Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has introduced a new work-authorized visa category for foreign nationals. Known as the Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass, the visa is designed for individuals considered to be top talent in business, arts, culture, sports, science, technology, academia, and research. Although details on the application process are still forthcoming, eligible candidates are expected to be able to begin applying effective January 1, 2023.
ONE Pass Eligibility Criteria
According to information provided by the MOM, the ONE Pass will operate as a five-year renewable visa that can be applied for directly by eligible candidates. Local sponsorship is not required. ONE Pass holders will be authorized to concurrently start, operate, and work for multiple companies at a time without the need to reapply for a new pass if they change jobs. Spouses of ONE Pass holders will also be eligible for work authorization. ONE Pass holders will be required to provide yearly updates on their professional activities, including annual salary figures.
Additionally, ONE Pass holders will not be subject to Singapore’s upcoming point system for employment pass eligibility, known as the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS), and employers who wish to hire them are not subject to the Fair Consideration Framework job advertising requirement.
Eligibility depends on the candidate’s ability to meet one of the following criteria, based on either salary or outstanding achievements:
- Past/Current Salary – The candidate has earned a fixed monthly income of S$30,000, or its equivalent in foreign currency, within the last year.
- Future Salary – The candidate will earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 under their future employer based in Singapore.
Additionally, foreign nationals based overseas (i.e., those who are not existing work pass holders in Singapore) must demonstrate that they have been working for an established company overseas for at least 1 year, or will be working for an established company in Singapore. “Established” companies are defined as those with a market capitalization of at least US$500 million or an annual revenue of at least US$200 million.
To be eligible for renewal of the ONE pass, the foreign national must either:
- Earn a fixed monthly salary of at least S$30,000 on average over the past 5 years in Singapore; or
- Have started and be operating a Singapore-based company that employs at least 5 locals, each earning at least S$5,000 (pegged to the Employment Pass minimum qualifying salary).
As an alternative to meeting the salary criteria, individuals can qualify for a ONE Pass by demonstrating outstanding achievements in the arts, culture, science, technology, academia, and research. Details on how to demonstrate outstanding achievements are forthcoming.
The ONE Pass represents an additional visa pathway for highly talented foreign nationals seeking to live and work in Singapore. With a renewable five-year validity period, eligibility criteria based on either salary or achievements, and flexibility with respect to local employment arrangements, the ONE Pass should prove an attractive option for global talent.
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