FAQ ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS (FOR FOREIGNERS SETTING UP COMPANIES IN SINGAPORE)
Singapore's Work Pass framework are as follows:-
- Work Permit
- S Pass
- Employment Pass
- Entrepreneur Pass
- Personalised Employment Pass
Unskilled or semi-skilled foreign workers pursing employment in Singapore are required to obtain Work Permits in accordance with the Employment of Foreign Workers Act. The Work Permit (WP) is for foreigners who:- Want to work in Singapore; and • Earn a monthly basic salary of not more than $2,000. • Who are from an approved source country (depending on the sector which the worker is going to be employed in). A prospective employer must first apply to the Controller of Work Passes for a WP before employing a foreign worker. All foreign workers must be at least 18 years old at the time of the WP application.
The S Pass was created to bridge the gap between the Employment Pass and the Work Permit. S pass applications are evaluated on a points system. The evaluation system contains four main categories, namely, salary, educational qualifications, number of years of working experience and job type. Salary is a critically important factor for S pass qualification: a foreign national's monthly wage cannot be below S$2,200. S pass holders who earn more than S$4,000 may apply for dependant pass for their family members (spouse and unmarried children below 21 years).
Foreign highly skilled professionals, managers, executives, specialists or entrepreneurs who wish to work in Singapore need an Employment Pass to commence employment. The subtypes of employment passes (P1, P2 and Q1) are defined by the salary level, skills and qualifications of the foreign nationals. Singapore's Work Pass Framework sets apart P1, P2 and Q1 employment passes. The P Pass is intended for foreign nationals who hold acceptable degrees, professional qualifications or specialist skills and are seeking professional, administrative, executive or managerial jobs. A P1 Pass is issued if the applicant's monthly base salary is more than S$8,000 and a P2 pass is issued if the applicant's monthly base salary is S$4,500 to S$8,000. A Q1 Pass is issued to foreign nationals whose monthly basic salary is more than S$3,000 and who possess acceptable degrees, professional qualifications or specialist skills. The employment pass is tied to specific employer. Any change of employer requires a fresh application. The processing time for employment pass application takes about 5 weeks. Processing time may take longer during peak periods or when additional information is required. It has to be renewed upon the expiry of the approved period. It is important to note that Singapore law obliges the majority of pass holders of passes that no longer meet eligibility criteria to formally cancel them by surrendering the passes to the appropriate authority.
The Entrepreneur Pass (EntrePass) is a form of work pass for owners of newly incorporated Singapore companies (company must not be older than 6 months) or for a company to be incorporated in Singapore and is for those who wish to relocate to Singapore to operate their new business.
Validity: An EntrePass is initially issued for 1 year and is renewable after one year as long as the business remains viable.
Eligibility: Business owners who wish to incorporate a new company or have recently incorporated a company that is less than six months old. The business must fulfill one of the “innovativeness” conditions that were introduced in September 2013.
Quota System: There is no official quota system for EntrePass. Permanent Residence Eligibility: Entrepreneur Pass holders are eligible to apply for PR in due course.
Personalised Employment Pass (PEP)
This is a relatively new form of pass and foreigners who wish to work in Singapore may be eligible for the PEP. This is a special type of Employment Pass issued to top tier individuals based on their merits. This ensures that the PEP remains a premium pass for top-tier foreign talent and is in line with recent moves to raise the quality of Employment Pass holders. The PEP is independent of any employer; and hence the PEP pass holder can switch employers without affecting the status of the pass, and is also entitled to stay in Singapore for up to 6 months in between jobs and evaluate opportunities. With effect of 1 December 2012, the PEP is issued for a period of 3 years (previously 5 years), and is not renewable. The qualifying salary threshold has also been increased from $34,000 per annum to S$144,000 per annum. Availability of PEP to P1 Pass holders who earn a fixed monthly salary of at least $12,000 and overseas-based foreign professionals whose last drawn fixed monthly salary was at least $18,000. New PEP holders can bring in their parents, spouses and children The processing time for PEP application takes about 5 weeks. Processing time may take longer during peak periods or when additional information is required. Maximum unemployment period for PEP holder cannot exceed six continuous months. The PEP holder is not allowed to start his/her own business or engage in any entrepreneurial activities.
The EntrePass is a form of Employment Pass for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to start business and relocate to Singapore. Application for EntrePass is usually done prior to incorporating a company in Singapore. It can also be done within 6 months of incorporation. Once the pass is approved, the company must be incorporated within 30 days of the in-principle approval letter. If the EntrePass application is rejected, you are not obliged to set up a Singapore company. The EntrePass application is vetted by both Ministry of Manpower and Spring Singapore. The processing of EntrePass takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Approval is granted for one and can be renewed upon expiry having met the qualifying criteria. The applicant must be sponsored by a well-established Singapore registered company or alternatively the applicant can furnish a Banker’s guarantee of S$3,000 once the application is approved.
A comprehensive business plan of not more than 10 pages detailing the following must be submitted with the application:-
Business idea – a short, self-explanatory summary covering the proposed business concept;
Product/service – the product and service offering;
Market analysis – the target market in terms of key customers, competition and market growth potential;
Market plan – how the product/service will be marketed or distributed;
Operation plan – resources needed to run the business;
Financial projections – projected sales and net profit before tax for three years and breakeven point;
Management team – key drivers of the business; and
Supporting documents – e.g. licensing agreements, product certifications, endorsements etc.
