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Letter of Consent (LOC) Application in Singapore: A Complete Guide

  • Published: 11 June 2024
  • 10 min read
  • Starting a Company
Letter of Consent (LOC) Application in Singapore: A Complete Guide
  • Author Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

    Gabi Bellairs-Lombard

    Business Writer

    Gabi's passionate about creating content that inspires. Her work history lies in writing compelling website copy and content, and now specialises in product marketing copy. When writing content, Gabi's priority is ensuring that the words impact the readers. As the voice of Osome's products and features, Gabi makes complex business finance and accounting topics easy to understand for small business owners.

Wondering how to secure a letter of consent in Singapore? This is your straightforward guide to obtaining the permission required for dependant pass and long-term visit holders to join the workforce or start a business in Singapore. Here, we’ll cover eligibility, the process of applying, important document checklists, and how to overcome common hurdles, ensuring you’re well-equipped to acquire your letter of consent in Singapore with confidence.

Key Takeaways

  • A Letter of Consent (LOC) in Singapore is issued by the Ministry of Manpower and allows eligible Dependant Pass (DP holder), Long Term Visit Pass, and LTVP+ holders to work or start a business. The Letter of Consent/LOC applications are made through an online portal with a processing time of 1-3 weeks.
  • Eligibility for an LOC requires a valid DP, Long Term Visit Pass, or LTVP+ for at least three months, with LTVP and LTVP+ holders also needing a confirmed job offer from a Singapore company; dependents of Employment Permit holders can also be eligible for a Letter of Consent (LOC).
  • LOC renewal aligns with the linked work pass visa and must be initiated before expiration; cancellation should occur within a week of the LOC holder’s last workday, and a licensed employment agent can assist in both processes with proper consent and tax considerations.

What Is a Letter Of Consent (LOC)?

At its essence, a Letter of Consent (LOC) is an authorisation certificate issued by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM). This crucial document enables eligible individuals, including Dependant Pass (DP holder), Long-Term Visit Pass (LTVP), and LTVP+ holders, to work in Singapore or to join or set up an ACRA-registered business.

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What is a Letter of Consent in Singapore

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) plays a pivotal role in the Letter of Consent (LOC) process. It:

  • Oversees the application and processing
  • Maintains an online portal for application and status checks
  • Provides updates or requests you to submit additional documents as needed

This streamlined process ensures that both employers and LOC applicants can navigate the process efficiently and effectively.

Eligibility Criteria for a Letter of Consent in Singapore

Exploring the eligibility requirements for LOC applicants, we find that not everyone is eligible to apply. The key prerequisite is that applicants must either be DP holders, LTVP holders (Long Term Visit Pass), or LTVP+ holders and that the pass should be valid for at least three months. This requirement ensures that applicants have a legal basis to stay and work in Singapore.

Eligibility criteria for LOC applicants

Furthermore, a confirmed offer of employment from a Singapore employer is mandatory for LTVP or LTVP+ holders to qualify for an LOC. This requirement helps to ensure that there are viable employment opportunities for the applicants and that they will contribute to Singapore’s economy.

The Role of Employment Pass Holders

The role of Employment Pass holders or Work Pass holders extends beyond their employment. Their status can open doors for their dependents as well. For instance, a dependant’s pass holder who is also a business owner is eligible to apply for an LOC in Singapore.

Moreover, such Work Pass holders can have dependants, including an unmarried child, who, by being family members, may be eligible to apply for a Letter of Consent in Singapore. This familial connection can facilitate the integration of the entire family unit into Singapore’s workforce.

Step-by-Step Guide to the LOC Application Process

”Step-by-Step guide to the LOC application process

Although the LOC application process may seem daunting, a clear roadmap makes it significantly easier to manage and result in a successful application. First off, it’s important to know that an applicant’s employer or an appointed service provider (licensed employment agent) must apply online for the LOC, as individuals cannot apply on their own. This requirement ensures that the employer is fully involved in the process and supports the applicant.

Usually, an LOC application takes one to three weeks from the application date to process. During this time, applicants or their employers should check the status of their LOC application after one week via the myMOM Portal. This monitoring helps to ensure a smooth process and prompt responses to any additional requests from the MOM.

