The Ministry of Manpower has narrowed the scope of the allowable specialized skills that foreign nationals under the Work Pass Exempt (WPE) category can perform, and has removed software installation from the allowable activities list. The activities that are now eligible for a Work Pass exemption are providing expertise related to commissioning or audit of a new plant and equipment, and installing, dismantling, transferring, repairing or maintaining machines or equipment.
Foreign nationals can perform activities under the WPE category for the duration of the short-term visit pass or 60 days, whichever is shorter, and are also limited to a cumulative stay of 90 days per calendar year. Foreign nationals who seek to stay beyond 90 days per calendar year must apply for a work pass.
What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals
Foreign nationals seeking to install software should work with their immigration professional to apply for a work pass.