. Not so long ago, foreign entrepreneurs who wanted to register a company in Singapore and at the same time relocate to the country to operate their new business, preferred applying for the employment pass. Few overseas entrepreneurs who did not meet the minimum educational requirements of obtaining an employment pass in Singapore, had to apply for the entrepreneur pass instead. For years, the employment pass scheme was the most preferred form of work visa for overseas business owners. However, since 2010, things have changed considerably and as per the new rules introduced by the authorities in Singapore, foreign entrepreneurs will more likely have to apply for the entrepreneur pass instead of the employment pass.
Out of the several new rules introduced, some of the more important ones are as follows:
1) From now on, any foreigner who wishes to incorporate a company in Singapore and then relocate to the country immediately to operate their business must apply for the entrepreneur pass only. The foreign entrepreneur is eligible for the employment pass only if they wish to relocate after six months from the Singapore Company being incorporated.
2) The overseas entrepreneur is allowed to apply for the entrepreneur pass before they can proceed with company incorporation in Singapore. Once they have their approval in principle from the concerned authorities, they can go ahead with the company registration formalities.
3) Those entering Singapore via the entrepreneur pass scheme, must invest at least SGD 50,000 as paid up capital in their new Singapore Company.
4) If the foreign entrepreneur holds less than 30% ownership or shares in the new Singapore Company, they are not eligible to apply for the entrepreneur pass. In such cases, they can apply for the employment pass as a standard employee of the company and not as an owner.
5) The entrepreneur must submit a business plan in the prescribed format by the concerned authorities in Singapore. The proposed business in Singapore should be truly entrepreneurial in nature and must include growth pospects in the country and how it can create jobs for local residents.
Apart from the above, there are other rules and regulations as well which an entrepreneur pass applicant must strictly follow. Of course it should be noted that if an entrepreneur wishes to relocate to Singapore after six months from the company incorporation date, they can then apply for the employment pass as well. Until then, they need to manage their Singapore Company from overseas and the company must have a local resident director in that period.