Foreign Workers’ Income


Two days ago, a Straits Times Insight article mentioned that there were 756,000 foreign workers in Singapore last year.

Foreign talent accounts for 30.3% of our work force. This means that out of the 2.5 million working adults in Singapore, 3 in 10 are foreigners.

Not all of them are highly paid though.

The article went on to say that 645,000 were in fact low-skilled workers on work permits. According to the Ministry of Manpower (link), a foreign worker on work permit earns a basic salary of not more than $1,800 (not including bonus).

The rest – about 110,000 of them – are working in Singapore on employment passes and S-passes.

A worker on S-pass earns a fixed monthly salary of at least $1,800.

As for employment passes or “EP“, there are 3 types: P1 Pass, P2 Pass, and Q Pass. Apparently, the P1 Pass is the most “prestigious”, as a foreign talent qualifying for it has to make a fixed monthly salary of more than $7,000. For P2 Pass, the figure is $3,500, and for Q Pass it is $2,500.

So now you know. The bulk of the foreign work force here makes less than $1,800/month (well, not counting bonuses, but I don’t think they get a lot of bonuses unless their employers are trying to be funny).

However, the remaining 110,000 foreign talent make upwards of $1,800/month. Those on P1 Pass make much more, at more than $7k a month. What is the breakdown by various passes? I do not know…


About Author


  1. The numbers were also mentioned in the ST front page news one day earlier (Nov 9), which also mentioned that as of June this year there were 3.68 million PRs+citizens, and 1 million foreigners. Out of the 1m foreigners, 756k are working.

  2. Pingback: Expats’ Pay | - Your Salary in Singapore

  3. The construction workers get paid about $12.00 to $15.00 per day. If it rains, their pay will be deducted. With flour price rising, how are the Indians, Bangladeshis and Nepalis going to sustain even their staple diet of roti prata, etc.

  4. Yeah most are earning less than 1.8k, but those are mostly gileng… if you exclude them, then foreign workers are earning decent cash

  5. My friend works in MNC company in Singapore. His salary was lower than a foreign worker. He was getting around $1600 as the foreign worker get higher than around $2000. They have the same qualifications. We singaporeans served NS and as for them they just jolly enjoy the pay they get here. We feel demoralized by this incident and we singaporeans should be priortize first than forein workers.

  6. there’s nothing you can do. it’s a government policy to get so many foreign “talent”. and only recently did they change their tone to “hire locals if possible” (so said dbs chairman). can we vote against the ruling party if we disagree with this policy? i remember when estate upgrading was dangled as a carrot, they said if we voted against them, we are disagreeing with that policy. similarly, if we disagree with their foreign talent policy, we should vote against them.

  7. Pingback: Citizens A Minority In MNCs? | - Your Salary in Singapore

  8. As a retired person , who lived and worked in Europe . I put into question the idea of attracting foreign ‘talent’ . For a lot of foreigners , coming to Singapore has little advantages for a career , the city is just too small and companies and unknown , especially working in technical or scientific fields , maybe in the financial fields , but even then Singapore is not London ,New York or Tokyo.Also foreign talent has no loyalty .
    The government should work more to get Singaporeans in the required fields .
    A very disappointing place

  9. @PG:
    its easy to say that the govt shd do more…but what can they do…

    singapore does not have resources to attract tech MNCs…they prefer to go to India/China…even for other areas, the core stuff is in US/UK, and asian people prefer US/Europe even if their life is worse than that in Asia/Singapore…its the psyche of people which cannnot change overnite…

    i think the SG govt has done well in spite of the constraints…

    FT dont have loyalty bcus they know they can get more if they leave for other places…thats the problem with SG…its very good but not good enough…and i cant see how it can change, given the contraints…

    i think it will stay like this…people will come n go , and a very small fraction will make SG a home…

  10. Stathis Renieris on

    Hello fellaz! Speaking of ft, I’m planning moving to s’pore next week. Am coming from Greece. Reading the post was lil strange to me. Heard that salaries where higher than ours. When u say worker, u mean someone withno proficiency? Let’s say I’d like to work at a company as networking tech level2, what would my salary be?

  11. Stathis Renieris on

    Hahaha. not every1! not every1! Only mad ones! Most of greeks would choose common countries-areas that would be canada, uk, us, germany, sweeden. But i like asia anyway.


  13. Dear admin. I am a Bangladeshi Student . I studying class 11 on science. In Our country, we will Graduate on Engeniring after succesing class 12 on science. But i know that my family is unable to bear my Engeniring expance. So i will go to SG after class 12. So, I have some question to you that Q1. I want at least 2500SG/month (8hour+overtime) , and what should I do to get it ? Which subject’s training i have need from Singapur Training center ?
    Q2. And which subject’s (Chivil, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science) graduated student are suitable to Get more than 3500SG/month Who graduate after class12
    Please help me

  14. m s ahsan m ali on

    dear,admin i want to know how much salary a year then i have to pay income tax. i have hand
    a letter where the some $73.40 pay income tax. how much salary my employer should pay to me? thanks

  15. l intend to go to singpore for work. l from myanmar. how much can l get basis salary.l am not a graduate. how much be pay agent to get work in singpore.

Leave A Reply