There are several steps involved in the LOC submission process:

  1. The employer or service provider must log into the EP Online portal.
  2. Obtain written consent from the applicant.
  3. Complete the application form.
  4. Upload the necessary documents.
  5. If additional information or documents are requested post-submission, they need to be provided promptly.
  6. Importantly, candidates are only permitted to commence work once the employer has received the Letter of Consent.

Letter of Consent (LOC) application in Singapore

Simplify your LOC application with our expert services. We help DP, LTVP, and LTVP+ holders secure authorisation to work or start a business in Singapore quickly and easily.

Letter of Consent (LOC) application in Singapore

Documents Required for a Letter of Consent

The LOC submission process requires several necessary documents. Foremost among these are the consent applications from the candidates, which demonstrates their employment agreement. Applicants must also submit all standard required documents for the LOC application to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

For applicants in specific professions, such as:

  • lawyers
  • restaurant workers
  • regional representatives
  • healthcare professionals

additional documents are necessary. These professional-specific documents must follow any specified guidelines to meet the regulatory requirements of the Singaporean Law.

Online Application for a Letter of Consent to MOM

Choosing online submission over manual submissions is advisable when submitting LOC applications to a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) online portal. Online submission of a LOC application is faster and easier compared to a manual submission, which typically has a longer execution time. Moreover, the status of an LOC application can be tracked via EP Online, providing a transparent and convenient way to follow the application’s progress.

Duties of the Appointed Employment Agent

Appointed employment agents have a significant role in the LOC submission process. They assist LTVP/LTVP+ holders in applying for the Letter of Consent. Once the LTVP/LTVP+ holder has secured a job offer from the Singaporean employing company, these agents can apply for the LOC on their behalf.

Duties of the appointed employment agent

Initiating the LOC applying process after acquiring an employment offer is part of the agent’s responsibility. It is essential that the employment agent obtains consent from the applicant before proceeding with the application. This ensures that the applicant is fully informed and agrees to the process.

What Is a Pre-Approved Letter of Consent (PLOC)

Another important aspect of the Singaporean LOC landscape is the Pre-Approved Letter of Consent (PLOC). Essentially, the Pre-Approved Letter of Consent facilitates eligible pass holders in securing employment without the need for a guaranteed job offer, distinguishing it from the standard LOC. Spouses or children under 21 of Singapore citizens or any Permanent Resident holding LTVP or LTVP+ is eligible for a PLOC. The eligibility criteria specifically apply to this group.

One of the standout benefits of a PLOC is the flexibility it affords. PLOC holders can secure and switch jobs without needing to reapply for a new LOC each time they change employers. The option to apply for a PLOC arises during the application or renewal process of an LTVP or LTVP+, coordinated with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore.

How To Renew a Letter of Consent in Singapore?

To maintain lawful employment in Singapore, it’s important to grasp the renewal procedure for LOCs. The LOC must be renewed in alignment with its linked work pass visa (work permit) to ensure that it remains valid for continued employment. If the primary work passes that the LOC is dependent on get cancelled, the LOC is automatically cancelled, corresponding to the main pass cancellation.

LOCs are generally straightforward to renew, taking about a week, with most renewals finalised within up to three weeks. When renewing an LOC, the associated Dependant’s Pass (DP holder), LTVP, or LTVP+ must be valid for at least three months.

Dependant Pass holders who are business owners' LOCs can be renewed if they employ at least one local employee who is either a Singaporean or Permanent Resident. This Singaporean or permanent resident employee must meet the criteria, including the minimum salary requirements that meet the prevailing local qualifying salary and CPF contributions for at least three months.

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Cancelling a Letter of Consent

Cancellation of the LOC should be initiated within one week of the LOC holder’s final work day. This operation can be performed with immediate effect by employers or appointed employment agents. It’s also the responsibility of the employment agents to submit the LOC cancellation request to the Ministry of Manpower, provided they have the written consent of the LOC holder. They must also ensure they seek tax clearance for the LOC holder from the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

Factors Influencing LOC Application Outcomes

An applicant’s eligibility isn’t the only factor determining the outcome of an LOC application. Various factors, such as:

  • the applicant’s age
  • salary expectations
  • nationality
  • educational qualifications or any additional qualifications
  • work or professional experience

are assessed by the checkpoints authority, the Ministry of Manpower, when reviewing LOC applications.

