Singapore is a thriving hub for entrepreneurs and businesses. It boasts a strong economy, political stability, and a well-developed infrastructure, making it an attractive destination for those looking to start a business in Asia. One of the key routes to establish a business presence in Singapore is through the Singapore Employment Pass (EP). In this blog, we’ll explore the various aspects of the Singapore Employment Pass for entrepreneurs and how it can help you set up and grow your business in this dynamic city-state.
Understanding the Singapore Employment Pass (EP)
The Singapore Employment Pass is a work visa that allows foreign professionals, managers, and entrepreneurs to live and work in Singapore. It is a vital tool for entrepreneurs looking to set up and manage their businesses within the city. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
Eligibility: To be eligible for an Employment Pass, you should have a job offer from a Singaporean employer or, in the case of an employment pass for entrepreneurs, be planning to set up and run a business in Singapore. You also need to meet the salary requirements set as per your age and get 40 points as per the Complementarity Assessment Framework (COMPASS).
There are two primary avenues for an employment pass for entrepreneurs to initiate or manage a business in Singapore:
Establishing a New Company:
- To embark on this path, you first need to register a company in Singapore.
- Subsequently, you can apply for an Employment Pass (EP) under your newly established company.
- Once your EP application is approved, you have the option to either relocate to Singapore or leave your current employment in the country to begin working for your new company, effectively acting as its director.
- During this transition, you will need to adhere to the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority’s (ACRA) requirement of having a local resident director. Until you fulfil this requirement, you must either engage a nominee director or enlist a Singaporean citizen or permanent resident (PR) as the company’s director.
Already an EP Holder:
If you are already holding an EP tied to a specific Singaporean company and you wish to establish a new company, you must take the following steps:
- When setting up the new company, you will be required to appoint a local director.
- Should you intend to act as the local director for your new venture, you must secure a Letter of Consent (LOC) from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), in addition to obtaining approval from your current employer.
These two options allow EP holders to engage in entrepreneurial activities in Singapore while adhering to regulatory and employment constraints.
Foreign entrepreneurs can also obtain an EntrePass, which is tailored to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to establish and operate their companies in Singapore. To qualify for an EntrePass, your business must be registered as a private limited company, and you must meet certain investment and business requirements.
Benefits of the Singapore Employment Pass for Entrepreneurs
Business Flexibility: The Employment Pass gives you the flexibility to start and operate a business in Singapore. It also enables you to be actively involved in the management and decision-making of your company.
Access to Singapore’s Ecosystem: Singapore offers a robust ecosystem for businesses. As an entrepreneur with an Employment Pass, you’ll have access to world-class infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and a strategic location that connects you to other key Asian markets.
Permanent Residency Path: Holding an Employment Pass can be a step towards securing permanent residency in Singapore. If your business is successful and you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) in the country.
Quality of Life: Singapore is renowned for its high quality of life, safety, healthcare, and education. Obtaining an Employment Pass can allow you to enjoy these benefits for yourself and your family.
Global Recognition: Singapore is seen as a global business hub, and having an Employment Pass can enhance your business’s credibility and global recognition.
To apply for an Employment Pass for entrepreneurs, you’ll need to follow these general steps:
- Incorporate Your Company: Register your business with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA).
- Prepare Documents: Gather all necessary documents, including a business plan, financial statements, and any other required paperwork.
- Appoint a Nominee Director: As you can’t work in Singapore until you have your work pass, you will need to appoint a nominee director to fulfil the Companies Act requirement of having at least one director who is a resident of Singapore.
- Apply for the Employment Pass: Submit your application through the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) website. The processing time may vary, but it typically takes 6-8 weeks.
- Notification of Approval: If your application is successful, you will receive an In-Principle Approval (IPA) letter.
- Collect Your Pass: Once you have the IPA letter, you can collect your Employment Pass in Singapore.
The Singapore Employment Pass for entrepreneurs is a fantastic opportunity for individuals looking to establish and manage businesses in the Lion City. Singapore’s pro-business environment, stable economy, and strategic location in Asia make it a desirable destination for entrepreneurs from around the world. With the right approach and a solid business plan, you can leverage the Employment Pass to unlock the potential of your entrepreneurial journey in Singapore. It’s an opportunity to be part of a thriving ecosystem, tap into global markets, and enjoy the many benefits of living and working in one of the world’s most dynamic cities.
In this process, appointing an immigration agency can be a wise decision. These experts are well-versed in Singapore’s immigration laws and procedures. They can guide you through the application process, ensuring that all your documents are in order, and provide valuable insights into meeting the eligibility criteria. Their expertise can streamline the application process, reduce the likelihood of errors, and increase your chances of successfully obtaining the Employment Pass you need to start and grow your business in the Lion City. With their assistance, you can navigate the complexities of the system more smoothly and focus your energy on building the business of your dreams in Singapore.