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Complete guide to obtaining a Singapore work permit for artists and performers

Foreign nationals who want to work in Singapore can do so through one of the Singapore work passes and permits, which differ based on the worker’s skill set and the work they will take up.

If you are a performing artist who wants to work in a Singaporean public entertainment outlet, you will need a Singapore Work Permit for performing artiste.

Conditions of the Singapore Work Permit for Performing Artiste

There are eligibility criteria that both you and your potential employer have to meet before applying for a Work Permit.

Conditions for the employer

In order for the public entertainment establishment to be eligible to hire you, they must:

  • Have a CAT 1 Public Entertainment Licence by the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
    • The CAT 1 includes an establishment such as a restaurant, nightclub, bar, cafe, snack bar, discotheque, lounge, or pub.
    • The establishment must offer things such as a variety of acts (music, singing, dancing, gymnastics or acrobatics, etc.), play recorded music, and be a place where customers can dance.
  • Hire at least one local employee who is paid the Local Qualifying Salary.
  • Be operational for a minimum of six hours per day.

In addition, your employer must also obtain medical insurance for you, covering:

  • A minimum of $15,000 per year.
  • Hospitalization, surgery, and any conditions that may or may not be related to your work.

Conditions for the foreign worker

If you want to apply for a Singapore Work Permit for a performing artiste, you:

  • Must be at least 18 years old.
  • Cannot work in any other occupation outside the performance job, not even within the same establishment.
  • Cannot apply for any other Singapore Work Permit for at least one year after your current permit for performing artiste expires.
  • Undergo a medical examination by a Singapore-registered doctor within two weeks of entering Singapore. The exam checks if you carry any infectious diseases and if you are fit to work.

After you are employed on a Singapore Work Permit, there are other rules set by the SPF that you must comply with, such as:

  • You must refrain from making vulgar or offensive remarks and gestures.
  • You must not be indecently dressed or exposed.
  • You must not mingle with the customers.

Documents Required for a Singapore Work Permit for Foreign Performing Artiste

When your employer submits your Singapore Work Permit application, they must attach several supporting documents. These include:

  • A photocopy of your passport, showing:
    • Your personal information
    • Any amendments done to it.
  • Photocopy of your Educational Certificates.
  • Their Public Entertainment Licence issued by the Singapore Police Force.
  • If the employer has never hired foreign workers before:
    • A photocopy of their business’ profile from ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority).
    • A photocopy of the business’ three most recent monthly CPF Contribution Statements.
    • If they are a food establishment, a photocopy of the Food Establishment Licence.

When requesting for the Work Permit to be issued, your employer has to attach the following documents:

  • Completed Work Permit application form.
  • Photocopies of your passport, showing:
    • Your personal information
    • Any amendments done to it.
  • Your Disembarkation/Embarkation card.
  • Proof you have completed your medical exam.
  • A completed Security Bond Form, available on MOM’s website.

All documents that you are required to submit have to be in English. If they are not, you must have them translated by an official translator.

How to Apply for a Singapore Work Permit for Performing Artiste?

It is your employer in Singapore who must apply for your Work Permit. The process for obtaining a Work Permit for performing artiste is divided in:

Applying for the Work Permit for performing artiste

Your employer has to apply for the Work Permit online. You do not have to be in Singapore for this step of the application process. The application process for a Singapore Work Permit for performing artiste is as follows:

  • Your employer submits the application via WP Online, MOM’s online application tool.
  • They pay the S$75 application processing fee.
  • If the application is accepted: They print the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter, which they must give to you. The letter allows you to enter Singapore.
    • The processing time for a Work Permit for performing artiste is about 1 week. If the MOM needs more information or additional documents, the processing time will be extended.

Before you enter Singapore, your employer has to get medical insurance for you, as well as purchase a security bond (unless you are Malaysian). The security bond serves as insurance between the employer and the Government of Singapore that both you and your employer will comply with the Work Permit rules. If any rules are broken, the employer has to pay the bond (S$5,000).

Requesting for the Work Permit to be issued

Once you arrive in Singapore, you must undergo a medical exam within two weeks. Before the two weeks are up, you and your employer also have to request for your Singapore Work Permit for performing artiste to be issued. This process also takes place online.

  • Your employer requests for the Work Permit to be issued via WP Online.
  • They attach all required documents (see below).
  • They pay the fee required for the issuance of the Work Permit (S$100).
  • They print the notification letter, which:
    • Allows you to travel in and out of Singapore until you can get your Work Permit Card.
    • Informs you whether you need to register your fingerprints and pictures.

If you (the foreign worker) are from Malaysia or changing your employer, your employer must request the issuance of the Work Permit on the date that is stated on the IPA letter.

Registering fingerprints and pictures

If the notification letter states that you have to register your fingerprints and pictures, you must do it within one week at the MOM Services Centre. You need to make a prior appointment.

When you show up to register, you must have the following documents with you:

  • Your passport
  • Your appointment letter
  • Your notification letter
  • Any documents listed on the notification letter

Within four days of registering your picture and fingerprints and having your documents verified, you will receive your Work Permit Card.

Is there a foreign Performing Artiste Quota and Levy?

Yes, your employer must pay a levy for every foreign performing artist they have employed at their establishment.

In addition, they can hire no more than eight foreign performing artists. If the establishment is of a larger scale, the Ministry of Manpower may allow them to hire up to 12 artists. However, they will review each case individually.

The levy that the Singapore employer must pay is:

  • For the first 8 performers: S$450 per month.
  • For the 9th performer and above: S$750 per month.
  • Duration of the Work Permit for Performing Artiste

    The Work Permit for performing artiste is only valid for a maximum of six months. After the six months are up, you cannot renew your Work Permit.

    In addition, you are also not allowed to apply for any type of Singapore Work Permit for a minimum of 1 year after your Work Permit for a performing artist expires.

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