Factors influencing LOC application outcomes

Furthermore, the financial stability of the employing Singaporean company (the future employer), the employer’s reputation, compliance with local employment laws, demand for local talent, and the potential economic contribution of the role to be filled by the applicant are also key factors considered in the LOC process. For instance, the applicant's age is one of the key factors, as younger LOC applicants are often favoured by the Ministry of Manpower due to their potential for long-term contributions.

Applicants with recognised university degrees, substantial experience in their selected professions, and specialised skills or those who command high salaries have better chances of a successful LOC application. Additionally, employment in well-known companies or sectors with a shortage of local talent can improve the chances of LOC application success.

However, it’s important to remember that LOC applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and the Ministry has the discretion to approve or deny applications, often without providing detailed reasons for rejections. Even if applicants meet all requirements for an LOC in Singapore, each case is assessed on an individual basis, and approval is not guaranteed. Understanding the factors that influence LOC Singapore application outcomes can help applicants better prepare for the process.

What To Do if Your LOC Is Rejected?

While encountering an LOC application rejection may be tough, it certainly doesn’t signify the end of the journey. It’s critical to review the reasons for rejection and to prepare for an appeal. An appeal for a rejected LOC can be submitted by providing additional documents and responding explicitly to the rejection reasons.

What to do if your LOC is rejected?

Sometimes, submitting a new LOC application or appealing with significant changes or improvements in the supporting documents can often address the reasons for the initial denial. It’s therefore important to learn from the rejection, adapt your application, and persevere.

The Intersection of LOC and Company Directorship

Beyond serving as a ticket to employment in Singapore, the LOC also enables Employment Pass holders from a Singapore-registered company to take up a Board of Directors appointment in another company. However, to perform directorship duties, they must obtain an LOC.

To appoint a Pass holder as a company director, the individual’s primary employer must consent to the secondary directorship role. The appointment must then be registered with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) after securing the LOC.

The Ministry of Manpower commonly approves a LOC for directorship if there is a common shareholding relationship between the two companies as recorded by ACRA and when the directorship is pertinent to the individual’s primary employment.

Financial Obligations for LOC Holders

Holding an LOC in Singapore entails certain financial obligations. These include matters related to tax and contributions to social security funds. LOC holders are exempt from contributing to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), as it is meant for a Singapore Citizen and a Permanent Resident.

However, employers of LOC holders are required to contribute to the skills development fund (SDF). Furthermore, when a business associated with an LOC holder becomes inactive, the LOC should be cancelled within a week, which includes the process of seeking clearance for tax for the LOC holder.

Summary

In the complex landscape of Singapore’s labour market, the Letter of Consent serves as a beacon, guiding eligible foreign professionals and their dependents toward exciting employment opportunities. From understanding the eligibility requirements, applying process, and supporting documents required, to navigating potential challenges and financial obligations, we’ve taken a comprehensive look at the LOC journey. As the labour market continues to evolve, staying informed and prepared is the key to unlocking the door to successful employment in Singapore.

Author Gabi Bellairs-Lombard
Gabi Bellairs-LombardBusiness Writer

Gabi's passionate about creating content that inspires. Her work history lies in writing compelling website copy and content, and now specialises in product marketing copy. When writing content, Gabi's priority is ensuring that the words impact the readers. As the voice of Osome's products and features, Gabi makes complex business finance and accounting topics easy to understand for small business owners.

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FAQ

  • Who is eligible to apply for an LOC?

    You are eligible to apply for an LOC if you are a dependent pass holder or possess an LTVP or LTVP+ that is valid for at least three months, along with a confirmed job offer from a Singapore employer.

  • What is the processing time for a Letter of Consent application?

    The processing time is typically between one to three weeks.

  • What are the financial obligations for LOC holders in Singapore?

    As an LOC holder in Singapore, you are exempt from contributing to the CPF, but your employer is required to contribute to the SDF. Additionally, tax clearance should be obtained when an associated business becomes inactive.

  • What can I do if my LOC application is rejected?

    If your LOC application is rejected, you can review the reasons for rejection and prepare to appeal by providing additional documents and addressing the rejection reasons explicitly. This will give you a chance to rectify any issues and potentially get your application approved.

  • Can an Employment Pass holder be appointed as a company director?

    Yes, a Pass holder can be appointed as a director in a company, but they need to obtain a Letter of Consent (LOC) to do so.

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