Employment Agency License in Singapore

All recruitment agencies that operate in Singapore must have to obtain an Employment Agency License (EAL) before beginning their operations. It's required for all types of recruitment companies and is overseen by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of Singapore.


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    singapore employment agency license

    Singapore Employment Agency License

    Singapore is frequently regarded as the top of the list of nations that have the lowest amount of red paperwork as well as the most effective bureaucracy. 

    Given that Singapore encourages outsiders to engage at all levels of management—from executives and middle managers to manual laborers—a large number of small and large  recruitment organisations exist to assist Singapore corporations in filling their personnel gaps. An employment organisation is a business that assists other businesses with their hiring and personnel requirements. Typically, the recruitment organisation serves as the intermediary connecting employers and prospective employees.

    All recruitment agencies that operate in Singapore must have to obtain an Employment Agency License (EAL) before beginning their operations. This is the fundamental license that is required for all types of recruitment companies and is overseen by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of Singapore.

     The employment agency license elsewhere is called:

    • License for a recruitment agency
    • License for staffing agencies
    • License for a placement agency
    • License for a Manpower agency

    This article gives you the information you need if are thinking about obtaining an employment agency license in Singapore.

    Who requires an Employment Agency License?

    Any entity or individual who is involved in the employment agency business in Singapore needs to apply for the Employment Agency License. 

    This applies regardless of whether the company is based in Singapore or abroad, in any case, and regardless of whether it is dealing with employment in Singapore or elsewhere. 

    Employment agency operations include the following:

    • Contacting prospective candidates about their applications for jobs.
    • Compiling the resumes of prospective candidates looking for work.
    • Sending Singapore Work Visa applications to authorities on behalf of candidates or employers.
    • Facilitating placement of candidates with employers.

    An agency that is not involved in putting candidates on the payroll of employers or has no significant influence on the outcome of employment conditions and terms is not required to hold the employment agency license. 

    The types of entities are:

    • Individuals who provide ad-hoc informal or casual job recommendations;
    • Centers or agencies that pair tuition instructors with students;
    • Online job portals, as well as jobs bulletin boards
    • Courier services are employed in job or recruitment operations;
    • The campus placement divisions in Singapore’s universities are autonomous.

    Which employment agency license is right for you?

    If your company is planning to conduct business that requires an employee agency permit, you can select one of the following license categories taking into consideration the specifics of your circumstance:

    1. Comprehensive License (All): Covers employment for job seekers regardless of nationality.
    2. Comprehensive license (Non-Foreign domestic worker): Covers employment of applicants regardless of nationality. However, it excludes foreign domestic employees i.e. foreigners whose profession stated on their application for an employment license includes “domestic worker”.
    3. Comprehensive License (Local): It covers only the employment of Singaporeans as well as Singapore permanent residents but does not cover the employment of foreigners.
    4. Select License: It covers the employment rights of anyone who earns a salary per month that is greater than SGD 4,500.

    Criteria to acquire employment agency licence

    You should fulfill the following requirements in order to be qualified for an employment agency (EA) license:

    1. At the time of applying, you must hold Singaporean citizenship or be a permanent resident.

    2. Possess one of the following jobs inside your company, as listed with the ACRA:

    • The owner (for partnerships and sole proprietorships)
    • The managing director or the director
    • Partner
    • General Partner

    3. Possess one of the primary operations listed below, as recorded with ACRA:

    • Maid Services
    • Recruitment organizations
    • Executive recruiting firms

    4. Not have an unfinished bankruptcy

    5. Never had a record of fraud

    6. Be ineligible to serve as a director or manage a recruitment organization whose licence has been suspended.

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      Employment Agency License Application Procedure

      1. The application must be submitted to the Commissioner

      To apply for or renew an agency’s license to work, the principal applicant has to fill out the application form and submit it to the commissioner (Ministry of Manpower) along with the cost of $400 via the digital platform. Within 7 days, you will be notified of an email with an approval in principle or rejection. After that, you’ll get an IPA notice via email or SMS.

      2. Security bond and banker’s guarantees documents

      Within four weeks of the date of receiving the IPA, you must put up a security bond -you can purchase the security bond, and submit all the required forms and documents to the commissioner.

      The amount of this security deposit is decided by the Commissioner in the following manner:

      For all Comprehensive Licenses:

      • $60,000 in the first year of operation.
      • Between $20,000 and $60,000 starting in the 2nd year according to the number of workers Permit or S Pass holders enrolled and the number of demerit points previously accrued.

       For Select Licenses:

      • You’ll be requiring $20k in the first year of operation.
      • Between $20,000 and $60,000 starting in the 2nd year dependent on the number of points demerit previously accumulated.

      Within 7 days, you will receive an email of your application being approved, subject to paying to issue the license.

      3. To obtain the permit

      If the Commissioner chooses to issue an extension or renewal to a license another fee of $100 has to be paid. Within 3 days of the payment has been made it will issue the license.

      4. Employment agency employees who register for employment

      A company must, prior to permitting employees to perform any work that is specified by the agency be able to apply to the Commissioner for registration of the personnel. The registration fee for each individual will be $160 per employee.

      Participants who have been registered will be issued a registration number and their details are uploaded into MOM’s resources. The process generally takes seven days.

      5. Registration cards are issued

      On the day of registration for any employee of the employment agency and upon registration, the agency must issue a registration card to employees in the form that is prescribed.

      If required, the personnel should present their registration cards to any customer who is seeking a job, and permit that individual to keep the details from their registration cards.

