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What is the Foreign Worker Levy?

What is the FWL?

The Foreign Worker Levy (FWL), commonly known as “levy”, is a pricing mechanism to regulate the number of foreign workers in Singapore. As an employer, you do not have to pay Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions for your foreign workers. However, you must pay a monthly levy for Work Permit and S Pass holders via General Interbank Recurring Order (GIRO).

The levy you pay generally depends on two factors:

  1. The worker’s qualifications.
  2. The number of Work Permit or S Pass holders hired.

Find out the levy requirements by sector:

When and how to pay the levy

You must pay the levy via General Interbank Recurring Order ().

If you don’t have a GIRO account, apply for one using the GIRO application form. We will notify you of the outcome and start date of your GIRO deduction by post within one month.

You can check the status using Check and pay levy, two weeks after submitting the application.

After GIRO is approvedThe levy for each month will be deducted from your bank account on the 17th of the following month (or the next working day if it falls on a weekend or public holiday).You should maintain enough funds in your account before the deduction date. If the GIRO deduction is unsuccessful, your bank may charge you a failed transaction fee.
If you need to pay levy using other methodsYou must pay the levy for each month by the 14th of the following month.Note: It takes longer for us to process your payment when you pay using other methods.

Penalties for not paying levy

If you don’t pay the full levy on time, you may face the following penalties:

  • You’ll be charged a late payment penalty of 2% per month or $20, whichever is higher. Your total late payment penalty will be capped at 30% of the outstanding levy.
  • Your existing Work Permits will be cancelled.
  • You won’t be allowed to apply for or issue Work Permits, or renew existing Work Permits.
  • You may face legal action to recover the unpaid levy.
  • If you, your partners or directors head other companies, these companies may not be allowed to apply for Work Permits.

When you can get a levy waiver

You can apply for a levy waiver only if your foreign worker:

  • Is on overseas leave for at least 7 consecutive days.
    Capped at 60 calendar days per calendar year.
  • Is on hospitalisation leave issued by Singapore hospitals.
    Capped at 60 calendar days per calendar year.
  • Does not return to Singapore after overseas leave.
  • Is under police custody or is housed at the embassy.
  • Passed away.
  • Has become a Singapore permanent resident.
  • Is in the harbour-craft industry and is on board a vessel leaving Singapore’s port for at least 3 consecutive days.
  • Is a Malaysian and is serving National Service in his home country (usually for 3 months).