Work Permit – Conditions & Requirements for Marine Sector

The employer is responsible for applying on behalf of the foreigner to obtain a Work Permit. Work Permit is issued to those who are able to meet specific conditions and requirements as applicable to their sector. Employers are also required to meet certain sector-specific conditions before a Work Permit is issued to the person on whose behalf they apply.

Approved Source Countries/Territories

Foreigners from the following countries are approved for issue of Work Pass in the construction sector – Malaysia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, The Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Philippines (NTC countries – Non Traditional Countries) and North Asian Sources (NAS): Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan.

Quota Restrictions on Employing Foreigners (Dependency Ceiling /Quota)

Employers in the marine-sector who wish to employ foreigners must restrict it to a maximum of 5 Work Permit holders for every full-time local employee of the company.

Important note for employers:

  • Local full-time employees are defined as -Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) who earn at least $1,000 per month.
  • Local part-time employees are defined as Singaporeans and PRs who earn at least $500 per month.
  • Two part-time employees count as one full-time employee for the purpose of determining the total number of local employees.

Activities Covered Under Marine Sector

Types of activities for which an employer can apply for Work Permit under Marine Sector include –

  • Ship-building
  • Ship-repairing

A foreign worker who has been issued a Work Permit under the Marine Sector should work only within the premises of a shipyard.

Note for employers: An Employer (company/firm)

  • To be classified as a marine industry, must be engaged in one of the following 4 activities and it should also be one of the principal business activities registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA):
    1. Building of ships, tankers and other ocean-going vessels, including conversion of ships into off-shore structures – SSIC No. 30111
    2. Repair of ships, tankers and other ocean-going vessels – SSIC No. 30112
    3. Manufacture and repair of marine engine and ship parts – SSIC No. 30113
    4. Building and repair of pleasure crafts, lighters and boats – SSIC No. 30120
  • Is classified as either:
    1. Sponsoring Shipyard
    2. Non-Sponsoring Shipyard
    3. Resident Contractor
    4. Or Common Contractor
      Depending on the classification, the Work Permit requirements differ from employer to employer.

(SSIC – Singapore Standard Industrial Classification)

Foreign Worker Levy

In addition to restricting the number of foreigners a marine-related company can employ, they are also required to pay Foreign Worker Levy (Levy) on each worker they employ. The amount of Levy payable is arrived at after taking into consideration the worker’s qualification and ceiling/quota as applicable to the marine sector.

In some situations employers are required to provide a Levy Bond in the marine sector.

  • Employers whose workers’ Work Permits are cancelled for non-payment of levy;
  • Employers who have been late in paying levies payments for at least three times within a 12-month period;
  • Change of ownership in an existing Sole-Proprietorship; or
  • New construction companies starting up as a:
    1. Sole-Proprietorship
    2. Partnership
    3. Companies with paid-up capital of under $50,000 and are applying for Prior Approval to recruit Foreign Workers for the first time

The mode for payment is a Banker’s /Insurance Guarantee or Cashier/Money Order made payable to the Controller of Work Passes. Cheque payment is not accepted.

Steps to be taken before Applying for Work Permit

Before employers who apply 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 and get approval before the actual submission of applications for Work Permit:

  • Man-Year Entitlement (MYE) to establish eligibility
  • Prior Approval (PA) as required
  • In-Principle Approval (IPA) for each Work Permit
  • Purchase Security Bonds

MYE and PA are not required if the Work Permit is applied on behalf of foreigners from – Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Taiwan. An In-Principle Approval is sufficient for these nationals.

Important notes for employers:

  • Employers are not allowed to bring non-Malaysian foreigners into Singapore before they apply for the Work Permit

Marine-sector Workers Training

All foreign workers in the marine sector are required to attend the Shipyard Safety Instruction Course (SSIC) and obtain a SSIC pass.

The course covers the following:

  • Common safety requirements and health hazards in the industry
  • Prevention of accidents and diseases
  • Rights and responsibilities under employment law

It is the responsibility of employers to ensure:

  • That the workers attend the course within two weeks of arriving in Singapore
  • Marine foreign workers who have worked six years or less pass the SSIC test once every two years
  • That those who have worked more than six years pass the SSIC test and pass it once every four years

Employers can register their workers for the Shipyard Safety Instruction Course (SSIC). Those who fail the SSIC must retake the course as soon as possible. Failure can result in Work Permits getting revoked.

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