With its business-friendly climate, Singapore is the go-to destination for businesses that wish to set a footing or expand in Asia. Known for its quick and efficient procedures in company incorporation, Singapore offers the Entrepreneur Pass (also known as EntrePass), a visa for foreign business owners who wish to set up business in the country.
Doing Business In Singapore
The EntrePass is part of Singapore’s plan to attract talent. Application for the EntrePass is done before company incorporation, and approval takes about six to eight weeks. An EntrePass is processed six months prior to or after company incorporation. The Singapore company setup should have been completed 30 days after approval of the visa.
While the EntrePass is sufficient for a business owners to apply for a Singapore company incorporation, it has its limitations:
- Not all businesses are eligible – Although the EntrePass is open to all nationalities, certain businesses like travel and staffing agencies are not qualified for the visa. Same thing goes for some entertainment ventures like bars, karaoke lounges and night clubs; practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and foot reflexology; selected food businesses like hawker centers and coffee shops; and geomancy businesses.
- Doesn’t allow for immediate processing of Dependent’s pass – EntrePass holder can apply for Dependents’ pass only after his or her first visa renewal, which is dependent on certain criteria. The EP holder should have spent at least SGD150,000 on his or her business and must have opened at least four local job positions.
- Limited to a type of company – The company to be registered should be a private limited company and not sole proprietorship or partnership. Moreover, the applicant should own at least 30% shares in the company
- Visa may only be valid for 1 year – The renewal of the EntrePass visa depends largely on the progress of the business, the minimum number of local workers and total business expenditure.
A Better Way To Do Business
For entrepreneurs who are looking into growing a business in Singapore, applying for Permanent Residency (PR) may be more practical.
A Permanent Residency visa allows foreign entrepreneurs to stay in Singapore for much longer. The validity of a PR visa is 5 years. Moreover, entrepreneurs can leave or re-enter the country without having to apply for separate visas for travel or work.
A Permanent Resident visa has numerous benefits that will allow foreign entrepreneurs to enjoy their stay and grow their businesses in Singapore.
Aside from being less restrictive in terms of stay in the country, a Permanent Residency in Singapore allows the holder to enjoy some of the benefits that locals enjoy:
- Lower public hospital and outpatient clinic charges
- Eligibility to purchase properties from the resale market (public housing and other land properties)
- Inclusion in the Central Provident Fund
- Local resident tax classification
- Voluntary participation in the Supplementary Retirement Scheme
- Possibility of a Singapore citizenship after two years
To apply for a Permanent Resident visa, the foreign entrepreneur must submit application Form 4A and supporting documents to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). Processing of applications usually takes three months.
Aside from having a longer stay, business owners who have successfully qualified for Permanent Residency can enjoy the incentives normally given to local residents only. Moreover, the PR visa will allow foreign entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Singapore without plenty of restrictions.
Looking to expand or start a business in Singapore? Corporate Services helps entrepreneurs with Singapore company setup, accounting, and taxation. Schedule an appointment today with our well-credentialed professionals to discuss your needs.