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Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

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stefanw
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Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby stefanw » Mon, 18 Jul 2016 11:55 pm

I am based in England and as my IT services work is online I can in theory work anywhere in the world as a freelancer.

I'm looking at Singapore but I'm unsure if I can apply for freelance piecework here (eg design a website, create add ons, review copy) without running afoul of MOM. From the UK taxman's point of view there isn't a problem taking on foreign work as long as I pay my taxes and invoice appropriately.

Has anyone had experience of this? Searched the forums but couldn't find a clear answer.

I will visit Singapore next month as a tourist so don't want to risk being deported or be barred from entering. While I'm here I wouldn't do any work and will keep within tourist visa requirements.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 12:29 am

Your big problem is getting legal authorization to at least live in Singapore as a foreigner. Generally, people are allowed into Singapore under an employment pass or work permit, depending upon the nature of the work and the pay. If you a a valid dependent of someone on an employment pass you can also legally live in Singapore.

As a freelancer working from Singapore and producing work in other countries you would not need a work permit as you are not working for a Singapore firm nor are you providing goods and services used in Singapore. So, there's the rub... you need a work permit to get into the country, you don't need one to do the work you proposed.

To actually be able to work here, in your own business, you'd need to create a company and work for it. This has become much more difficult and I suggest you read the threads on starting a business and letter of consent (LOC).

Tax wise, regardless of whether or not you have a work permit, if you are resident in Singapore you pay Singapore income taxes.

I wouldn't get your hopes up... seems like Singapore is no longer interested in the individual techie... unless of course, you have a successful business, generating lots of income... in which case your chances woul improve.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby stefanw » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 12:40 am

Thanks Strong Eagle, and apologies, I should have clarified. I wish to remain living in England and work for Singaporean firms on a freelance basis. Not only do I not want to break any Singapore laws by doing so, but as I will visit next month I particularly do not want to do anything that would put my leisure visit at risk.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 12:54 am

You have no issues working for Singaporean firms from the UK. They simply pay you as a foreign contractor and they have their own set of corporate tax rules to follow regarding your tax treatment on the company books. You are tax resident in the UK so no Singapore personal income tax. No work permits needed because you are not working in Singapore.

And don't worry about putting your leisure visit at risk. Lots of people come to Singapore on a visit pass to see if they can get a job. Lots of people come to Singapore to attend business meetings and such on a visit pass. You're only in violation if you actually earn money while on a visit pass.

Don't get your hopes up, though... this will be a very tough market for a Brit to crack... plenty of local talent... foreign and otherwise... and a lot of the local Chinese firms still haven't figured out what to do with the web... and if they did, they'd hire their Chinese friends before you. It's just the nature of things.

Anecdotally, your question brings up an interesting scenario. While it's getting harder and harder for local Singapore companies to import talent, nothing stops them from offshoring for the same talent.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby stefanw » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 1:13 am

Thanks Strong Eagle, as you say the situation is interesting so I thought I'd best check. Looking around it does seem that if my UK clients need me to do something for them while on holiday in Singapore I should be ok (I will only be in Singapore a few days so it's unlikely).

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 1:30 am

stefanw wrote:Looking around it does seem that if my UK clients need me to do something for them while on holiday in Singapore I should be ok (I will only be in Singapore a few days so it's unlikely).


Nobody is ever going to say a thing if you happen to be working on your computer in your room, hotel lobby, or your favorite Singapore bar. You violate no laws by doing so.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 4:28 am

Strong Eagle wrote:Nobody is ever going to say a thing if you happen to be working on your computer in your room, hotel lobby, or your favorite Singapore bar. You violate no laws by doing so.

That's too strongly worded. Hypothetically one could violate all sorts of laws working on a computer in Singapore (or elsewhere). Trying to hack into the Ministry of Defence's systems, just to pick an extreme example -- yes, that'd be illegal under Singapore law. To pick a less extreme (but still quite serious) example, Singapore has some unexpectedly (to many) strong laws against defamation. There are some words you can Tweet or post to Facebook (or elsewhere) that are common forms of criticism in other countries that are not tolerated in Singapore. Also, many governments (including Singapore's) get upset if you practice journalism without letting the government know what you're up to. Typically a short visit to Singapore to do some reporting does not require any special visa or work permission, but it does require notifying the Ministry of Manpower.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 5:21 am

^^^^^^^^^^^^
Geezuz H Ferking Khrist!

We're talking about working on client projects in a hotel room for Chrissakes... not hacking government systems or defaming the good PM... how can you run so f*cking far afield with nonsense answers?

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Re: RE: Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 10:59 am

Strong Eagle wrote:^^^^^^^^^^^^
Geezuz H Ferking Khrist!

We're talking about working on client projects in a hotel room for Chrissakes... not hacking government systems or defaming the good PM... how can you run so f*cking far afield with nonsense answers?

Bbcw never fails !!

Now theoretically speaking .....

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Re: RE: Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 11:12 am

ecureilx wrote:Now theoretically speaking .....


Theoretically speaking... I'm expecting a 57 sentence diatribe from BBCW explaining exactly why the post I criticized is not only germane, but in fact, is a brilliant expose of everything I overlooked when I made the statement, "Nobody is ever going to say a thing".

BBCW... chill, brother... the OP dude just wants to know that it's safe to look after his clients without getting slapped around by the secret police.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby BBCWatcher » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 8:23 pm

Write more carefully, please. I try.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby x9200 » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 8:55 pm

Strong Eagle wrote:^^^^^^^^^^^^
Geezuz H Ferking Khrist!

We're talking about working on client projects in a hotel room for Chrissakes... not hacking government systems or defaming the good PM... how can you run so f*cking far afield with nonsense answers?

I think he likes you.

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Re: Freelancing for Singapore firm from Britain

Postby x9200 » Tue, 19 Jul 2016 9:19 pm

BBCWatcher wrote:Write more carefully, please. I try.

You made an unjustified assumption. The examples you gave were de facto remote working so not in the room (compare with working FROM the room). Next time please try to provide more suitable examples, like processing child pornography using local computer storage, or synthesize drugs with the use of the computer interface. They can be done in a hotel room. Specifically, it is not possible to hack a remote server or defame somebody on FB or twitter using the room infrastructure alone and SE didn't give any indication the room is connected to the said servers or the social media servers.


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