5 cons of being an S Pass holder

Working in a country that has a stable economy can ensure the financial stability of a worker. That is one of the main reasons why foreigners from developing countries go to a country like Singapore in order to work. Since the Singapore government allows foreign workers, they issue passes to these workers and one of those passes is the S Pass Singapore visa.


The S Pass is a work visa in Singapore meant for middle-skilled workers. This means that you don’t necessarily have to be a college graduate. You need to be at least to have a vocational course that has one year of formal study. However, there are disadvantages to being a holder of this type of employment visa. In this article, we will cover the 5 cons of being an S Pass Singapore holder.


#1 – Employer has full control of the S Pass Singapore visa


Similar to almost every work visa in Singapore, the employer is the one that has full control of the S Pass. Starting from the employment visa application, only the employer and an authorized employment agent can apply for the S Pass. The employer is the one that can decide whether the S Pass will be renewed or canceled. 


If the S Pass Singapore holder wishes to apply for a Dependent’s Pass for his or her family, he or she needs to get the sponsorship of the employer. For those reasons, it is a must that the S Pass holder maintain a good working relationship with the Singapore employer. This is not only for the S Pass status to maintain but also to be able to avail the S Pass Singapore privileges.


#2 – Not free to switch jobs


Just like the other work visa holders, an S Pass holder is not allowed to switch jobs. That is because this employment visa is tied to a single employer. This means that the validity of the S Pass is in line with the employment status of the worker with the sponsoring company. If the S Pass Singapore holder wishes to switch jobs, the employer must cancel the existing pass and the new employer must apply for the new S Pass. Aside from that process, no S Pass holder is allowed to switch jobs.


#3 – Work visa salary limit is low


Another con of being an S Pass holder is the low work visa salary limit. A designated salary must be met for a foreign worker to be eligible for any employment visa in Singapore. The E Pass, for example, requires that candidates must have a minimum salary of SG$4,500 which is a high salary in Singapore. However, that is not the case with the S Pass.


The salary limit for the S Pass Singapore application is only SG$2,500. This is a low salary compared to the E Pass and especially the PEP. Although a raise will occur, it will take a year before that raise becomes mandatory for the employer.


#4 – Employment visa levy and quota applies


One of the biggest cons of having the S Pass as your work visa is that it is subjected to levies and quotas. Levies are fees paid by the employer for every S Pass holder they have. The payment is made every month starting from the month the foreign employee starts working in the company. While the quota is the allocated percentage of S Pass employment visa holders in the workforce of a company. The exact quote will depend on the size of the company and the sector it belongs to. This means that if the company needs to downgrade, they are most likely to lay off the S Pass holders first.


#5 – High salary qualification for Dependent’s Pass


An S Pass Singapore worker is eligible to bring their family members to Singapore. However, they need to meet a high salary qualification to avail of this benefit. To be eligible to apply for a Dependent’s Pass, the employee must be earning a salary of SG$6,000. This is not easy to achieve since the starting salary of this particular employment visa is usually SG$2,500. It will take years before the S Pass holder will be able to reach the required work visa salary.


Apply for the S Pass


Despite the cons that follow an S Pass holder, this cannot compare to the benefits gained by this particular employment visa. As long as the S Pass Singapore worker follows all the conditions of the work visa, they will be able to work peacefully and avail themselves of their benefits such as housing and medical privileges. 


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