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Employment Pass problems... please help!

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belladonna
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Employment Pass problems... please help!

Postby belladonna » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 4:45 pm

Hi everyone...

I just wanted to share about my current predicament in the hope that someone with similar experiences might be able to shed some light on what I should do.

Here goes: I have been working in Singapore for about 2 years now on a Q1 Employment Pass. My pass was up for renewal last month, but the HR department informed me that the renewal was rejected. At the time, they said that I was not the only one from our place of work to have been rejected, and the also hinted that the reason given seemed to be some "system error" involving some "financial arrears" (something about foreign worker levies) on their part. They insisted that it was nothing to do with me or my credentials, and proceeded to file and appeal. They informed me last week that the appeal was rejected, after two nerve-wracking weeks of waiting. Now, part of my problem is that my pass expired last 3 March. I am currently on an extension that expires this week. Today, the HR officer went to MOM armed with documents and a letter (I assume, sorting out their "financial arrears") and said they would apply for another Social Visit Pass / Extension for me on Wednesday. They said that should I not be granted an extension, they may just cancel my pass and start over with a new application.

Here are my questions:

1. Has anyone had experience with pass rejections based on the employers' supposed financial arrears?

2. Does EP Online reflect the results of manual applications / appeals? Every time I have checked for myself, it only shows the initial rejection for the first application, and no feedback about any appeals.

3. Should I call MOM and try to sort this out myself? I am surprised that this has happened because my employer is rather well-established and this is the first time they have ever encountered this problem.

4. I would very much like to continue living and working in Singapore. This problem came up quite suddently and I am not prepared to leave for good. What should I do?

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Postby ksl » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 6:57 pm

You need to wait for SMS's input! :wink:

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Re: Employment Pass problems... please help!

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 8:56 pm

belladonna wrote:Hi everyone...

I just wanted to share about my current predicament in the hope that someone with similar experiences might be able to shed some light on what I should do.

Here goes: I have been working in Singapore for about 2 years now on a Q1 Employment Pass. My pass was up for renewal last month, but the HR department informed me that the renewal was rejected. At the time, they said that I was not the only one from our place of work to have been rejected, and the also hinted that the reason given seemed to be some "system error" involving some "financial arrears" (something about foreign worker levies) on their part. They insisted that it was nothing to do with me or my credentials, and proceeded to file and appeal. They informed me last week that the appeal was rejected, after two nerve-wracking weeks of waiting. Now, part of my problem is that my pass expired last 3 March. I am currently on an extension that expires this week. Today, the HR officer went to MOM armed with documents and a letter (I assume, sorting out their "financial arrears") and said they would apply for another Social Visit Pass / Extension for me on Wednesday. They said that should I not be granted an extension, they may just cancel my pass and start over with a new application.

Here are my questions:

1. Has anyone had experience with pass rejections based on the employers' supposed financial arrears?

I haven't personally but if a company's GIRO deduction has bounced more than once they may well suspend renewals and new applications for say 6 months. I do know for a fact that if you have more foreign workers than your quota allows you will get a letter asking you to get rid of X number of foreign workers before two weeks from the date of the letter are up and if you don't you will get a six months suspension of foreign worker applications. This often happens when you are skating close to the rails on quotas. I've got one of those letters laying on my desk at the moment for one of my companies and I've got to shed 3 foreigners before next midweek. No choice as we cannot keep locals on the job. This just goes to show that the government doesn't always listen to the people it should be listening too, but what to expect when there is an election coming up.


2. Does EP Online reflect the results of manual applications / appeals? Every time I have checked for myself, it only shows the initial rejection for the first application, and no feedback about any appeals.

There are no provision in the system to show appeals only applications and their resolutions. Should your appeal be successful, the original application will then be changed to approved.

3. Should I call MOM and try to sort this out myself? I am surprised that this has happened because my employer is rather well-established and this is the first time they have ever encountered this problem.

If it is an employer problem you will be just wasting your time and their time as well. I'm not surprised. MNC's are just as bad as SME's when it comes to cash flows. Their accounting department may have overlooked transferring funds to ensure the GIRO wouldn't bounce. Happens to the best of accounting departments.

