The Singapore Employment Pass (EP) is a work pass issued by the Government to attract foreign professional and technical personnel to new employment and a high-level work pass issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
Generally, the holder of an employment pass may only work for the employer indicated on his pass. Therefore, when an employment pass holder acts as a director of another company (whether an executive director or a non-executive director), they must perform their duties as directors in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act.
However, in accordance with regulation 11 of the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations 2012:
If the holder of the employment pass obtains a Letter of Consent (LOC) issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), he may serve as a director of another company (unlike the company indicated on the employment pass).
What type of company is considered eligible?
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is aware that the secondary directorship position in related company (e.g., a subsidiary) may be extremely important to the current work of the employment pass holder and therefore MOM allows the employment pass holders to hold a second directorship by issuing an additional LOC.
If the second directorship is in an unrelated company (not related to the principal employer of the EP holder or has indirect equity relations with the principal employer of the EP holder, such as a fund entity), but the position is related to the main occupation of the EP holder, the Ministry of Manpower will still issue a LOC.
The Ministry of Manpower will issue a LOC in the following circumstances:
- The company in which the holder of the employment pass holds a second directorship has an equity stake in the principal employer.
- The company in which the holder of the employment pass holds a second directorship is associated with its main job.
For example, employees of a fund management company authorized by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will be allowed to serve as directors of their investment because it is supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
In exceptional cases, MOM may also grant LOC if the EP holder is high enough or holds a substantial stake in the company.
Each case is assessed on the basis of the circumstances of the case itself and MOM will request relevant information for assessment.
How to apply for a LOC
Steps to apply for a LOC are rather simple and straightforward:
- Have the request form properly filled up and signed.
- Submit the signed request form via iSubmit.
- On iSubmit, under “Request Type”:4\
- Select “option 1: Work Pass Application Matters (Excluding Work Permit)”, and
- Select “Appointment of pass holder from related company to your Board of Directors”.
- The LOC application request will be processed in a 5-week window.