How to Set Up an Employment Agency in Singapore?

4 Oct

How to Set Up an Employment Agency in Singapore?

An employment agency is a company which act as the middleman to help assist other companies with the process of recruiting and staffing potential employees. Employment agencies are in charge placing both local and foreign candidates to positions in companies ranging from entry-level to top-level executives.


Procedure for setting up employment agencies in Singapore:

Step 1: Register a company in Singapore
To set up an employment agency, applicants must first incorporate their company in Singapore under a business code depending on the type of recruitment activities which the agency carries out. There are 2 main types of business codes:

78115 – Business activity (For agencies responsible for executive searches and headhunting)
78114 – Business activity (Applicable for other employment agencies except maid agencies)

Step 2: Setup a business office

The next step is to establish an operating business office. Applicants have the option of choosing from various office spaces depending on their budget and business requirements.

Step 3: Certifications for Key Appointment Holders and Employees

Employees and key employment holders working in employment agencies need to obtain certification through under the CEI (Certificate for Employment Intermediaries) course. The length of the course varies depending on the positions held. Key employment holders such as CEOs need to attend a 40-hour course while the course duration for regular employees is 32 hours.

Step 4: Apply for Employment Agency License

Once the CEI is obtained, the Employment Agency Licence needs to be obtained before applicants can finally start up their employment agency.

Who needs to apply?

It is necessary for every company which engages in employment agency activities in Singapore to apply for the Employment Agency License, irrespective of whether the company is located in Singapore or in other countries.

Employment agency activities include communicating with prospective candidates regarding their job application status and collating resumes of job applicants looking for employment. Moreover, it also includes submitting Singapore Work Visa Applications to the Ministry of Manpower on the behalf of employers or job applicants, as well as facilitating the placement of candidates with employers.

Types of licenses available:

Companies can either choose to apply for a Comprehensive or a Select Licence, depending on the type of employment activities the agency deals with.

The Select License is meant for agencies involved in the recruiting and staffing of candidates whose monthly base salary is S$7,000 and above. Agencies which do not meet the requirements are required to apply for the Comprehensive license instead.

Fees and Duration of application

A license registration fee of $400 will be charged for the application of the licenses. The application of Employment Agency License will take 1-3 weeks to be processed. Subsequently, upon approval of the application, applicants will be notified via an email which will also contain the IPA (in-principal-approval) letter attached.

Other Documents

Once the IPA letter is received, license applicants must then submit the following documents to be issued the license.

  • Security Bond – to be obtained from a bank in Singapore, in the form of Banker’s Guarantee. To be issued a Banker’s Guarantee, applicants need to open a fixed deposit (FD) account for the said amount with bank. The Banker’s Guarantee should cover 15 months from the start date.
  • Clear copies of applicants’ Singapore ID (for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents) or Employment Pass.
  • The latest copy of company business profile (obtained from ACRA)
  • Applicant’s recent passport-sized photograph
  • A copy of applicant’s In-Principle-Approval letter
  • A copy of the approval letter obtained from relevant authorities (For applicants operating under HomeOffice Scheme)
  • A copy of the applicant’s Certificate for Employment Intermediaries (CEI)
  • Completed checklist form

Once all the relevant documents are submitted, applicants will be notified via email within 7 days of document submission, that their application has been approved. After that, applicants will need to pay a $100 fee before the license is issued and mailed to the applicant’s address.

The employment license is valid for 3 years from the date of issue and applicants can renew choose to renew the license after that.

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