, which is valid for two weeks. They must produce this approval letter of entry to airline staff upon check-in at the departure airport, and to the immigration officer at the checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.

Applicants should not make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been given by ICA/MOE. If they arrive in Singapore without the approval letter of entry from ICA/MOE, ICA will not allow them to clear immigration, and will require them to fly out of Singapore within 48 hours, at their own cost. If they fail to comply, ICA will cancel their pass or rescind their IPA.

Entry approval for Ministry of Manpower (MOM)’s Work Pass Holders

Currently, the MOM has been requiring all new and existing Work Pass holders2 (including dependants3) to obtain MOM’s approval before they commence their journey to Singapore. The entry approval requirement applies to:

  • Existing Work Pass holders currently out of Singapore; and
  • Those who have been granted IPA for a Work Pass, who have yet to enter Singapore.

Employers are required to apply for entry approval using this online facility. Work Pass holders who arrive in Singapore without a valid entry approval will not be allowed to clear immigration, and will be asked to fly out of Singapore within 48 hours, at their own cost.

Work Pass holders whose application for entry approval has been rejected should not enter or return to Singapore yet. They should apply again for the required approval. Those who do not comply and fly to Singapore nevertheless will have their Work Pass revoked and will be barred from future employment in Singapore.

For more information on the actions to be taken by employers to bring pass holders (Work Pass holders and their dependants) from overseas into Singapore, please refer to the corresponding section on the MOM website.


1 LTVPs are also issued by MOM to common-law spouses, step-children, handicapped children or parents of an Employment Pass or S Pass holder. MOM-issued LTVP holders will have to obtain MOM’s approval for entry.

2 Holders of LTVP issued by ICA, who also have a Letter of Consent (LOC) or Pre-Approved Letter of Consent (PLOC) issued by MOM, should obtain ICA’s entry approval.

3 Dependant’s Pass holders and MOM-issued LTVP holders

Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) cancels Singaporean’s passport for breaching Stay-Home Notice

What is the change?

The ICA has cancelled the passport of a Singapore Citizen for breaching the SHN requirements. The case has also been referred to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for investigation.

ICA said that it will not hesitate to take strong enforcement action against those who fail to comply with SHN requirements. Besides cancellation of their immigration facilities, they can also be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act and its Regulations, and face a fine of up to S$10,000, or up to six months’ imprisonment, or both.

ICA reminds all travellers to ensure that they submit complete and accurate travel declarations. From 27 March 2020, all travellers arriving in Singapore, including Singapore residents, must submit a health and travel declaration before proceeding with immigration clearance. Travellers will be required to provide their health status and recent travel history, as well as personal particulars and contact details. Anyone who makes a false or misleading declaration will be liable to prosecution under the Infectious Diseases Act. The penalty for providing false or misleading information is a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or imprisonment of up to six months. For subsequent offence(s), the penalty is a fine up to S$20,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months. For non-Singaporeans, other administrative actions, such as revocation of, or shortening the validity of permits and passes to remain in Singapore, may also be taken.

Update: March 27th, 2020

Advisory on safe distancing measures at the workplace

What is the change?

The tripartite partners—the MOM, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF)—expect employers to adopt strict safe distancing measures at the workplace as outlined in this advisory, so as to provide a safe working environment for their employees.

MOM and Ministry of Health (MOH) will take enforcement actions against employers who do not implement safe distancing measures, including ordering employers or occupiers to cease operations until the measures are put in place.

More information on the various safe distancing measures, including work from home arrangements, as well as other arrangements for job roles or functions where employees cannot work from home, such as frontline operations and fieldwork at construction sites, shipyards or plants, can be found in the link below.

Update: March 26th, 2020

Safe distancing measures for foreign workers

What is the change?

In an email circular from the MOM to employers on 26 March, employers are strongly advised to remind all foreign work pass holders to strictly observe the following:

  • Workers are to only commute between their accommodation and work places.
  • Workers are permitted to go out to get meals or essential items. They are to keep any visit short. Avoid crowded places.
  • Avoid eating out. Take away food and consume it at home. Lunching together with others should be limited in numbers.
  • Observe a safe distance (at least one metre apart) when queuing or sitting in public places. If seats are fixed, sit at the seats marked for usage.
  • Workers who feel unwell, e.g., having mild flu-like symptoms, should see a doctor and stay at home to prevent spreading illness to others.

Employers to monitor and report health conditions of workers who entered Singapore between 14 March and 20 March to MOM daily

If employers have any workers who entered Singapore between 14 March and 20 March and are not issued with a Stay-Home-Notice (SHN), the employers should monitor their health for 14 days. This includes taking their temperature twice daily.

From 26 March until 3 April, employers are to submit a daily health declaration of all your affected workers to MOM. If any workers fall sick (e.g., having mild flu-like conditions), ensure that they see a doctor. Employers are to submit the declaration via this form.

Update MOM with the contact details of foreign work pass holders who recently entered Singapore; MOM will conduct checks to ensure workers are socially responsible

If employers have foreign work pass holders who entered Singapore between 14 March and 20 March (including work pass holders affected by Malaysia’s MCO and are currently staying in Singapore), they are required to update the mobile numbers of these affected workers through this form. Ensure that the mobile number provided is a local (Singapore) phone number.