      Employment Agency Setup Key Information & Requirements

      The following essential requirements apply to the establishment of an agency for employment in Singapore:

      Register a Singapore company

      It is necessary to first create the Singapore company, and then choose a business activity code that is suitable for the type of recruitment you’ll be conducting. For information on how you can set up a Singapore firm, read the Singapore Company incorporation guide.

      Create a business office

      The company needs to set up an operational business office. There are many alternatives for office space that you could choose from based on the needs of your business and your budget. 

      It is important to note that you have to obtain permission from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) when you are planning to make any modifications or additions to a conservation property. 

      Apply for an Employment Agency License

      The company must obtain an Employment Agency License, either a Select License or a Comprehensive License which is generated by the Ministry of Manpower Of Singapore. The license can only be issued to legal entities, not individuals.

      Security deposit pay

      Businesses that have been issued the Select License must furnish a Security Deposit of $20,000 in the form of a Banker’s Guarantee as opposed to companies granted a Comprehensive License will have to provide a security amount of S$60,000.

      Certification of personnel from an employment agency

      If an employee wishes to work for an employment and agency or with a comprehensive license, they must be certified with the Certificate for Employment Intermediaries (CEI) course.  Even though the CEO, and CFO, who are holding bigger positions in the firm must have this certification.

      The certification is essential before obtaining approval for an employment agency. 

      Registration of employees from employment agencies

      Every one of the laborers of a company as well as the key individuals who do employment agency-related work pays little attention to knowing whether they are recruited by Comprehensive approved offices, or select authorized offices that ought to be recorded with Singapore MOM and have a standard registration card.

      Registration is not mandatory for key appointment holders or other personnel of the agency when they are not performing the work of an employment agency.

      Employment agency eligibility requirements for employees

      Personnel employed by employment agencies such as important appointment holders have to be either a Singapore citizen, Singapore permanent resident, or an international citizen who has a valid Singapore employment visa.

      Additionally, (s)he is required to be recognized (if appropriate). Additionally, the person must be free of court or bankruptcy judgments.PR

      Suspension and Renewal of an employment agency licence

      Renewal of an employment agency license

      The license is valid for a specific period which is determined in each case and usually is three years. The notification of expiration would be sent out to you through email four months prior to the license is expired. After receiving the notification, you must begin the renewal procedure. The renewal application has to be provided at least three months prior to the license is expired.

      Here is the procedure to renew an employment agency license:

      • Send in your renewal application through the MOM portal and pay the necessary charges. 
      • You will receive the IPA which has a validity of three weeks.
      • Your current security bond must be renewed or obtained a new one after initial clearance.
      • The license will be granted when you submit the $100 issuing charge.

      Suspension of an employment agency license

      The Commissioner is able to suspend or cancel this license at any point in the event that the Commissioner finds there is a violation of the licensing rules by the licensed person.

      • Is in violation of the applicable laws;
      • Isn’t in compliance with the terms and conditions of the license.
      • It acts in a way that could harm the interests of his clients
      • It’s no longer operating the function of an agency for employment;
      • There is no employment agency for an uninterrupted period of six months;
      • Has acted in opposition to the public interest
      • Has committed a criminal offense is a criminal;
      • is no longer an appropriate and qualified person to be a holder of the license

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        Obtaining an Employment Agency License (EAL) is a requirement for all employment agencies doing business in Singapore. However, in order to obtain the licence for an employment agency MOM must receive an application and certain standards must be satisfied. This article has described the application process for a new licence as well as the renewal process for a licence for an employment agency.

        Even if obtaining a licence to operate as an employment agency may not seem difficult, it is advisable to speak with specialists at Odint Consulting to reduce the likelihood that your application will be denied.


        A reasonable timeline based on the entire process that is involved could be 3-4 weeks.

        The Select License requires a security deposit of $20,000 while the Comprehensive License requires a security deposit of S$60,000. The deposit must be in the form of a Banker’s Guarantee.

        The license is valid for 3 years and is able to be renewed at any time after the expiration date.

        • Apply online through the MOM portal.
        • Provide the banker’s guarantee and the security bond.
        • Make a payment of the fees to receive the licence.

        Any entity or individual who is involved in the employment agency business in Singapore needs to apply for the Employment Agency License.

        you may also need to obtain other approvals from the government, such as a business license or a tax identification number. The specific approvals that you need will vary depending on the country or state in which you are located.

        Sure, here are some FAQs regarding Employment Agency License:

        • Do I need to apply for an employment agency license?

        In most countries, you are required to apply for an employment agency license if you are providing recruitment and placement services to other employers. This includes helping employers find employees and helping jobseekers find work. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, you may not need a license if you are: * A staffing agency that is the employer of the employees that you place with clients. * A theatrical personal manager whose primary business is managing artists.

        • What conditions do I need to fulfill to get an employment agency license?

        The conditions that you need to fulfill to get an employment agency license will vary depending on the country or state in which you are located. However, some common requirements include: * Having a certain amount of experience in the recruitment industry. * Passing a background check. * Having a surety bond or insurance policy. * Complying with all applicable labor laws.

        • What supporting documents do I need to submit to apply for an employment agency license?

        The supporting documents that you need to submit to apply for an employment agency license will vary depending on the country or state in which you are located. However, some common documents include: * A business plan. * A resume of the key personnel involved in the business. * A copy of the surety bond or insurance policy. * A copy of the background check.

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