Your EntrePass allows you to bring your immediate family (spouse and unmarried children below 21 years) to Singapore to live with you only if you are granted P1 or P2 status
Additional requirements for EntrePass
With effect from September 2013, the new revisions to EntrePass applications requires applicants to fulfill the following conditions in additional to the already existing requirements:-
The applicant must either:
Receive funding or investment (strictly monetary funding of minimum of S$100,000) from a recognised third-party venture capitalist or business angel who is accredited by a Singapore government agency; Hold an Intellectual Property (IP) recognised by an approved national IP institution; or Have research collaboration with a research institution recognised by Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), or institutes of higher learning in Singapore; or Is an incubate at a recognised incubator supported by SPRING Singapore or National Research Foundation, Media Development Authority etc.
After six months of receiving the EntrePass, the applicant must submit all of the following to Ministry of Manpower via online submission:
Latest Company Profile from ACRA; Tenancy contract / proof of operating address; and Employees’ CPF statements.
The new revisions make it much harder to qualify for the EntrePass and will be granted to only those who meet the above requirements. The current criteria for renewal applications will also be amended in favour of a more progressive framework. The intention is to ensure that EntrePass holders are actively contributing to Singapore and is intended to raise the quality bar for foreign entrepreneurs who wish to set up businesses in Singapore.
For an EntrePass the educational qualification is of little consideration while the applicant is assessed on the credibility of his proposed Business Plan and his business experience. Key factors are as follows:
- Entrepreneurial track record
- The credibility of your business idea and the business plan
- Viability of the business plan
- Efficacy of the management team
- Salary expectations (adequate to cover living costs)
- Minimum paid-up capital of S$50,000 (substantiated with a company bank statement from a Singapore based bank)
- Applicant to hold at least 30% of shares in the company
- Current citizenship
- How Singapore will benefit from your business
- Number of staffs you will be employing, etc.
Thus, a well prepared (which includes the above factors) Business Plan and the accompanying testimonials will play a significant role when officials determine the outcome of the application. There is no stipulation on the minimum capital injections or minimum turnover. No local Director or Shareholder is required to form your Company in Singapore, if your application is successful.
The EntrePass renewal form will be sent to the employer about three months before the pass expires. Please complete the renewal form and mail it to MOM Work Pass Division at least two months before the pass expires.
Documents required for renewal of Pass
These documents are required for EntrePass renewal application:
- Latest audited accounts;
- Central Provident Fund statements for the employees;
- Highest educational certificates of employees;
- Tenancy agreements; and
- Latest company registration information from the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority
The renewal application will be rejected if the above documents are not submitted to MOM.
The following optional documents can be submitted in support of the renewal application: Corporate bank statements for the past three months; Referral letters from customers; and Recent invoices issued/contracts awarded.
To qualify for renewal, the business venture has to be conducted based on the original declared business plans. It is a requirement to inform MOM if there are any changes that deviate from the original declared business plans. For all successful EntrePass applicants who submitted their applications from 1 September 2013 onwards, their renewals will be assessed based on the following criteria:
Progressive Renewal Criteria Framework
|No. of years after award of EntrePass||No. of local jobs created*||Minimum Total** Business Spending||Employment Pass (EP) Status|
Each newly issued and renewed EntrePass will be valid for a period of up to one year.
* Local jobs created refers to full-time employees (Singaporeans and Permanent Residents) employed by the company under a contract of service who have worked for at least three calendar months, and are receiving their monthly salary on time as well as CPF contributions similar to the industry norm. Only local workers paid at the prevailing salary threshold equivalent for full-time employment (existing salary equivalent for full-time employment is $1,000) would be considered full-time employees.
** Total Business Spending (TBS) = [Total Operating Expenses – (Royalties/Franchise Fees/Know How Fees to Overseas Companies + Work Subcontracted to Overseas Companies + Remuneration to Applicant & Immediate Family)]
Note: For existing EntrePass holders who applied for EntrePass before 1 September 2013, they must meet the progressive renewal criteria from 1September 2014 onwards. For more details,
It will take at least five weeks to process a renewal application. Processing time might take slightly longer during peak periods or when additional information is required from the various economic agencies. The outcome of the application will be sent to the EntrePass holder.
The Employment Pass (“EP”) comes with a valid stay visa for up to two years. The immediate family of the applicant will also be provided with a Dependent Pass to live, work and study in Singapore.
The Employment Pass is approved using the following criteria, based on a point system: Declared Salary of the applicant Age, Position, Educational Qualifications, Skills, Work Experience, State of the company.
The outcome of the application under EP is obtained within a shorter period of time and the probability for approval is higher compared to an Entrepass application. However, while incorporating a company a local Nominee Director is a prerequisite until the application is approved.
Dependant pass holders do not have an automatic right to work in Singapore. They must apply for a work pass independently. The employing company is required to submit the Letter of Consent application form to the Work Pass Division of the Ministry of Manpower.
We do not give any guarantees. All approvals or rejection are made by government authorities based on factors such as listed above and we don't make any false promises. However, if the application has all the above discussed factors, the chances of approval are excellent.
Yes, we will be able to assist with PR application. The most common way to obtain PR in Singapore is through the Professional, Technical Personnel and Skilled Worker scheme. If you are a holder of the Employment Pass, EntrePass or S Pass, you and your spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) are eligible to apply for permanent residence. The Global Investors Program (GIP) is administered by the Singapore Economic Development Board to bring direct foreign investment into Singapore. Under this scheme, there are two options that an investor can choose. First option is that an investor can either invest S$2.5 million in a new business start-up or expansion of an existing business operation. The second option is that the investor can invest S$2.5 million in one or more GIP-approved funds (up to a maximum of 3 funds). The investor is also required to maintain the investments for a minimum period of 5 years commencing from the date of final approval of Permanent Residency. The Foreign Artist Talent Schemeis administered by the National Arts Council and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore to attract foreign artists with exceptional talents to move in to Singapore. For more information on PR application procedures, do drop us and email and we will revert to your accordingly.