4. I would very much like to continue living and working in Singapore. This problem came up quite suddently and I am not prepared to leave for good. What should I do?

What ever your company asks you to do. If you have to take a quick vacation, so be it. But also be prepared for the worst case scenario, because, as you well know things are likely, at the moment, to turn smelly brown in a flash. :shit: And usually it the worker who pays for it.


Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Postby belladonna » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 10:48 pm

^Thanks so much for the detailed response, SMS. I really appreciate it. I suppose my best bet is really just to wait and hope for the best.

I hope you don't mind if I ask another question though, as you seem quite well-versed in these matters: my HR officer has also mentioned that in the event that I am not granted an extension, they may decide to cancel my EP and then send in a new application. Is it worth a try? Would it help at all if my bosses write a letter explaining how important my role is in our department?

Oh, and... it's not a completely "private" company so I thought it may have more credibility despite the said financial arrears. Of course I am not privy to all the details, but I have been led to believe that it was a system error and it's all just a big misunderstanding regarding records of levy payments. They insist that it's nothing to do with me personally :/

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 11:09 pm

belladonna wrote:^Thanks so much for the detailed response, SMS. I really appreciate it. I suppose my best bet is really just to wait and hope for the best.

I hope you don't mind if I ask another question though, as you seem quite well-versed in these matters: my HR officer has also mentioned that in the event that I am not granted an extension, they may decide to cancel my EP and then send in a new application. Is it worth a try? Would it help at all if my bosses write a letter explaining how important my role is in our department?


If your extension isn't granted you will have to leave for at least 5 days (currently, that seems to be the time frame required). Your EP has already been canceled by virtue of it not being renewed by the expiry date. So, in order to employ you again, they will have to reapply for a new EP. Letters from the CEO/MD may help, but I know for a fact they don't care one iota about the beggar's position in the company (my boss found out the hard way - I tried to tell him not to bother but at least now he knows and tends to listen to me). Provided you have a position that is not easily filled by a local, there is a still a good possibility that a new pass would be issued especially if because of a mix up and the fact that you have already been here two years. Our problem here, in giving our anecdotal evidence, is that we are currently in uncharted territory so we don't know exactly how MOM is looking at things since last September other than the fact that they are tightening up the screws to make it more difficult to get or keep EP's or PR. Hopefully, you are not currently working for your employer without a valid pass.

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Postby belladonna » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 11:26 pm

^ When my appeal was being processed, I was given a Social Visit Pass accompanied by a letter from MOM stating that I am allowed to work until the 19th of March, when the extension expires. So I have not been working illegally. Since the problem has not been resolved, my employer wants to try for a second extension.

I hold a teaching post, and by virtue of the job title, it is one that would be held by a foreigner. I don't know if that makes any difference to the MOM, but it may be part of the reason why our HR department was taken aback by the pass rejections. According to them, this has never happened before. I imagine if MOM found my credentials suddenly lacking or not meeting new criteria, they would have mentioned it to my employer? The only reason our HR has identified are the "financial arrears".

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 11:34 pm

It sounds very much like there was some kind of screw up. Probably due to the fact that you are in a teaching position, would account for the special pass that is allowing you to continue. It sounds like MOM is actually trying to work with the employer to resolve it while not wanting to appear to capitulate that easily. I think it will probably resolve itself but you are just going to have to have patience and also make contingency plans if it become necessary. A 5 days Phuket holiday wouldn't be amiss! Just hang tight and with a little luck........

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Postby belladonna » Mon, 15 Mar 2010 11:42 pm

^Thank you so much for your insightful responses, sundaymorningstaple. I am feeling much more hopeful now. I did think it odd that the appeal was rejected... and yet I was granted the two-week social visit while also being allowed to work. I really do hope that all of this is resolved. I hate not having much control over the situation, but I suppose I will have to trust that our HR department will do their best and that MOM is not too unreasonable.

Thanks again!

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Postby belladonna » Wed, 17 Mar 2010 10:43 am

I got my In-Priciple Approval letter today! Will be going for the medical check-up this afternoon. Thank you again for the advice!! :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 17 Mar 2010 12:06 pm

Good things come to those who wait......... patiently! :D

Congratulations. That ought to bring down the BP a couple of points! :)


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