Gradual Increase In Singapore Foreign Worker Levies, Starting 1 July 2010

08 Jul 2010


Starting 1 July 2010, companies that sponsor “S” Pass and Work Permit holders will be required to pay increased foreign worker levies. This will increase gradually in stages over the next three years through 1 July 2012. Employers who sponsor “S” Pass and Work Permit holders will be required to pay increased monthly levies for their foreign employees.

A new two-tier levy system for holders of “S” Passes, a type of employment pass for middle-level skilled foreign workers earning a basic salary of at least SGD 1,800 a month. Employer would require classifying their “S” Pass holders into two tiers: (i) a basic tier comprised of the “S” Pass holders that make up less than 20 percent of the employer’s total workforce, and (ii) a second tier consisting of remaining “S” Pass workers that make up 20-25 percent of the company’s total workforce. For “S” Pass holders, the monthly levy per foreign worker will be raised to SGD 100-120 (approximately US $ 71- $ 85) and will gradually increase to a maximum of SGD 150-250.

The new levy tiers and rates for Work Permits, a type of employment authorization for unskilled and semi-skilled foreign workers with a basic monthly salary of less than SGD1,800, will be based on sponsoring employer’s industry sector (e.g. manufacturing, services, or construction). The changes are very detailed, but in general, there will be a greater differentiation in levy rates between skilled and unskilled Work Permit holders. For work permit holders, the changes to the levy tiers and rates will be based on the employer’s industry sector.

Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower announced that it will increase monitoring and enforcement activities against employers that attempt to recover levies from their foreign workers, whether directly or indirectly and if done so, they will have to face prosecution and can be prevented from hiring foreign workers. The increase in levies is a means to regulate the demand for “S” Pass and Work Permit holders and encourage hiring of local workers and foreign nationals with higher skills and qualifications.

For more information, the MOM’s website can be referred for changes to the levy rates and tiers for “S” Passes and Work Permits.


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