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StartinganEmploymentAgencyinSingapore|RecruitmentAgency,StaffingAgency

tartinganEmploymentAgencyinSingapore
AnemploymentagencyinSingaporeisacompanythathelps
othercompanieswiththeirrecruitmentandstaffingneeds,
normallyactingasthemiddlepartybetweenemployerand
potentialemployee.Anemploymentagencycouldbeengagedin
placementoflocalaswellasforeigncandidatesstartingfrom
juniorlevelpositionstotoplevelexecutives.WithSingapore

RelatedLinks
StartingaBusinessinSingapore
SingaporeTaxSystem
SingaporeWorkPass

encouragingforeignersfromexecutiveandmiddlemanagement
levelstomanuallaborerstoworkinthecountry,therearenumeroussmallandbigplacementagencies
andheadhuntingfirmstohelpSingaporecompaniesmeettheirstaffingneeds.
AllemploymentagenciesinSingaporerequireanEmploymentAgencyLicense(EAL)priortostartingits
businessactivities.Thisisthebasiclicenserequiredforallcategoriesofrecruitmentagenciesandis
governedbytheMinistryofManpower(MOM)ofSingapore.Employmentagencylicenseinother
countriesisoftenalsoreferredtoas:
Recruitmentagencylicense
Staffingagencylicense
Placementagencylicense
Manpoweragencylicense
Thepurposeofthisguideistoprovideinformationonhowtostartanemploymentagencyandgetthe
requiredlicense.Notethatanemploymentagencylicenseisnotrequiredifyouarehiringstaffunderyour
companysdirectemployment.

WhoneedsanEmploymentAgency
License?
Allentitiesandindividualsthatareengagedinemployment
agencyactivitiesinSingaporemustapplyfortheEmployment

Hawksford
canhelp

AgencyLicense.Thisisirrespectiveofwhethertheagencyis

Contactusforyour

basedinSingaporeoroverseasandregardlessofwhetherit

employmentagencysetup

dealswithjobsinSingaporeoroverseas.Employmentagency

needs.

activitiesconstitutethefollowing:
Communicatingwithprospectivecandidatesregardingtheir
jobapplications
Collatingtheresumeofprospectivecandidateswhoareseekingemployment
SubmittingSingaporeWorkVisaapplicationstotheauthoritiesonbehalfofemployersorcandidates
and
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Facilitatingtheplacementofcandidateswithemployers.
Agenciesthatarenotactivelyinvolvedinplacingcandidateswithemployersorthatdonotsubstantially
influencetheoutcomeofemploymenttermsandconditionsareexemptfromholdinganEmployment
AgencyLicense.Examplesofsuchentitiesinclude:
Individualswhodoadhoc,informalorcasualjobreferrals
Agenciesorcentersthatmatchtuitionteacherswithclients
Onlinejobportalsandjobbulletinboards
Courierservicesthatareusedinrecruitmentorjobplacementactivitiesand
CampusplacementdivisionsofSingaporesautonomousuniversities.
Dependingupontheprofileofcandidatesthatanemploymentagencydealswith,itcanchoosetoapply
foreitheraComprehensiveLicenseoraSelectLicense.TheSelectLicenseisdesignedfor
employmentagenciesthatplacelocalorforeigncandidateswhoearnamonthlybasesalaryofmorethan
S$7,000.TheComprehensiveLicenseismeantforallotheremploymentagenciesthatdonotqualifyfor
theSelectlicense.
Notethatexistingemploymentagencieswhoselicenseexpiresonorafter1April2011,mustatthetime
oflicenserenewal,optforeitheraComprehensiveLicenseorSelectLicense.

EmploymentAgencySetupKeyFacts&Requirements
ThefollowingkeyrequirementsapplyforsettingupanemploymentagencyinSingapore:

RegisterSingaporecompany
YoumustfirstincorporateaSingaporecompanyandselectbusinessactivitycodethatsappropriatefor
thetypeofrecruitmentactivitiesyouwillbeundertaking.FordetailsonhowtosetupaSingapore
company,refertoSingaporecompanyregistrationguide.

Setupabusinessoffice
Thecompanymustestablishanoperatingbusinessoffice.Therearevariousofficespaceoptionsyoucan
choosefromdependinguponyourbusinessneedsandbudget.Notethatyouwillneedtoseekapproval
fromtheUrbanRedevelopmentAuthorityofSingapore(URA)ifyouplantomakeadditionsoralterations
toaconservationbuilding.PriorapprovalfromtheBuildingandConstructionAuthority(BCA)isrequired
inordertodisplaysignsonyourconservationbuilding.Ifyouplantoexecuteanyfiresafetyworks,
approvalfromtheSingaporeCivilDefenceForcemustbeobtained.

