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Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

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MichaelLiaw
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Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby MichaelLiaw » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:41 am

Hi all,

I have been wondering for quite some time, is it legal for an Employment Pass holder to work on CPA Marketing?

I remember hearing that Employment Pass holder can only earn income from the company he/she is registered to. However, the money source of CPA Marketing is most likely outside of Singapore which shouldn't be regulated by MoM or ICA right?

Could anyone please advise me ont his?

Thank you in advance for your inputs.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby Strong Eagle » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:46 am

Technically, you are only supposed to be working for a single Singapore company. Ethically, you need to be sure that the company you are working for would allow you to moonlight elsewhere... many companies prohibit this.

As a practical matter, if you are being paid from a non Singapore company, and especially if you are being paid into an overseas bank account, then you would be under the radar. Is it legal? Hard to say... MoM rules and regulations are definitely oriented towards working for more than one Singapore company.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby MichaelLiaw » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 1:15 pm

Thank you for the quick reply.

So you're saying if I get my money transferred into my Singapore bank account, I might still get into trouble?

My doubts in this is that, if I have a house in Indonesia for rent, and I want the rent money to be transferred to my Singapore bank account, it is still another source of income right? The thing is, I understand that Singapore wants to regulate the money circulating within Singapore. But money sourced from other countries should be no problem if it's legal, IMO.

Also, if my company allows moonlighting as long as it is not done during my office hours or when I'm required to work, then it should be ok to do CPA Marketing after working hours right?

I don't get what do you mean by saying MoM regulations are toward working for more than one Singapore companies. Can you explain more about it?

Thank you.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 7:22 pm

I don't think Strong Eagle wrote that at all.

Rental income is not employment income -- income from work, i.e. payment for the provision of your personal services, your labor. Singapore has immigration-related restrictions on what work you can perform for whom. Note that work is where you perform it, not how long the wire (or wireless connection) is between you and your employer/payor. So when you are physically in Singapore, then that's where you are working, and Singapore's immigration rules apply. (Tax rules can mean that income from work performed outside Singapore might be taxable in Singapore if you're a resident of Singapore, but that's a separate issue.) It also doesn't matter into which bank account or mailbox the income is received, at least for the immigration rules.

Now, that said, there are some immigration statuses that allow work for more than one employer, i.e. that allow "moonlighting." As a notable example, the Personalised Employment Pass (PEP) allows working for more than one employer (as long as the employers are OK with that of course). However, the PEP does not allow self-employment -- freelancing, starting your own business, etc.

Note that there is no particular restriction on performing work outside Singapore. For example, you can be an Employment Pass holder in Singapore and work for a single employer while in Singapore, but you can also travel to another country, work a couple weeks there for another employer (as long as you have work permission there) -- take a "working holiday" for example -- and then return to Singapore as long as your pass is still valid. If your employer in Singapore is OK with that, no problem. (Your pass might not be valid if you've been absent for too long; your employer cannot hold a pass "open" if you're not actually still their employee in a real sense, even if they're paying you.)

Foreign Domestic Workers (and their employers) frequently get into trouble here. As with most foreign worker statuses, FDWs only have permission to work for their single household. MoM's rules do not allow them to be "loaned out" to other households, or to clean another house during their day off, or otherwise take second jobs, whether paid or not. There are a few reasons such rules exist. One reason is that FDWs could be abused by their employers, so the rules are at least partly to protect them -- to make sure they have (and take) their minimum rest days, that they're paid fairly, etc. Another major reason, especially higher up the income ladder (among Employment Pass holders for example), is to make sure that foreign workers are not competing with Singaporeans and PRs. The government only wants foreign workers to fill gaps in the labor market that they know about and approve according to their public policy objectives, not to take second jobs that haven't been approved that could potentially result in undesired competition. If there's work you could perform while in Singapore for some employer, no matter where the employer is incorporated, that's still work a Singaporean or PR could also do since they're also physically present in Singapore. Also, income from such second jobs would tend to depress the wages paid for approved employment -- foreign workers would be receiving money on the side and thus would be willing to accept lower compensation for their authorized employment -- and that too would distort the labor market and tend to depress wages among Singaporeans and PRs.

