Saturday 19 December 2015

What if I want to change jobs while I am on an EP in Singapore?

What if I want to change jobs while I am on an Employment Pass (EP) work visa in Singapore?

Well, that's a good question. I was wondering the same when I was looking to change jobs. Here's some some answers to common questions. Some directly from MOM.

What if I want to change jobs while I am on an EP?

"You should ask the new employer to apply for a new Employment Pass for you. There is no need to cancel the existing EP before applying for a new one. Your application will be considered based on its merits and under prevailing guidelines."

This means you can have two passes at once, since you will need to be able to serve your notice period at your previous company and receive your salary from your old employer during this notice period. If you can't serve your notice, it causes issues for the company and also for you financially, so MOM has this process in place to allow you to transition between jobs.

If an EP or S Pass holder changes jobs, is the existing pass automatically cancelled?

"No. If an Employment Pass (EP) or S Pass holder changes jobs and the new pass is approved, MOM does not automatically cancel the existing work pass. This is so that the current employer has a notice period. The employer needs to cancel the pass using EP Online."

As mentioned with the previous question, an employee needs to be able to serve their notice period. So the MOM does not automatically cancel your existing work pass. Your current employer will also not cancel the pass automatically. Should your current employer cancel your work pass, you will not able to be able to serve your notice period. As it'll be silly for them to leave you hanging with no pay and no approved new employer Employment Pass, so this is why they will not cancel it automatically. In fact, your current (old) employer needs to cancel it.

This leads you to the next question.

Can an employer refuse to cancel an EP or S Pass?

"No. Employers are required to cancel a work pass once the employee is no longer working for them. Employers cannot refuse to cancel a pass. Work passes cannot be used as a threat or retaliation for employment or contract disputes (for example, if the employee left without serving notice). If you are an employer in a contractual dispute with an employee, try to resolve the dispute amicably or seek legal advice if you have to. If you are an employee whose employer is refusing to cancel your work pass, write to MOM and include a copy of your resignation letter."

That's right. There's a need to ensure fairness in this issue, so this is MOM's stance on this.

Once it's decided your pass will be cancelled, the day that you old employer does cancel your pass, you will be able to have your new pass issued almost immediately. This is done online.

How long does it normally take to have your EP issued?

This can vary, depending on the amount of EP applications MOM has in their pipeline and work , but generally should only take 7 to 15 working days.  My EP was issued after 7 working days from the date it was actually applied for by the new employer. This was very fast.

Can I leave Singapore while my new EP is pending?

Yes, but you must have your Short Term Visit Pass. If you are changing employer, the previous employer must issue this when they cancel your previous EP work pass.

What happens when my application is submitted?

STVP required to be issued by old employer. Short Term Visit Pass. Forwarded email is fine.
STVP (it'll be a document with the title, "Visit pass and embarkation form"

A 30-day short term visit pass (STVP) can be issued to the ex-employee, which allows him or her to stay in Singapore for the said period. The STVP must be submitted to the immigration officer when the ex-employee leaves the country.

How is the IP (In-principle) Approval letter given - once Employment Pass is approved?

Employer issues the pass online. Employee MUST be in Singapore when this happens. Employee no longer needs to pick up pass, instead the new pass is delivered to the new employer.

What happens if my Employment Pass work pass expires?

If a candidate/ new employee is in Singapore on a visit pass that will expire before the Employment Pass is issued, MOM may not be able to extend the visit pass.

How do I check if an EP is cancelled?
You can check if an Employment Pass is cancelled by checking the validity of the pass. You don't need to log in for this.

This is great for seeing if your EP application is still valid. I used this frequently as I wanted to make sure I knew what was happening.

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