Employers are required to update MOM by 26 March. MOM will periodically check on the workers’ whereabouts. They will receive an SMS and they are to respond. Failure to do so will result in enforcement action being taken against the employer and worker.

Travellers arriving In Singapore will receive advance notification of SHN requirements

What is the change?

From 27 March, 9.00 a.m., all travellers arriving in Singapore, including residents (Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents), and Long-Term Pass holders (Student’s Pass, Dependant’s Pass, Work Pass and Long-Term Visit Pass Holders), must submit a health declaration before proceeding with immigration clearance. They will have to do so via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC) e-Service. The health declaration will be made available before 27 March as part of the SGAC e-Service, so that travellers who are due to arrive in Singapore after 27 March, 9.00 a.m., can complete it in advance of their arrival.

Upon submission of their health declaration, travellers will be notified electronically via email on the need to comply with the 14-day SHN on arrival in Singapore. This allows travellers to be notified of their SHN requirements earlier, instead of only during immigration clearance in Singapore. At the same time, they will be made aware of the penalties under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act (IDA) if they fail to comply with the requirements.

Travellers will receive the following when they submit their health declaration:

  1. An acknowledgment email after submission of the health declaration via SGAC e-Service.
  2. A reminder on the SHN requirements 24 hours prior to their arrival, if the health declaration was submitted more than 24 hours before arriving in Singapore.

On arrival, travellers will need to show their acknowledgement email, either on their mobile device or a printout copy, to ICA officers. Travellers must therefore provide a valid email address and contact number when submitting the electronic health declaration, as they will be used to send the acknowledgement. Travellers who do not have the acknowledgement email will experience delays during immigration clearance.

MOM entry approval and SHN requirements for Work Pass Holders from Malaysia

What is the change?

With immediate effect, the MOM will require all new and existing work pass holders (including dependants) planning to enter Singapore from Malaysia, to obtain MOM’s approval before they commence their journey. This is applicable regardless of the mode of travel into Singapore.

The entry approval requirement applies to:

  1. Existing work pass holders currently out of Singapore; and
  2. In-Principle Approval holders who have yet to enter Singapore.

Upon arrival in Singapore, all affected work pass holders will be placed on a mandatory 14-day SHN. When applying for entry approval, employers will be required to declare to MOM that they have arranged for suitable housing premises for these employees and have made appropriate arrangements for food for the duration of their SHN.

Employers are required to apply for entry approval using this online facility. Employers should inform their affected employees (including their dependants) not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been received from MOM. Employers will be required to send the MOM approval letter to the employees who will need to show it to the airline staff upon check-in (if travelling by air) and at the ICA checkpoint upon arrival in Singapore.

Exemptions for Malaysians and Work Pass Holders conveying essential services or supplies

The Singapore-Malaysia Special Working Committee has agreed that the transport of all types of goods between Malaysia and Singapore will be facilitated during the duration of Malaysia’s MCO. As such, those conveying essential services, or supplies (e.g., lorry drivers, vegetable supply truckers, frozen supply truckers) via land and sea crossings will be exempted from MOM’s entry approval and SHN requirements.

MOM will revoke work passes of migrant workers in large gatherings if they refuse to disperse

What is the change?

In a statement on Wednesday, 25 March, the MOM said it would step up inspections on the ground to disperse large gatherings by foreign workers, in particular foreign domestic workers (FDWs).

« As outdoor gatherings among FDWs tend to be large, MOM will take action to disperse them as an added precaution… Workers who do not cooperate will have their work passes revoked, » said the statement.

MOM advised foreign workers to remain in their residence on rest days, and said their employers and dormitory operators should « educate » them on this.

Workers should minimise time spent outside when running important errands, while employers should know where they are and have them return home once their tasks are complete. If they meet indoors, workers must observe the latest rules on gatherings, the MOM added.

Update: March 24th, 2020

Actions to be taken by employers to bring pass holders (work pass holders and their dependants) into Singapore

What is the change?

Due to the heightened risk of importing the COVID-19 cases, the MOM is restricting the entry of pass holders into Singapore. In granting entry approval, priority will be given to companies that provide essential services (e.g., healthcare and transport) and are supported by the relevant government agencies, while those that are not will be rejected.

All employers are strongly urged to defer bringing pass holders into Singapore. To facilitate this, MOM will automatically extend the validities of all in-principle approvals (IPAs) by two months. You can check the new validities using:

  • WP Online for Work Permit holders
  • EP Online for Employment Pass, S Pass holders and their dependants

If you are unable to defer the pass holders’ arrival, only proceed with the following if your company provides essential services (e.g., healthcare and transport) and is supported by the relevant government agencies:

  1. Ensure you can fulfil the additional responsibilities to bring your work pass holders in. If they have dependants who are not issued any work passes,
  2. including Letter of Consent (LOC), they must also fulfil their responsibilities towards their dependants.
  3. Request for MOM’s entry approval before the pass holders can enter Singapore.
  4. Wait for MOM’s approval before arranging for the pass holders to enter Singapore.

