Services Sector


Specific requirements

Companies in the service sector include engaged in the following business activities:
Financial, insurance, real estate and business services;
Transport, storage and communications services;
Commerce (retail and wholesale trade);
Community, social and personal services (excluding domestic workers);
Hotels;
Restaurants, coffee shops, food courts and other approved food establishments*;
Dispatch and delivery services; or
Hairdressing and beauty shops.
* Food-stall licensees are not allowed to employ Work Permit holders. Unlike restaurants operators, food-stall licensees normally operate small stalls in hawker centres, coffee shops or food courts. These are small establishments and can be operated by the licensees alone or with family assistance.

Other food and beverage establishments that wish to employ foreign workers have to produce NEA licences issued in the name of the body corportate, sole proprietor or partner for the purpose of work permit applications. NEA licences issued in the name of an individual (eg. a Director) will not be acceptable.

Approved source countries



Service & Manufacturing Sector companies can recruit workers from the following countries:

  • Malaysia;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Macau;
  • South Korea;
  • Taiwan; and
  • People's Republic of China (PRC)


Manufacturing Sector


Specific requirements

Companies in the manufacturing sector include those engaged in the following business activities:

  • Manufacturing of basic industrial acids and alkalis;
  • Mechanical engineering works;
  • Manufacturing and repair of oil/gas field machinery;
  • Manufacturing of waxes, polishes and deodorants;
  • Electroplating, hot-tip galvanising, die-casting and heat treatment;
  • Wafer fabrication plants; or
  • Food manufacturing.

Approved source countries



Service & Manufacturing Sector companies can recruit workers from the following countries:

  • Malaysia;
  • Hong Kong;
  • Macau;
  • South Korea;
  • Taiwan; and
  • People's Republic of China (PRC)


Construction Sector


Approved source countries/territories



Companies in the construction sector can recruit workers from the following countries/territories:

  • Malaysia
  • People's Republic of China (PRC)
  • Non-Traditional Sources (NTS): India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Philippines
  • North Asian Sources (NAS): Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan.

Steps before applying for Work Permit
Employers applying for Work Permits on behalf of foreigners from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Philippines and People's Republic of China, must make the following applications in the order presented:

  • Man-Year Entitlement (MYE)
  • Prior Approval (PA)
  • In-Principle Approval (IPA) for each Work Permit

Purchase Security Bonds
MYE and PA are not needed when applying for Work Permits on behalf of foreigners from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan. Employers need only seek IPA for foreigners of these nationalities.

Please note:

  • Employers are not allowed to bring non-Malaysian foreigners into Singapore before they apply for the Work Permit
  • A company must have valid Building Construction Authority (BCA)/Singapore List of Trade Subcontractors (SLOT) Registration Certificate when applying for PA and/or IPA.