Can I Work in Singapore With a Student Pass?

Shania Wong
Can I Work in Singapore With a Student Pass?

Singapore is a great place to get an education — but it’s also an expensive one. Getting a job in your spare time might be a way to sustain yourself. Question is, can you work in Singapore with a student pass?

Read also: Cost of Living in Singapore: How Much Can Foreigners Save?

Today, we’ll talk about:

Types of Student Passes in Singapore

Student passes fall under two broad categories: short-term and long-term. Each type comes with its set of restrictions when it comes to working, but here’s a quick summary:

Short-term Student PassLong-term Student Pass
Duration of stay3 months or lessMore than 3 months
PurposeCertificate courses
Private diploma courses
Bachelor degree
Master’s degree
Private institutional programs
Eligibility for work?Not eligibleNot eligible if:
– You’re not studying in any of the approved institutions
– You’re an exchange student in Singapore

Eligible depending on:
– When you want to work
– The purpose of your student pass
– The institution you’re studying at

When Can a Student Pass Holder Work in Singapore? And For How Long?

MOM has strict regulations for foreign students working in Singapore, but it’s not impossible. Here’s a summary:

During school vacations or while waiting for resultsDuring the school term
Can you work?YesYes
Work eligibility criteria
  • Full-time matriculated student registered in any of the approved institutions
  • Student pass issued by ICA
  • Above 14 years old
  • Full-time matriculated student registered in any of the approved institutions
  • Student pass issued by ICA
Working hoursNo limitMax 16 hours per week
Additional RequirementsNoneIndustrial attachment program conducted by the educational institution you are tied to, and contributes towards your graduation

Commonly Asked Questions About Working on a Student Pass

1. Can I work while waiting for my results?

Yes, if you’ve fulfilled the above work eligibility criteria. You can work as long as the waiting period falls within your vacation break.

2. Do I need to seek approval from MOM or take any action before starting work legally?

No, as long as you meet all the eligibility criteria.

Just note that if you want to take on any industrial attachments that don’t contribute to your graduation, you’ll need to take a Leave of Absence and apply for a separate work pass. 

3. How long can I continue staying in Singapore after my Student Pass expires? 

90 days. That’s the length of the Short-Term Visit Pass you’ll get after your Student Pass expires. This gives you a bit of a buffer to apply for a separate work pass or figure out your plans after graduation. Just note that you’re not allowed to work while on a Short-Term Visit Pass!

4. My student pass has expired/will be expiring. Am I allowed to remain in Singapore to seek employment after graduation?

Upon expiry of your student pass, you can apply for a 1-year Long Term Visit Pass (LTVP) at the ICA to remain in Singapore to find employment. Once you have found employment, your company will apply for a Work Pass for you from the MOM. Your LTVP will be cancelled once your Work Pass is issued. 

Types of Work You Can Take Up with a Student Pass

There are no restrictions on getting a job during your vacation, so you can feel free to apply wherever they’ll accept you.

And if you’re hoping to work 16 hours a week during your school term, there’s still a large variety of jobs that you can try. We’ve put together a list of part-time jobs for students, so you can check out one that fits your schedule the best.

Some examples include:

  • Event hosts/helpers
  • Singers
  • Warehouse packers
  • Tutors

Note that most physical part-time jobs in Singapore — such as sales assistants and F&B crew  — require you to work at least 3 shifts a week. This means Student Pass holders may not qualify for these jobs under the 16 hour rule.

That said, there’s still another way you can work if you want to: take on a side hustle that you can do from home.

As long as you have a skill, anyone can work remotely from home and still cobble together a decent income.

8 Things That Can Increase Your Chances of Employment

Job hunting in Singapore isn’t the easiest given the competitive environment. Here are eight things that can improve your employability:

1. Diversify Your Job Search

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: apply for jobs through multiple places. Check on job portals like Gumtree or Indeed SG, or look on your school’s job portal and career intranet. Professional social media sites like LinkedIn are also a great way to get yourself noticed by recruiters and head-hunters in the industry.

Share your portfolio on social media, keep your status on Linkedin as “Open to work,” and constantly update your profile. You can also actively participate in forums, share opinions, and comment on posts you resonate with to expand your presence.

2. Don’t Rule Out Start-ups and SMEs

Small businesses may not provide you with a specialized role, but it’s more flexible with work arrangements and can provide you with a broader experience than joining an MNC would. SMEs also make up 99% of Singapore’s enterprises and hire 65% of the workforce! That means widening your job search to include SMEs may land you a job much faster.

3. Advertise Your Bilingualism

You’re likely already bilingual as a foreign student studying in Singapore. Take advantage of this by applying to roles that require the languages you speak. Customer service, translation, or hospitality are all options here.

4. Publish Yourself Online

Make yourself easily discoverable by recruiters and headhunters on search engines. Showcase your unique point of view, portfolio, or past works to skyrocket your employability! 

Here’s what you can do: 

  • Start a blog or write as a guest for other blogs within the industry you’re interested in. 
  • Produce Youtube videos that highlight your strengths.
  • Develop a podcast for an audience looking to gain insights into a specific subject matter. 
  • Actively contribute and update on LinkedIn (commenting on other posts, sharing information, writing and posting articles, etc.)

5. Expand Your Professional Network

Building a wide and diverse network is a great way to boost your job search. Try to meet one new person a day or even follow up with someone you’ve met before. You never know how a relationship could open new doors for you! 

Step out of your normal social circle and engage with new people. Join clubs and consider hosting your own events or even starting your own personal interest group to build a new network of friends.

6. Volunteer

Are there any causes you resonate with? Volunteering at a local charity or organisation is an ideal way to build your skills and expand your network. Volunteering adds value by demonstrating that you have various attractive transferable skills such as time management, leadership, and interpersonal skills.

7. Develop Yourself Professionally

While hunting for a job, you can always increase your employability by obtaining new certifications and skills. There are many reputable online learning platforms such as Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Google Scholar.

Taking approved courses on these platforms can even offset some credits for your next semester, which is an added bonus.

And since studies show that you’ll need soft skills to thrive in the new digital economy, you can also work on aspects like:

  • People management
  • Coordinating with others
  • Negotiation
  • Emotionally

8. Consider Unpaid Internships

Certain school term breaks only span 1-2 months, making these ideal periods for taking on unpaid internships. Think of it as an opportunity to gain work experience, build your network, and develop your CV for future job hunts.

Read also: A Guide to Part-Time Jobs for Students in Singapore