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Demystifying Work Permit Requirements in Singapore's Process Sector: A Comprehensive Guide

Compliance regulations in the process sector require specific steps beyond just completing safety courses and adhering to quotas. There are additional specific steps your business must take to ensure that you are hiring legally. An HRMS Singapore solution streamlines new hire onboarding and tracks payroll, attendance, rostering, and leave management to eliminate the guesswork.  Adaptive Pay can help you navigate these complexities.


Our HRMS solution in Singapore will streamline your workflows and productivity by automating crucial HR processes, including tax filings and payroll processing. With our platform, you can focus on other important matters, such as fulfilling the work permit requirements to hire qualified migrant workers.


This blog explores the work permit requirements in Singapore's process sector, specifically focusing on Process Construction and Maintenance (PCM) services. In addition to the general guidelines, there are specific regulations for your business activity, the worker's nationality, quotas, and mandatory safety training.



What business activities fall under the process sector?


The process sector encompasses factories that manufacture essential products like petroleum, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, and speciality chemicals. Production in these industries relies heavily on specialised machinery and equipment.


Maintaining and building these production units (PCM works) requires a unique skill set that is handled by PCM contractors. These contractors collaborate with plant owners, engineering firms, and construction companies to ensure the safe and efficient construction and maintenance of these units. 


What are the company requirements for PCM services?


Your business must be a registered member of the Association of the Process Industry (ASPRI). To hire foreign PCM workers, you also need ASPRI endorsement as a PCM contractor and inclusion on the PCM Controlled List.


Go to ASPRI's website for more information on membership and registration. 


What are the worker requirements and limitations in the process sector?


Migrant workers with PCM work permits can only perform activities related to construction, equipment breakdown, and preventive maintenance. They're not allowed to participate in plant operations like operating equipment, warehousing, or packing. Similarly, tasks like grass cutting, office cleaning, or waste disposal fall outside their permitted duties. 


Who can you hire?


Your business can only employ migrant workers who satisfy specific requirements in terms of source region or country, age at the time of application, and maximum employment periods. Here’s the breakdown:


1. Source regions and countries



People's Republic of China (PRC)

Non-traditional sources (NTS) like India, Thailand, and the Philippines

North Asian sources (NAS) like Hong Kong and South Korea


2. Age requirements


All non-domestic migrant workers must be at least 18 years old.


Malaysian workers can hold work permits until they are 58, while non-Malaysian workers have a stricter age limit of 50 for work permit applications.


3. Maximum employment period


Migrant workers on work permits in Singapore's process sector can stay for varying lengths depending on their skill level and source country.


Workers from NTS and the PRC can hold a work permit for a maximum of 14 years if they're classified as basic-skilled (R2). This goes up to 26 years for higher-skilled (R1) workers.


Those coming from NAS and Malaysia are not subject to a maximum employment period. That said, note that all workers are only allowed to work until they are 60 years old.


Important note: This information provides a general overview. Consult with relevant authorities for the latest regulations on work permits in the process sector. 


What are the quotas and levies?


Hiring migrant workers in Singapore follows a quota system called the dependency ratio ceiling. This means the number of foreign workers you can hire depends on the number of local employees earning a specific minimum salary (Local Qualifying Salary).

Additionally, there's a government levy charged on top of the salary for each foreign worker. The levy amount varies based on the worker's skill level (tier) and their source country.

Confused by the regulations? Our HRMS software in Singapore simplifies the process by automating calculations related to quotas and levies specifically for the process sector. 


What safety courses are required?


All process sector workers are required to take these safety courses before they start working:


  • OPSOC (Oil Petroleum Safety Orientation Course)

  • CSOC (Construction Safety Orientation Course) 


Keep your workers happy.


Use Adaptive Pay as your HRMS in Singapore to create a better workplace. Our all-in-one cloud-based HR solution will simplify how you manage your business for a fixed price every year without hidden costs. Request a demo today.


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