Starting an employment agency in Singapore

Starting an employment agency in Singapore

Before starting an employment agency, you need to understand well what it is? What are its setup key facts and requirements? Do we need a license for opening an employment agency in Singapore? Here we will discuss everything in detail and clear all your doubts/questions to start your employment agency in Singapore.

What is an employment agency?

An employment agency acts as a middle party that connects employees to employers. These agencies help companies by making their process of recruitment and staff hiring convenient. They promise to provide candidates and freshly graduates with better career choices.

An employment agency in Singapore will hire locals and foreign candidates to fit your job description perfectly.

Hiring a perfect candidate for your company is a hectic job as it requires a lot of time and energy. This is where the employment agencies come in to rescue you. They understand your requirements and look for the most suitable candidate for you.

Who needs an employment agency license?

The answer to this question is simple any organization involved in activities of an employment agency must get their license. It doesn't matter your company belongs from Singapore or not; if you are part of any of the following activities, then having an employment agency license is compulsory.

Activities of an employment agency

  • Gathering resumes of candidates looking for jobs.
  • Interacting with the candidate regarding their job application.
  • Collecting and submitting work visa applications of candidates to authorities.
  • Make it easier for job seekers or a candidate with getting the job.

Who doesn't require an employment agency license?

An agency or organization is exempted from requiring a license when

  • Not actively taking part in providing job to candidates
  • It doesn't connect employees to employers
  • Hire staff solely for their company or business
  • Externalize their staff to customers office
  • Courier service providers who play a role in job placement activities
  • Universities and other educational institutes
  • Online or web-based job portals

Types of license

The type of license an employment agency in Singapore needs depends upon the type of candidate profile you deal with. It can either be

  • Comprehensive license – All type of workers
  • Comprehensive license – Local workers
  • Comprehensive license – workers except for foreign domestic worker
  • Select licenses – workers having a monthly salary of more than $4,500

The validity of a license is for three years, after which it can be renewed.

Employment agency setup key facts and requirements

Like any other business employment agency also has some setup key facts and requirements that needs to be fulfilled. Here we will discuss those requirements that will help you in establishing your own recruitment business.

Select niche for your company & registrations

Selecting a niche is a crucial step it determines what recruitment activities your company be performing. Think about your expertise and knowledge you excel at; this will help you select the market where you will provide your services. Whether you want t help fresh graduates in getting their dream jobs or seniors? It's always wiser to keep your competitors in mind. Once it is sorted, go on setting up your company. You can always get guidelines on how to get Singapore company registration.

Setup a business office & manage the budget.

The second step is to look for space to build your office, a space of your own where your team can work efficiently to find the perfect job for employees.

Like other business startups, building an employment agency doesn't cost much, but it is still advisable to check your budget. You can always seek a bit of financial advice.

Apply for employment agency license

The most significant for building a Singapore I employment agency is to get it licensed. The license will be granted to legal companies rather than individual persons.

Pay security deposit

The security deposit pay depends on the type of license you are interested in getting.

  • Comprehensive license – the amount of S$ 60,000 is paid as a security deposit.
  • Security deposit – the amount of S$20,000 is paid as a security deposit.

Certification of employment agency personnel

All members, i.e., permanent or contract-based or even appointment holders working in an employment agency, must be certified. They will be certified under the certification of employment intermediates (CEI) course.

This certification is required before getting a license for an employment agency.

The course hours for key appointment holders, i.e., CEO, CFO, or general managers, will be 40 hours. At the same time, the course hours for others employees will be of 32 hours.


  • The certification of all key appointment holders is necessary despite the fact they perform employment agency work or not.
  • Other personnel only need a certification if they are into performing activities of an employment agency.

Registration of employment agency personnel

All the members of the employment agency, including the key appointment holders and personnel involved in activities of Singapore employment pass, must be registered. They will register under the Singapore agency of Manpower who will provide them with a registration card.


  • An employee can only work for one employment agency at a time.
  • A registration fee of S$160 is payable, and the fee is non-refundable
  • Registration of one employee can not be transferred to another employee.
  • If an employee wants to shift to another agency, he/she must first de-register himself/herself and apply for registration under a new agency.

Eligibility criteria for employment agency personnel

Singapore employment agency

The eligibility criteria for becoming employment agency Singapore personnel is:

  • Citizen or permanent resident of Singapore
  • If a foreigner, a Valid visa for work in Singapore is required
  • No bankruptcy and court convictions

Employment agency license application procedure

Step by step procedure Singapore employment pass is as follows.

Submission of application form

The process starts with submitting an application form to the Singapore agency of Manpower and a license application fee. The processing time for the application is almost 1-3 weeks, after which you will be notified via mail. If your application gets approved, an in-principle-approval (IPA) letter will be attached. Once you receive the letter following documents are required for completion of the process.

A security bond

For Banker's Guarantee, obtain a security bond from a bank in Singapore. To get a banker's Guarantee open a fixed deposit (FD) account for the stated amount. The Banker's Guarantee must cover up to 15 months.


  1. A copy of your Singapore citizen ID card or employment pass.
  2. Latest passport size picture.
  3. Copy of your IPA letter.
  4. Copy of company's business profile from ACRA
  5. Approval letter copy from the relevant authority if you are operating under the Home Office scheme
  6. Copy of certificate that you got from Employment Intermediaries (CEI) course
  7. Complete checklist form

Apart from these documents, attach additional documents that are requested in your In-Principle-Approval letter.

Once all the required documents are submitted, you will receive an email stating your license approval within seven days. After which, you will have to submit a fee of S$100 for the issuance of the license. When The license is issued, it will then be mailed to your address as written in the original application.

Advantages of recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies offer countless benefits; let's take a look at them briefly.

Perfect job finders

These agencies are entirely in contact with all the companies, so they know all the available job vacancies. So they will not only look for the best job for you, but you can always ask them about your queries regarding CV or interview questions.

Better & faster hiring

An employment agency makes the process of hiring easy, you need to tell them about the kind of candidate you are looking for, and in no time, they will choose the appropriate, skilled candidate for you.

Similarly, if you are a candidate looking for a job, it's good to have someone communicate with the employer on your behalf.

Specialist knowledge

Recruitment agencies are well-aware of the current job market, and they will guide you in achieving your recruitment needs.

Every recruitment agency has expert and qualified professionals who will do their best to turn your dreams into reality.

Temporary recruitment

Mainly recruitment agencies offer temporary jobs so if you are not looking for a permanent job; then a recruitment agency brings the best solution for you. And in the case of employers, this is also beneficial to hire candidates temporarily on busier times.