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Moving an existing business to Singapore

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Pato
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Moving an existing business to Singapore

Postby Pato » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 1:47 pm

I've read through the helpful threads about the Entrepass and looked at the requirements on the official site, and I've unfortunately still got questions.

I have an established, mostly online business (incorporated as a US LLC in 2007) that I'd like to move to SG. I meet the requirements for $50k paid up capital and have intellectual property registered in the US. So on first glance it looks like I'd get the pass.

However, if I understand the new rules correctly, it's doubtful that I could renew the pass because I don't have plans to hire full-time people in Singapore.

My company provides training to corporations and governments, teaching them to use a process that I developed. I run workshops around the world and I sell online courses that I created. I have one part-time assistant who's based in Australia, and I hire project-based helpers in the locations where I give workshops.

I live outside the US now, and my current host country has no problem with me having a US firm, and they don't care whether I hire any locals. But it looks like Singapore would require me to set up a new, Singaporean business and hire myself.

1. Is that right? I'd need to create a new Singaporean firm and then hire myself?

2. If so, is that maneuver likely to succeed? I could certainly argue that I should be the (basically only) employee of the firm since I invented the model it's based on and I wrote the IP. In fact, maybe it would be too obvious that I should be the employee because it really is all me all the time -- it would be clear that I'm trying to disguise a one-person show.

Am I missing something major? Thanks.

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Postby beppi » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 4:00 pm

Singapore welcomes foreign businesses setting up shop here simply because they create local employment or other benefits for Singapore. You need to hire locally or show what else you give to Singapore. If it's just a ruse to get you residency here, it won't fly: This overpopulated island does not need more people just because they want to come here.

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Postby katbh » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 5:30 pm

Why can he not set up a Singapore branch of the company. Using a Singapore Company registration. Then, as he has a proven track record of a successful business, let the company sponsor him for an employment pass. I have personally helped someone do this her in the last 6 months - and with far less paid up capital and no track record.
Entrepass requires that you employ locals. But not just a straight employment pass.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 9:29 pm

There are several threads on starting a business without an Entrepass in both the Business and Careers forum. Search for "start a business" or something like that.

You can start the business with a track record, experience, and cash to tide you over to profitability.

Let me know if you cannot find the threads.

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Postby Pato » Wed, 05 Feb 2014 11:16 pm

Thanks for your replies. For future readers of this thread, the discussion below has some info on how people with experience can become employees of their own company.

ftopic95345.html

I wasn't planning to leech off Singapore. Where I live now, I consult for free with local startups, in addition to hiring local service providers, paying rent and taxes, keeping money in local banks, etc. The fact that I'm an experienced business owner gives me points to speed up permanent residency in my current location, which is obviously not Singapore.

I understand Singapore's reluctance to let more people in, since the place is already packed. I'll continue to investigate Singapore but other locations might be a better fit for me.

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Postby Pato » Thu, 06 Feb 2014 1:06 am

Again, for future readers: Another consideration for people like me (over 50, established business pulling a steady income from abroad, not likely to hire a ton of people): It looks like Malaysia would be happy to have you.

http://nomadcapitalist.com/2013/11/11/e ... a-program/

You might check out KL in addition to Singapore. I've heard mixed reviews but will be checking it out for myself in a couple of months.

For information on other Asian countries, the Tech in Asia site has some useful articles about the changing environment for foreign entrepreneurs throughout Asia:

http://www.techinasia.com/search-result ... eneur+visa

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Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 06 Feb 2014 1:49 am

Pato wrote:Thanks for your replies. For future readers of this thread, the discussion below has some info on how people with experience can become employees of their own company.

ftopic95345.html

I wasn't planning to leech off Singapore. Where I live now, I consult for free with local startups, in addition to hiring local service providers, paying rent and taxes, keeping money in local banks, etc. The fact that I'm an experienced business owner gives me points to speed up permanent residency in my current location, which is obviously not Singapore.

I understand Singapore's reluctance to let more people in, since the place is already packed. I'll continue to investigate Singapore but other locations might be a better fit for me.


Pato,

The problem is that many abusers have attempted a back door route to getting into the country, namely, starting a company, then having the company apply for an EP. Problem was that most didn't have the business skills, nor the required skills for their business, nor sufficient cash to profitability. The government started cracking down on these scams.

When MOM upped the Entrepass requirements such that no professional services types could ever make a go of it, I called and emailed MOM with the specific questions as to how a professional like a trader or a project manager could start a company.

The answer was that each application is rendered on its own merits, and that background, experience, previous success, and cash to keep the operation going would all be good indicators that a business might be approved.

Therefore, for all others before you (and you, too), I have recommended that they engage a firm to form a private limited and appoint a nominee director, who in turn, files the EP for you.

The EP would be filed manually so that you could attach what would essentially amount to a business plan that gives you a chance to demonstrate your qualifications and experience.

Quite a few others have gone this route with success, and Rivkin (I am NOT endorsing this company, merely using them as an example) offers a "package" deal to do exactly what I have just explained.

Cheers.


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