I don't think there's any ambiguity here, by the way. But if you're confused and don't know if you can perform a certain task under your particular work permission in Singapore, just ask MoM. They'll tell you what the rules are in this area, and they're pretty good about answering their phone calls and e-mails. And again please note that tax rules are separate, even if you are working illegally. It is possible to violate one set of laws (immigration and work permission), another set of laws (tax), both, or neither.

Money transfer is pretty simple and another separate issue. If the funds are from legal sources, then I don't know of any restrictions as long as you're using the banking system (or MAS-approved alternatives). Carrying cash or cash equivalents across the border in sufficiently large quantities -- a very stupid thing to do just for safety reasons, in my opinion -- is also permitted but requires making a customs declaration in Singapore and usually also in the other country or countries on the travel itinerary.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby x9200 » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 7:38 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:Note that work is where you perform it, not how long the wire (or wireless connection) is between you and your employer/payor. So when you are physically in Singapore, then that's where you are working, and Singapore's immigration rules apply. (Tax rules can mean that income from work performed outside Singapore might be taxable in Singapore if you're a resident of Singapore, but that's a separate issue.) It also doesn't matter into which bank account or mailbox the income is received, at least for the immigration rules.

The work pass related regulations are to protect the local job market and I don't see working remotely from Singapore having any impact on the Singapore job market.

It is a different thing for the taxes: while working here he uses local infrastructure and enjoys other benefits often allowed because of the taxes being paid, so it makes sense such income to be taxable.

I am not saying it is that or this way, but there should be some logic in it.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby BBCWatcher » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 8:00 pm

x9200 wrote:The work pass related regulations are to protect the local job market and I don't see working remotely from Singapore having any impact on the Singapore job market.

Really? I don't think it requires much imagination to understand and appreciate such effects on Singapore's labor market. Every moonlighting FDW cleaning somebody else's house for four hours once per week is taking a job (and income) from a part-time Singaporean or PR who could also earn a bit of extra income, at a higher wage rate no doubt, cleaning that same house. A stay-at-home Singaporean mom who wants to earn a bit more income doing part-time cleaning while her child is at school, for example. This is actually happening, a lot, and it's a genuine problem. Well, then take that example to the next logical step. Exactly the same is true with, say, providing customer service over the telephone to overseas customers. Singaporeans and PRs can do that work, too! If you're providing unauthorized "remote" work, you're competing against Singaporeans and PRs -- it's very simple. Whether you're pressing buttons on a computer to execute stock trades, talking on the telephone, or whatever. Competition is competition.

I'm pretty darn sure the guy I see on CNBC based in Singapore who discusses the Asian markets for CNBC viewers around the world has work permission in Singapore (or citizenship, or PR status). Everything he does is "working remotely" -- the only real reason he's physically in Singapore is so CNBC can plaster "Live from Singapore" on their broadcast feed when they cut over to his segments -- but of course he's operating within Singapore's local labor market and competes with others on that basis.

However, no matter how much imagination we each have, just ask MoM. Tell them what activity you are interested in undertaking, before you undertake it, and MoM will tell you whether your pass allows or does not allow that activity. They're really quite friendly and helpful in my experience, at least in that respect.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby x9200 » Wed, 03 Feb 2016 9:51 pm

I don't know man, perhaps your imagination is far superior than mine, but I am pretty sure comparing cleaning of houses in SG where the employer is a local employer, with doing a job for a company in the UK, or US sounds like a complete nonsense. Beside the fact that most Singaporeans will look for a local employment there is also a factor of the market size, both the competing manpower located outside Singapore, and the number of positions available as compared to the rather small SG domestic market of people willing to do the job from here. I am very sure the impact is near zero.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby MichaelLiaw » Thu, 04 Feb 2016 8:36 am

Thanks guys for your inputs.

However, the answers are getting out of topic. CPA Marketing is basically helping companies overseas to advertise and get emails or phone numbers or get people to fill in survey for them.