ApplyforEmploymentAgencyLicense:
ThecompanymustobtainEmploymentAgencyLicense,eitheraComprehensiveLicenseoraSelect
License,issuedbySingaporeMinistryofManpower.Thelicenseisonlyissuedtolegalentitiesandnot
individualpersons.
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Paysecuritydeposit
CompaniesthatareissuedwithaSelectLicensemustfurnishaSecurityDepositofS$20,000intheform
ofBankersGuaranteewhilecompaniesthatareissuedwithaComprehensiveLicensewillhavetopaya
securitydepositrangingbetweenS$20,000toS$60,000dependingontheirplacementvolumeandtrack
record.

Certificationofemploymentagencypersonnel
InordertoworkinanemploymentagencythatisissuedwithaComprehensiveLicense,allemployees
(whetherpermanent,temporary,oronacontractualbasis),includingkeyappointmentholders(e.g.CEO,
CFO,COO,GeneralManagers),mustbecertifiedundertheCertificateforEmploymentIntermediaries
(CEI)course.Certificationisrequiredpriortoobtaininganemploymentagencylicense.Keyappointment
holderswillhavetoattendthe40hourcoursewhileotheremploymentagencypersonnelneedtoattend
the32hourcourse.Notethatcertificationofkeyappointmentholdersismandatory,irrespectiveof
whethertheyperformordonotperformemploymentagencyrelatedwork.Allotherpersonnelneedtobe
certifiedonlyiftheyperformemploymentagencyrelatedwork.
Keyappointmentholdersofemploymentagenciesthatwerelicensedpriorto1April2011willbegiven
timeuntil31March2012toattaincertificationwhileotherpersonnelwillbegiventimeuntil31March
2014.ThecertificationdeadlinefornewemploymentagencieslicensedbetweenAprilJune2011is30
September2011.ExistingCertificateforEmploymentAgencies(CEA)holdersandthosewhohad
previouslybeenexemptedfromCEAarerequiredtoattendashorterbridgingprogramme,available
from1Juneto15July2011.Thosewhofailtoattendthebridgingprogrammeby15July2011willneed
toattaintheCEI.NotethatcertificationisnotrequiredforSelectLicensedagencies.

Registrationofemploymentagencypersonnel
Allemploymentagencypersonnel,includingkeyappointmentholders,whoperformemploymentagency
relatedwork,regardlessofwhethertheyworkforComprehensivelicensedagenciesorSelectlicensed
agencies,mustberegisteredwiththeSingaporeMinistryofManpowerandbeissuedwithastandardised
registrationcard.Anemployeecanonlyworkforandberegisteredunderoneemploymentagencyatany
pointintime.Anonrefundable,onetimefeeofS$160ispayableforeachregistration.Theregistrationis
nottransferablefromoneemployertoanother.Iftheemployeeofoneparticularrecruitmentfirmwantsto
switchjobsandjoinanotheragency(s)hewillhavetoderegisterhimself/herselfandreapplyfor
registrationunderthenewcompany.Registrationisnotrequiredforkeyappointmentholdersandother
agencypersonneliftheydonotperformemploymentagencyrelatedwork.
Thepersonnelofemploymentagenciesthatwerelicensedbefore1April2011willbegiventimeuntil30
June2011toregisterthemselveswiththeMinistryofManpower.

Eligibilitycriteriaforemploymentagencypersonnel
Employmentagencypersonnel,includingkeyappointmentholders,musteitherbeaSingaporecitizen,
SingaporepermanentresidentoraforeignerwithavalidSingaporeworkvisa.Inaddition(s)hemustbe
certified(ifapplicable).Furthermore,thepersonshouldbefreeofbankruptcyandcourtconvictions.
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EmploymentAgencyLicenseApplicationProcedure
TheapplicationprocedureinvolvessubmittinganapplicationformtotheMinistryofManpoweralongwith
alicenseapplicationfeeofS$400.

Planningtosetupatravelagency?Wecanhelp.

