December 13, 2006

THE NEW SCHEME IS A MAJOR BREAK FROM THE EXISTING SITUATION IN WHICH THE BALANCE OF POWER LIES WITH EMPLOYERS. CURRENTLY, IF AN EP HOLDER LEAVES HIS COMPANY, HIS EP IS CANCELLED AND HE MUST LEAVE SINGAPORE UNLESS HE FINDS A NEW JOB.

The personalized employment pass (PEP) is given to individuals, and not the company that hires them. It enables them to switch jobs with ease, but also comes with a time frame of five years. After that, the individual can either go on working on a regular Employment Pass— which is tied to a specific employer — or apply for Permanent Residence (PR) status.

It is granted on the strength of the EP holder’s individual merits. It allows the holder to remain in Singapore for up to six months between jobs. Unlike the current EP, which can be renewed after fixed periods, the PEP is non-renewable. This means that after five years, if he hasn’t already become a PR the PEP-holder must make a key choice. He can either go back to the regular EP — and his dependence on an employer — or apply for Permanent Residence Status.