Executive Summary

As of 7 November 2016, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has updated its website in relation to the requirement to obtain an approval prior to the appointment of an Employment Pass (EP) holder to the Board of Directors of another company (Requesting Company).

The Requesting Company is required to complete and submit a scanned copy of the duly completed Request Form (which can be found on the MOM website) via iSubmit. The MOM will take about 5 weeks to process the request. A Letter Of Consent (LOC) will be granted to the EP holder in the event of an approval.

Companies which have already appointed EP holders who hold an EP issued under another company to their Board of Directors without having obtained approval from the MOM should complete and submit the Request Form as soon as possible.

Companies intending to appoint EP holders who hold an EP issued under another company to the Board of Directors should take into consideration the processing time. We advise related Companies to submit the Request Form at least 2 months prior to the appointment of the EP holders to the Board of Directors.

Overview

An EP holder is only allowed to work for the employer as specified on his EP. The same EP holder can also be appointed to the Board of Directors of the employer without having to notify the MOM. S Pass and Work Permit holders are not allowed to be appointed to the Board of Directors of any company in Singapore.

It is also possible for the EP holder to take up secondary directorship positions in other companies. In the past, we were aware of the administrative guideline that the MOM needs to be notified and their approval sought if the EP holder is to take up such secondary roles but this was not widely publicised. We had previously assisted clients to submit various documents to seek MOM's approval. The LOC will be granted to the EP holder in the event of an approval.

The MOM has since confirmed in writing on its website on 7 November 2016 (please refer to URL here) in relation to the requirement to obtain an approval prior to the appointment of the EP holders to the Board of Directors of other companies.

1. Criteria

The MOM will generally grant the LOC to the EP holder only if:

  • There is a shareholding relationship between the EP holder's employer and the Requesting Company
  • The EP holder is appointed to the Board of Directors of the Requesting Company for purposes related to his primary employment

2. Submission Request Form

The Requesting Company must:

  • Ensure that its shareholding records have been updated with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority
  • Complete and submit a Request Form to the MOM via iSubmit

The Request Form essentially requires, among other things:

  • The Requesting Company to set out the EP holder's proposed responsibilities
  • The EP holder's employer to sign a "Declaration of no objection", indicating the employer has no objections to the EP holder being appointed to the Board of Directors of the Requesting Company

3. Timeline

The MOM will take about 5 weeks to process to the request. The outcome will be sent to the Requesting Company by way of email.

Conclusion

All submitted Request Forms are subject to the approval of the MOM. It is at the discretion of the MOM to request for additional supporting documents from the Requesting Companies for its further review of the submitted requests.

In consideration of the above and processing time of 5 weeks, we take the view that the Request Form should be submitted at least 2 months prior to the appointment of the EP holder to the Board of Directors of the Requesting Company.

All employers should take note of this new requirement moving forward as MOM introduces further changes to the Singapore immigration framework.

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