Theapplicationprocessingtimeforemploymentagencylicenseapplicationisapproximately13weeks.
Youwillbenotifiedviaemailandifyourapplicationisapproved,aninprincipleapproval(IPA)letterwill
beattached.AfterreceivingtheIPAletter,youwillneedtosubmitthefollowingdocumentsinorderforthe
licensetobeissued:
ObtainaSecurityBondintheformofBankersGuaranteefromabankinSingapore.Inorderforthe
banktoissueyouaBankersGuarantee,youneedtoopenafixeddeposit(FD)accountforthesaid
amountwithbank.BankersGuaranteemustcover15monthsfromthestartdate.
InadditiontotheSecurityBond,thefollowingdocumentswillberequired:
Aclearcopy(bothsides)ofyourSingaporeID(forSingaporeCitizensandPermanent
Residents)oryourEmploymentPass.
LatestcopyofyourcompanysbusinessprofilefromACRA
Arecentpassportsizephotograph
CopyofyourInPrincipleApprovalletter
CopyofapprovalletterfromtherelevantauthorityifyouwillbeoperatingundertheHomeOffice
scheme
AcopyofthecertificatestatingthatyouhavepassedtheCertificateforEmployment
Intermediaries(CEI)course
Completedchecklistform
AnyadditionaldocumentsrequestedinyourInPrincipleApprovalletter.
Onceyouhavesubmittedthenecessarydocumentsandassumingalldocumentsareinorder,youshould
receiveanemailnotificationapproximatelywithin7daysofsubmissionofthedocumentsstatingthatyour
applicationisapproved.Atthispoint,youwillneedtomakeapaymentofS$100fortheissuanceofthe
license.Thelicensewillbemailedtotheaddressasindicatedintheoriginalapplication.Thelicenseis
validforupto3yearsfromthedateofissueandisrenewablethereafter.
EmploymentagenciesarerequiredtocomplywiththerevisedEmploymentAgencyRules.Therevisions
includemodifyingfeecapsandintroducinganewfeerefundpolicy.Detailsofthemodificationsareas
follows:
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Feecap:Employmentagenciesmaychargetheirclients(i.e.theemployeraswelltheselected
candidate)afee,provideditiswithinthedesignatedfeecap.Therewillbenocaponthefeecharged
toemployersforservicesprovided.However,feechargedtothecandidatewhoisselectedfor
employmentshouldnotbemorethanonemonthsworthofsalaryperyearforthedurationofthe
approvedworkpassoremploymentcontract,whicheverisshorter.Thisissubjecttoamaximumof
twomonthsworthofsalary.Thefeecapwillcoverallagencyfeescollectedbyemploymentagencies
inSingapore,eveniftheyarecollectedfromcandidatesviaanoverseasintermediaryemployment
agency.Notethatthefeecapdoesnotapplytoagencyfeescollectedandretainedbyoverseas
intermediaryemploymentagencies.Certainitemsarenotsubjecttothefeecapsuchastraining
expensesincurredoverseas,medicalcheckupsoverseasandtravelexpensestoSingapore.
CandidatesarenotliabletopayfeesincurredinSingaporesuchastraining,medicalcheckups,etc.
astheyaretobebornebytheemployeroremploymentagency.
Feerefund:Iftheemployer(thatwasaclientoftheemploymentagency)terminatesthecandidate
(whowashiredbytheemployerviatheemploymentagency)within6monthsofemployment,then
theemploymentagenciesmustrefund50%oftheagencyfeesthatwascollectedfromthe
candidate.Thisruledoesnotapplyifemploymentterminationiscandidateinitiated.Theemployment
agencymustrefundthefeeswithin7workingdaysofemploymentterminationorbeforetheforeign
workerisrepatriated,whicheverisearlier.
Errantandunlicensedemploymentagencieswillsoonfacetighterenforcementsandpenalties.Anumber
ofmeasuressuchasintroducingnewoffences,bringinginmoreenforcementoptionsandenhancingthe
penaltiesforexistingoffenceswilltakeeffectfrom1April2011.

EmploymentAgencyLicenseRejectedApplications
Undernormalcircumstances,ifyouhaveaccuratelysubmittedyouremploymentagencylicense
application,thereshouldntbeanyreasonforrejectionofyourapplication.Ifhoweverforsomereason
yourapplicationisrejected,notallislost.Youcansubmitanappealletterwithin30days.Yourappealwill
bereviewedbyaseniorofficerandtheprocessingcouldtake12weeks.Youmaybeaskedtofurnish
additionaldocumentsinsupportofyourapplicationonacasebycasebasis.

EmploymentAgencyLicenseFAQs
Q.Howlongdoesittaketoprocesstheemploymentagencylicensefromstarttofinish?
A.Apracticaltimelineconsideringallthestepsinvolvedwouldbeabout35weeksasfollows:
EmploymentAgencyLicenseTimeline
ACTIVITY

APPROXIMATETIME

Fileapplication

1day

ReceiveInPrincipleApprovalemailnotification

515days

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Prepareandsubmitrequireddocuments(securitybond,

25days

bankersguarantee,etc.)
Receiveapprovalnotification

710days

Makepaymentforlicense

1day

Licensereceivedviapostalmail(includingtimetakenby

57days

authoritiesandpostalservice)
Q.DoIneedtorenewtheemploymentagencylicense?Ifso,whatistheprocess?
A.Employmentagencylicenseisissuedfor3yearsandisrenewablethereafter.Abouttwomonths
beforetheexpirationdateofyourlicense,youwillreceivearenewalnoticefromauthorities.Therenewal
noticewillbesenttoyouviaemailonrecord.Ifyouremailidhaschanged,youshouldupdateitinyour
licensebyusingthesameonlinelicensemanagementportalthatyouusedtosubmityouroriginal
application.
TheeligibilitycriteriaforrenewalofyourSingaporeemploymentagencylicenseissimpleandconsistsof:
Youragencymusthaveagoodtrackrecordi.e.youshouldnothavetoomanycomplaintsagainst
youandyoushouldnothavebrokenanylaws
Theofficersofthecompanycontinuetobecleani.e.freeofbankruptcyandcourtconvictions

Interestedinourservices?Contactusforapromptreply.

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