I am not going to go overseas physically and take up another job or become FDW.

So the plan is to help companies advertise, get them leads and details, get paid to overseas bank, and then transfer it to Singapore or take it by cash in small amounts.

The question is, is it okay for me to do that outside my working hours? That's it. Thanks again for your answers, though.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby x9200 » Thu, 04 Feb 2016 9:17 am

I think for that part I may agree with BBCW - you want to be sure, ask MOM. Common sense is not always what the law is built upon so unless you willing to take the risk (probably very minimal anyway), better ask at the source.

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Re: RE: Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby ecureilx » Thu, 04 Feb 2016 10:10 am

MichaelLiaw wrote:The question is, is it okay for me to do that outside my working hours? That's it. Thanks again for your answers, though.


My 2 cents.

MOM has repeatedly reminded FDWs aren't allowed to engage in MLM (the closest I can think of, similar to your business), but never said the same about EP holders.

For EP holders, those whom I know were tipped off got off with a warning and nothing more.

I suspect MOM is more worried about exploitation of FDWs, by those Hard Sell Marsells.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 05 Feb 2016 6:36 am

Ask MoM, and please let us know what their reply is.

As an aside, adequate reading comprehension is lacking in this thread, and that's disappointing.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby x9200 » Fri, 05 Feb 2016 7:13 am

On the contrary, I think most people will correctly interpret a clear inability to assign proper weights to different factors (here and in the few other threads), but I don't think this would make your disappointment any good if this topic starts to be explored.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 05 Feb 2016 9:43 am

x9200 wrote:On the contrary, I think most people will correctly interpret a clear inability to assign proper weights....

No, I'm disappointed that so many people apparently can't even comprehend qualifiers and weights as clearly written. You claimed an interpretation that is not a reasonable inference. Read what I wrote again, more carefully, please.

I increasingly sympathize with MoM, ICA, and other government agencies that have to put up with less than adequate reading comprehension. :(

The bottom line is this: if work can be performed "remotely" from Singapore, then (in principle at least) it is work that can also be performed by citizens and PRs. Of course such work activity is local competition at least to some degree, and it frankly requires very little imagination to see that. In fact, it requires significant imagination on my part to try to understand why this point isn't obvious to others who at least give the issue some reasonable consideration and thought.

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Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby x9200 » Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:09 am

BBCWatcher wrote:The bottom line is this: if work can be performed "remotely" from Singapore, then (in principle at least) it is work that can also be performed by citizens and PRs. Of course such work activity is local competition at least to some degree, and it frankly requires very little imagination to see that. In fact, it requires significant imagination on my part to try to understand why this point isn't obvious to others who at least give the issue some reasonable consideration and thought.


Yes, and that some degree is near zero (or even negative) and completely negligible within the local market. This is the error in the weight assignment as normally people omit information qualitatively correct but with quantitative impact that is insignificant.

Let me challenge you. Please prove your point. Take a remote job the OP is talking about and provide some quantitative input on:
- No of SGCs/PRs that are looking for this sort of job and are able to do it
- No of open positions worldwide related to the job
- No of people looking to do the job (and be able to do it) in any country with commonly available Internet connections
- No of foreigners willing to do the job while in Singapore

This is still some simplification, because it does not indicate any competitive factors within the local work force - in other words, lets assume, SGC/PRs are at least as skilled as a world-wide average they compete against.

We can also think about the impact of having such jobs restricted for foreigners (if the case) may have on a local market. If allowed, some of them would spend the earned extra money in Singapore supporting indirectly the local job market. This would be the situation if the position is not filled in by a SGC/PR, what I think will be the case, but perhaps I should not make it more complicated.

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Re: RE: Re: Employment Pass and CPA Marketing

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:41 am

BBCWatcher wrote:Ask MoM, and please let us know what their reply is.

As an aside, adequate reading comprehension is lacking in this thread, and that's disappointing.

If only you penned summaries of your 1000 word essays, the lesser intelligent like me will have a better understanding of your mind boggling arguments. No offense, and please ignore my words if they are over the top.


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