Student Employment in Singapore

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A Student's Guide to Employment in Singapore

Due to the expansion of the organizations, from constituting experienced employees, to include fresh graduates and students who are yet to complete their course of study. With the involvement of the students workforce organizations see several benefits like new ideas, extra manpower at lower costs etc. Students in turn are also very interested in doing work during their vacation or term time, apart from this during the course there is a mandatory internship they have to undergo. Students also gain exposure in work-place, building contacts and networks, short-term financial gains, enhanced employment prospects, fine-tuning skills and attributes.
Students are very keen to work in Singapore. Many organizations are also hiring students for temporary assignments, internships and industrial attachment programs. Foreigner students are also welcomed by Singapore industry. But it is advice to have search before making any applications so that you should be aware of Singapore's employment market for students. 
Following is the explanation of various information so that you can get the basic information about the legal working age in Singapore, employment options available for students wishing to work in Singapore, legislations to be aware of, where to look for suitable openings, industries that are inclined towards hiring students, the remuneration you can expect and other useful resources. 

Employable age in Singapore

In Singapore the age of the students must be 3 years and above in order to work. As the age between 13 years - 16 years falls under the Children and Young Persons category and there are also some restrictions on the type of employment that students in this age group can engage in. From the 17 years and above there are no restrictions for the students who are seeking employment.

Employment options for students
Students are eligible to apply for:

  1. During the vacation time they can get the full-time vacancies.
  2. Part-time jobs are also done during the term time or vacation time
  3. intern positions (usually a 6 week - one year period, as part of the course curriculum) 

In Singapore the companies generally hire these students for the part-time or intern positions on a temporary basis. This allows helps the employer to judge the capabilities of the students' for full time positions in future and is also viewed as a less expensive means of hiring additional staff at the same time. 


Local students studying in Singapore
Student having the citizenship or Singapore’s Permanent Resident are eligible to apply for full time jobs, part time jobs or internships/industrial attachment programs without any restrictions, during term time or vacation time. 

Foreign students studying in Singapore
Foreign students are not allowed to work in Singapore during term time or vacation time unless they are holding a valid student pass and studying at certain educational institutes that are approved by the Ministry of Manpower, along with certain other qualifying conditions. Some of the basic requirements of the foreigner students are as follows:

  1. Valid training employment or training work permit is required for the Foreign students wanting to undergo an internship in Singapore.
  2. For the undergraduate students who whish to undergo a training as part of their degree program the training employment pass is necessary and in order to gain the training Employment Pass, you should:
  3. earn a fixed monthly salary of more than SGD 2,500,
  4. hold acceptable tertiary or professional qualifications
  5. The training work permit is required if you do not meet any of the above criteria. Most of the students qualify for the Training Work Permit, as they normally earn less than SGD 2,500 a month. The Training Work Permit allows you to be attached with the company in Singapore for up-to six months.
  6. The Training Employment Pass and Training Work Permit are generally sponsored or by the company and makes applications to the Ministry of Manpower on behalf of students.
  7. If you are working in Singapore without any of these passes then you can be prosecuted by law.


Foreign students studying overseas
If you want to work in Singapore during the vacations but you are residing overseas you can do the work in Singapore by applying for the Work Holiday Program or the Training Employment Pass or Training Work Permit, as applicable.

Requirements of Work Holiday Program

  1. University students and graduates
  2. Age should be between 17 - 30 years
  3. Students studying in Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, France Germany, Hong Kong and Japan can work in Singapore up-to six months
  4. Your university must be in the list of institutions drawn up by Singapore's Ministry of Manpower.
  5. Students who have taken the admission in the university but have not yet commenced studies can also apply in Singapore.
  6. In work holidays program it is not essential to have job in hand before applying. You can search for the employment after reaching Singapore.

All the above passes are only applicable when you show the valid proof that you are able to support yourself financially during your stay in Singapore. Online forms are also available to apply for the WHP along with the necessary documents to the Ministry of Manpower. Within 21 days you will get the notification regarding the outcome of your application. On approval, you will get In Principle Approval Letter, valid for 3 months. You must collect the pass in personally from the Ministry of Manpower by submitting the In Principle Approval, along with other necessary documents. The fees of S$40 will apply. So the work holiday pass will get only on the arrival of Singapore.

Job search resources
For these employment opportunities most students approach their University's Career Office or the School's online job portal. These resources include: 

    1. Job websites
    2. Employment Agencies/Recruitment Firms
    3. Company websites
    4. Newspaper advertisements
    5. Job/Career Fairs


Popular job sectors for students
In Singapore it is not too hard find full-time/part-time/intern positions in a field of your choice. There are some industries that are more interested in hiring students in Singapore. These sectors are highly competitive and are number of jobs availability. For convincing the employer academic track record, skill sets, personality traits etc. play an important role. The main industries that interested in hiring students comprise of local and international players include:

  1. Admin & HR
  2. Call Centre
  3. Banking & Finance
  4. Information Technology / Computer Science
  5. Marketing & Sales
  6. Logistics
  7. Media, Advertising & Design
  8. Retail
  9. Hospitality, Tourism, F&B 


Compensation and benefits
The compensation for students depends on company to company or on the employer. There are not fixed standards for compensation, rather it depends upon three principal factors:

  1. The type of employment, job profile and position level: starting job pays the low as compared to a project management role. Also the full time jobs have the higher pay than part-time/temp/casual work. In Internships you can either be paid or unpaid.
  2. Depending on the size and nature of the organization : if the size of the company is small then it will pay the low but if the company is large MNC the paying scale will be the higher side.
  3. Candidate profile: If the profile of the candidate is impressive then the company includes you as an asset to their organization, you might be offered an attractive pay when compared to your counterparts.

Based on the above mentioned factors full time jobs usually pay between SGD 800 - SGD 1500 per month, part-timers are usually paid on a per hour basis ranging from SGD 5 per hr. to SGD 7 per hr., interns can expect between SGD 450 - SGD 750 per month. Note: You do not need to pay tax if your annual income is less than SGD 22,000. Students' income is usually non taxable as the annual income tends to be lower than SGD 22,000. Students are usually not entitled to any benefits like bonus, perks, insurance etc.


Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for students
If the students are earning more than the SGD 50 then the Students are entitled to CPF contributions. While there are certain situations when the students are exempted from this contributions like:
a) Students of Government schools, excluding tertiary institutions, working during their gazetted school holidays.
b) the students of N & O level Government school can also work during the gazetted school holidays.
c) A level students working during gazetted school holidays before their A level examinations.
d) Students working during vacation or term, under training programme approved by the following institutions:
      i)          National University of Singapore
      ii)         Nanyang Technological University

  1. Singapore Management University
  2. Nanyang Polytechnic
  3. Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  4. Singapore Polytechnic
  5. Temasek Polytechnic
  6. Republic Polytechnic
  7. Institute of Technical Education
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