Applications open daily from 12:01 p.m. and close at 12 p.m. the next day. Requests received during this period are for arrivals within 10 days after the application closes (e.g., for arrivals in Singapore from 17 to 26 March, you can submit the request from 15 March, 12:01 p.m. to 16 March, 12 p.m.).

Applications are on a first-come-first-served basis. Applications submitted:

  • By 12 p.m.: Will receive the outcome on the same day.
  • After 12 p.m.: Will receive the outcome the next day.

Note: For pass holders with Hubei-issued passports or recent travel history to Hubei, please defer their entry to Singapore as far as possible.

Further measures to help companies cope with COVID-19 situation

What is the change?

MOM will introduce further measures to help businesses cope with the COVID-19 situation by providing:

  1. A three-month extension of the levy payment timeline to small-and-medium size enterprises (SMEs)1 with immediate effect, for more flexibility in their cash-flow management;
  2. Levy waiver for up to 90 days with immediate effect for foreign workers on overseas leave; and
  3. Man-Year Entitlement (MYE) refund for construction firms affected by disruptions arising from COVID-19, with effect from 1 April.

In addition, firms with excess manpower are urged to prioritize locals to be retained in their jobs. These firms should also give consent for their existing foreign workers to be transferred other employers facing manpower shortages.

For the full details of each of the three measures, please refer to the link below.


1 SMEs refers to companies incorporated in Singapore employing not more than 200 workers.

Update: March 20th, 2020

Temporary housing support for employers affected by Malaysia’s Movement Control Order

What is the change?

With the implementation of a Movement Control Order which bans Malaysia citizens from going overseas and non-Malaysia citizens from entering Malaysia between 18 March 2020 and 31 March 2020, local employers are making efforts at short notice to house in Singapore, affected workers who commute across the Singapore-Malaysia border frequently.

To help employers defray the additional costs of housing affected workers in short-term housing, eligible employers can apply for temporary housing support of $50 per affected worker per night, capped at 14 nights to cover the extra housing costs incurred. Affected workers refer to workers who:

  • Are Singapore Citizens, Permanent Residents or Work Pass holders who are Malaysia citizens;
  • Reside in Malaysia and commute to Singapore; and
  • Are housed in Singapore in hotels, dormitories or rented accommodation between 18 March and 31 March 2020.

Employers who wish to apply for the temporary housing support can submit their applications on the MOM website from 1 April 2020. Conditions will include ensuring that their employees are in employment between 18 March 2020 and 31 March 2020. Applications should only be submitted after the affected worker has completed his/her stay in the short-term housing. More details will be released on the MOM website shortly.

Update: March 17th, 2020

Ministry of Manpower (MOM) sets out guidelines for employers over employees’ travel during COVID-19 outbreak

What is the change?

The MOM, together with the National Trades Union Congress and the Singapore National Employers Federation, on Monday, 16 March 2020 issued an advisory for employers on how they should handle their employees’ travel movements in response to COVID-19.

Provide additional leave if travel for work cannot be avoided

For work-related travel plans, employers should review and defer all non-essential travel. They should instead explore alternative ways of business communications such as video-conferencing.

However if work-related travel cannot be avoided, employers must ensure that their employees’ health is adequately protected in accordance with MOH guidelines.

In addition, employers are expected to provide additional paid leave to the employee concerned. This is to cover:

  • Quarantine or self-isolation period imposed by the destination country on the employee;
  • Delay in employee’s return to Singapore, due to circumstances such as flight availability, need for MOM’s pre-entry approval to allow for orderly return of foreign employees;
  • Mandatory Stay-Home Notice (SHN) or company-imposed letter of absence (LOA) that the employee may be required to serve upon his return to Singapore.

Employers should also accede to employees’ request not to take on work-related travel, said the advisory, adding that employees should not be penalised for making such requests.

Non-work related travel

Employers should remind employees of MOH’s travel advisory to defer all non-essential travel plans to all countries. Employers should also obtain a travel declaration from their employees on whether they have any upcoming overseas travel plans to—including, but not limited to—the affected areas covered by mandatory SHN requirements.

More information on the latest advisory for employers on employees’ non-essential travel can also be found here.

Health clearance requirements for entry to Singapore

What is the change?

From 16 March 2020, 23.59 hours, all short-term visitors who are nationals of any ASEAN country1 must submit requisite information on their health condition for clearance before their intended date of travel into Singapore.

All applicants must ensure that their applications have been approved by Singapore’s MOH before their travel to Singapore.

Approved applications will be verified by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers at the Singapore checkpoints. Short-term visitors who arrive in Singapore without the necessary approval, or proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day Stay-Home Notice, or do not meet prevailing entry requirements, will be denied entry into Singapore.

Submitting the Health Clearance Application

Those intending to visit Singapore are to submit the required information at <a href= »go.gov.sg/healthclearance » target= »_blank »>go.gov.sg/healthclearance</a>.

Processing time for all applications is between 14 to 21 days, and the outcome of the application will be sent to the email address provided. Approvals are valid for 14 days from date of approval.

1 ASEAN countries besides Singapore:  Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.

More Information

 

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