Singapore allows foreign workers and students to undertake practical training in a Singapore company through the Training Work Permit.
The Training Work Permit is issued to semi-skilled or unskilled foreign workers or students, and it is one of the many different types of work permits and passes which Singapore offers.
These work passes and permits are based on the foreign worker’s skill-set and the type of work they will do. So, if you want to undergo training for an executive, managerial, or specialist position in a Singaporean company, for example, you may be eligible for the Training Employment Pass instead of the Training Work Permit.
Who can get for a Training Work Permit?
You are eligible for a Training Work Permit if you are one of the following:
- A foreign student who is studying in an educational institution in Singapore. The training must be part of your educational course.
- A semi-skilled or unskilled employee from a foreign company who will undergo training in a related company in Singapore.
Required Documents for a Training Work Permit Application
When your employer applies for your Training Work Permit, they must have several documents to support the application. They include:
- A letter from your employer, which includes the following:
- Information about the purpose and duration of the training.
- A detailed training plan.
- Confirms your employment in their company during the training period.
- Assures that they are responsible for sending you back to your home country after your training is over.
- Proof of the relationship between the two companies (if you are an employee of an overseas company).
Documents required if you are a student:
- A copy of your Student Pass.
- A letter which contains the following information:
- Proof the training is a part of your course.
- How long the training is required to last.
- Your field of study.
- The duration of your course.
- Date of your registration in the course.
- Expected date of graduation.
In addition, you may also need to submit:
- Photocopy of your passport’s personal details page and any amendments.
- Passport-size picture in line with Singapore photo requirements.
- Photocopies of your Educational Certificates.
- Letter from your school stating that this training is part of your course.
- Letter from your school confirming you are enrolled in the educational institution and taking that particular class.
Documents you need to get your Training Work Permit issued:
- A completed Training Work Permit application form.
- Photocopy of your passport’s personal details page and any amendments.
- Your Disembarkation/Embarkation card.
- A completed security bond form, which your employer must get.
Keep in mind:
All documents have to be in English. Any documents that are not in English have to be translated by an official translator.
How to Apply for a Training Work Permit?
It is your employer in Singapore who is in charge of applying for your Training Work Permit. The application process is divided into three parts:
Applying for the Training Work Permit
If you are a foreign employee who isn’t already studying in Singapore, you do not have to be in Singapore for this part of the application process. Your employer applies for your Training Work Permit online. You should travel to Singapore only once the application is approved.
- Your employer applies via WP Online, MOM’s online application tool for work permits.
- They pay the application processing fee (S$35).
- They check the application status the next day, and continue if it is set at “Pending Documents”.
- They print the interim approval letter.
- Within ten days your employer must submit electronic/scanned copies of all the required documents (see below) as well as the interim letter via iSubmit.
The application processing time for a Training Work Permit is about three weeks. Once it is approved, your employer has to print the In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter, which allows you to enter Singapore.
Before you travel to Singapore however, your employer must do the following:
- Buy a security bond for you.
- The bond is made between the employer and the Singapore Government. It is used to ensure that both you and your employer will follow the rules of the Work Permit. If either party does not comply with the rules, the employer has to pay a S$5,000 fine.
- Get your medical insurance. Your medical insurance must cover:
- At least S$15,000.
- Hospitalization and surgery for any medical condition, whether it is related to your work or not.
Requesting for the Work Permit to be issued
After you enter Singapore, your employer must register your workplace and living address via MOM’s Online Foreign Workers Address Service (OFWAS).
After registering the addresses, they can request for your Permit to be issued. The process is as follows:
- They sign in to WP Online.
- They submit all the required documents (see below).
- They pay the fee to get your Work Permit issued (S$35).
- They print the notification letter, which:
- Allows you to travel in and out of Singapore until you receive your Work Permit Card.
- Informs you whether you need to register your fingerprints and picture.
Registering your fingerprints and picture
If your notification letter states that you have to register your picture and fingerprints, you must do this within one week at the MOM Services Centre. Your employer has to make an appointment for you beforehand.
When you show up on the date of your appointment, you must have the following documents with you:
- Your passport.
- The appointment letter.
- The notification letter.
- Any documents listed in the notification letter.
After you have registered and your documents have been verified by the MOM, you will receive your Training Work Permit Card in about four working days.
Can the Training Work Permit be Renewed?
The Training Work Permit is valid for up to six months and it cannot be renewed or extended.
However, foreign employees from an overseas company can apply for another Training Work Permit when a minimum of six months have passed since their last TWP expired.
Foreign students, on the other hand, cannot get more than one Training Work Permit for the duration of their studies.
Is there a levy and quota for a Training Work Permit holder?
Yes, unlike for Training Employment Pass holders, Singapore employers have to pay a levy and are subject to quotas for their foreign employees on a Training Work Permit.
This means the employer has to pay a monthly fee for every foreign worker they have. The number of foreign workers is also capped at what is known as the Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC). It means there is a set number of foreign workers an employer can hire, and it should be in proportion to the number of local workers they have.
The maximum quota and levy also change depending on the specific work sector: construction, manufacturing, marine shipyard, process, or services. For example, in the construction sector, an employer can hire 7 foreign workers for every local employee who makes the Local Qualifying Salary. In the manufacturing sector, up to 60% of a company’s total workforce can be foreign employees.
The Ministry of Manpower is in charge of issuing work passes and permits, so they also adjust the levy rates and the quota ratios. The Singapore Government regularly reviews and adjusts these rates. The levy rates can range from S$300 to S$800 per worker depending on the foreign worker’s skill-set and their sector of work.