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To take effect from 1 September 2023, businesses under Service and Manufacturing sectors will be allowed to hire Work Permit holders from NTS countries for specific occupations in the NTS occupation List.

What is NTS Occupation List?

Currently, companies are only allowed to hire Work Permit holders from the below countries:

  • Malaysia
  • People’s Republic of China (PRC)
  • North Asian sources (NAS)
    • Hong Kong (HKSAR passport)
    • Macau
    • South Korea
    • Taiwan

In the future, companies will be able to hire Work Permit holders from NTS countries for specific occupations.

NTS Occupation List

The NTS Occupation List will consists of positions like:

  • Cooks in Indian restaurants
  • Workers in food processing firms, e.g. vegetable picker, condiments & sauce makers
    • Excludes:
      • Food processing supervisors and general foremen
      • Other food and beverage jobs like tasters, graders, bakers, pastry-cooks and confectionery makers
  • Workers in manufacturing firms, e.g. general manufacturers, precision/transport engineering, automotive firms
    • Working as:
      • Sheet metal workers
      • Welders and flame cutters
      • Metal moulders and coremakers
      • Riggers and cable splicers
      • Structural metal repairers and erectors


Companies must meet all of the below requirements:

  • Subject to a quota for NTS Work Permit holders in the NTS Occupation List. NTS Work Permit holders must be higher-skilled (i.e. meet the R1 criteria).
  • Work Permit holders must only perform the occupation stated on their work permit.

When will it be introduced:

The NTS Occupation List will begin to take effect from 1 September 2023, along with the first increase of S-Pass qualifying salary for renewals.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will review the list from time to time. More details will be provided as the date gets closer.